Where to buy tiramisu?

Top Tiramisu In Philadelphia
  1. Dante & Luigi’s – Old-world Italian cuisine like red-sauce pasta & osso buco served in 2 converted townhouses. 762 S 10th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
  2. The Victor Café – Classic Italian eats served with a side of opera at a spot known for hearty fare & live performances. 1303 Dickinson St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
  3. Giorgio On Pine – Italian classics plus several gluten-free options, all in a casual, bring-your-own-wine setting. 1328 Pine St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
  4. Barbuzzo Mediterranean Kitchen & Bar – Farm-fresh ingredients star at this Mediterranean joint set in a chic, compact space. La Colombe Tiramisu. 110 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
  5. La Locanda Del Ghiottone – Hearty portions of classic dishes like pasta & mussels served in a cozy space with brick walls. 130 N 3rd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
  6. La Nonna – The tiramisu is to die for! Beautiful and comfortable BYOB establishment. 214 South St, Philadelphia, PA
  7. Zavino – Tiny wine bar teaming its vintages with a food lineup of small Italian plates & Neapolitan pizzas. 112 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
  8. Isgro Pastries – bake shop turning out great tiramisu and cannoli, cakes, cookies, custards, tarts, and other Italian pastries. 1009 Christian St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
  9. Little Nonna’s – Traditional Italian dishes delivered in a homey trattoria setting with an open kitchen.1234 Locust St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
  10. Termini Bros Bakery – family-owned Italian bakery whipping up cannoli, cakes & cookies, plus other sweet treats. 1538 Packer Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19146
    Bill Zimmerman
    Publisher / Webmaster at Philly Bite Magazine.

An inside look at Bar Primi’s tiramisu. Photo: Melissa Hom

Even in these confused times, there are a few truths no one can dispute. Seltzer is the only true embodiment of the current human condition. The New York Knicks will always find a way to be terrible. And, when it is made correctly, tiramisu is a perfect dessert. Tiramisu is not everything, but it is the correct number of things.

The flavors — coffee, cocoa, mascarpone cheese, maybe some booze — make it seem like a dessert that would be dense, but the best versions are light, and smooth, and almost cloudlike. A great tiramisu, as Bar Primi chef Sal Lamboglia puts it, has “a gentleness that comes along with it.” It’s best when the dusting of cocoa is graceful, and the mascarpone is fluffy, the whipped eggs are buttery, and the ladyfingers — dipped in espresso — are soft but not soggy. It is the Alfa Romeo to icebox cake’s Ford. It has style, but it is, at its core, still humble. As New York critic and noted tiramisu connoisseur Adam Platt recently put it to me, tiramisu is “ounce for ounce, quite possibly the most lethally delicious dessert in the entire culinary cosmos.”

You also have to love a dessert with drama. Tiramisu delivers. When it was added to Friuli-Venezia’s official list of dishes, Vento’s governor responded, “No one can swindle us out of tiramisu, the best dessert in the world.” (For the record, no one can swindle Grub out of tiramisu either — don’t you dare try.)

“I guess I think it’s perfect,” says Superiority Burger chef and former Del Posto pastry chef Brooks Headley, who admits to having “instantly” fallen in love with the dessert and compiling a set of nonnegotiable rules for making it, which include, but are not limited to: “No perfect squares! … A mess is good! … Almost no chocolate! … No egg-white fluffiness.”

Leonti’s tiramisu. Photo: Melissa Hom

Tiramisu showed up on the New York culinary scene in the ’80s, and, as has been reported, became a sugary obsession seemingly overnight. Even though it is now ubiquitous in the city’s Italian-leaning restaurant world, it it still a pleasant surprise when a truly great version shows up. (This is perhaps due, at least in part, to the number of substandard, prefab renditions served around town; these are merely failsons, though, given all the privilege in the world, but failing to live up to their potential …)

It’s a staple at I Sodi, which New York has called “timeless” and is a must-have tiramisu; Café Altro Paradiso, where the ace version is thick and topped with mascarpone mousse that pools over the sides, and at Bar Primi. At the last restaurant, it’s made exclusively by Lamboglia’s dad, Tony, from a recipe that’s been in their family for more than three decades. They make the dessert four mornings a week, ideally letting it sit for a day. Dusted heavily with cocoa, it coalesces into one beautiful mass, a sugary singularity of flavors.

The dessert can be found at newer spots, too, like Leonti, where Platt says it’s “generous, boozy”; Fiaschetteria Pistoia; and Williamsburg’s Leo, where the team takes its cue from the Roman restaurant Flavio, serving it in a rocks glass with a dusting of cocoa and broken pieces of dark chocolate on top. You may find yourself spooning the sides of your cup, thinking about grabbing one of the to-go versions inside the takeout fridge. There are also more unconventional interpretations of it, such as the version served at Portale. There, tiramisu is more the inspiration than the form, as executive pastry chef Kaity Mitchell makes it with a milk-chocolate mascarpone mousse and coffee-soaked circles of dough made from ladyfinger batter, and candied cocoa-nib. “There are so many bakeries in the city that have been making it for generations, and it’s beautiful and it’s perfect, and I don’t want to compete with that perfection. So I decided to make it my own,” Mitchell says.

Portale’s unconventional tiramisu. Photo: Melissa Hom

A friend told me he only thinks of tiramisu as “fine,” before admitting he’s never had a good one. I don’t know if I realized how good it could be — and what I’d been missing — until a few years ago, when I had some tiramisu (I can’t quite remember where) that changed everything. That was all it took: Once you open your eyes to how transcendent the dessert can be, there is no going back — and you cannot get enough. Tiramisu never feels tired like, say, chocolate molten lava cake or yet another selection of seasonal sorbets. This is because you do not get tired of great tiramisu, and great tiramisu will not get tired of you.

Tiramisu Layer Cake

  • Prep

    5 m

  • Cook

    20 m

  • Ready In

    2 h

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 3 (9 inch) pans.
  2. Prepare the cake mix according to package directions. Divide two thirds of batter between 2 pans. Stir instant coffee into remaining batter; pour into remaining pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. In a measuring cup, combine brewed coffee and 1 tablespoon coffee liqueur; set aside.
  4. To make the filling: In a small bowl, using an electric mixer set on low speed, combine mascarpone, 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur; beat just until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  5. To make the frosting: In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium-high speed, beat the cream, 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur until stiff. Fold 1/2 cup of cream mixture into filling mixture.
  6. To assemble the cake: Place one plain cake layer on a serving plate. Using a thin skewer, poke holes in cake, about 1 inch apart. Pour one third of reserved coffee mixture over cake, then spread with half of the filling mixture. Top with coffee-flavored cake layer; poke holes in cake. Pour another third of the coffee mixture over the second layer and spread with the remaining filling. Top with remaining cake layer; poke holes in cake. Pour remaining coffee mixture on top. Spread sides and top of cake with frosting. Place cocoa in a sieve and lightly dust top of cake. Garnish with chocolate curls. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.
  7. To make the chocolate curls, use a vegetable peeler and run it down the edge of the chocolate bar.

What I found at … is a series that tests and vets intriguing store-bought foodie finds.

What: Kirkland Signature tiramisu bar cake
Where: Bakery department refrigerated case
Cost: $15.99 for a 2.37 lb cake

Q: Can Kirkland’s giant tiramisu stand up to a restaurant-quality dessert?

I’m not too keen on super sweet treats and seek out those that strike a balance of sweet and bitter. Tiramisu happens to be one of them. You don’t feel too guilty about indulging in a slice after feasting on pasta and braised meats. Light-as-air sweetened mascarpone cheese, eggs and sugar are tamed by the bitter bite of espresso-soaked lady fingers and a generous dusting of cocoa powder. Coffee and chocolate also pair well with cream, making tiramisu one of those perfect desserts.

The name tiramisu is derived from an Italian phrase that translates as “pick me up”

Browsing Costco Iwilei one evening, I was intrigued to find a nearly bare shelf in the bakery department — usually a sign that something is good. It was the new tiramisu bar cake, and only three remained. I knew I had to see if this was the gigantic tiramisu cake of my dreams.

At an Italian restaurant, $16 might be enough for two small slices of tiramisu — not expensive but not cheap, either. No store knows value like Costco Wholesale, so it is not surprising to discover you can slice this 38-ounce cake into seven 5.42-ounce portions, which would be comparable to a restaurant serving.

A: No, but …

The Kirkland Signature tiramisu cake is an extreme value for the money. It’s also very moist and full of coffee liqueur. But that’s where its benefits end.

This cake leans far too sweet for my liking and lacks that generous dusting of cocoa powder that would instantly distinguish it from other desserts. After a few bites, I find myself giving up on the sugar overload.

If you’re willing to try it for yourself, I recommend eating your slice with a shot of espresso to balance out the sweetened mascarpone cheese and coffee liqueur.

Hungry for more finds? Here’s the rest of the series:
What I found at Safeway: Mickey Mouse ice cream bars
What I found at Costco: Herdez guacamole salsa
What I found at Costco: Keto-friendly egg bites
What I found at Foodland: Detroit-style pizza
What I found at Costco: Cheeseburger
What I found at Jack in the Box: Teriyaki steak bowls
What I found at Costco: Sous vide pork belly
What I found at Costco: Beef bulgogi mandoo
What I found at Target: Museum of Ice Cream pints
What I found at Costco: 505 Southwestern street tacos
What I found at Costco: Acai bowl
What I found at Zippy’s: Mochiko chicken mix
What I found at Costco: Ultimate Blueberry Margarita
What I found at Burger King: Flamin’ Hot Mac n’ Cheetos
What I found at Costco: Chocolate lava cake
What I found at Marukai: Milk tea that looks like water
What I found at Costco: Microwave pho
What I found at Costco: Raoh tonkotsu ramen

Tiramisu Cake

Tiramisu Cake – a layered, Italian espresso infused mascarpone dessert, in cake form. Get your caffeine fix, plus a boozy kick!

Hey there! I’m home from our vacation!

It was fun, and so busy! I felt like we did not stop walking for days. Now I kinda need another, more relaxing vacation, haha! The kids had a blast and we loved seeing Harry Potter world (and trying all the delicious butterbeer variations!).

Father’s Day was nice and low-key. We lucked out with the weather, so ended up spending the day mostly outside relaxing. I made lobster rolls for dinner and a glorious blueberry dessert (which I hope to share with you soon!).

Father’s Day can often be bittersweet for me, since I lost my dad 10 years ago, after a long and brave battle with colon cancer. I seriously can’t believe it has been 10 years since he was in my life. He was everything to me and I still hurt from losing him. I try to keep the focus on my husband, to keep the day from feeling too sad, but I can’t help but remember my sweet dad, and I always try to mark the day with some kind of recipe that was created just for him.

This year, it’s tiramisu cake.

I honestly don’t know if my dad ever had tiramisu. He was never the most adventurous eater. But he did come from a big Italian family, and he loved coffee. And booze! Lol. So I think if he were still around to taste this cake, he would love it.

It’s just like the traditional Italian dessert, only in layer cake form. Rather than using ladyfingers, aka Savoiardi, we are baking three layers of genoise. Genoise is just like a light, fluffy sponge cake, with the added richness of melted butter. If you’ve ever made homemade ladyfingers, it’s pretty much the same thing. Only instead of piping it into long lines, you just bake it in cake pans.

The genoise is cooled and then soaked with a rich coffee syrup. I added brandy for a boozy kick, but if you don’t like the taste you can totally leave it out.

The filling is light and fluffy, yet rich at the same time. It’s made with mascarpone, which is a soft, buttery Italian cheese similar to our cream cheese (but without the tang). It’s folded together with a rich egg and sugar mixture, then lightened even more with whipped cream. When the genoise, coffee syrup, and mascarpone mousse have all had a chance to meld, it’s pure heaven. Moist, soft, and so creamy, with tons of rich flavor. We frost it all with whipped cream and sprinkle it with a little cocoa powder for garnish. Delizioso!

Now, if you’re looking for a caffeine-free, booze-free version that’s more kid friendly, check out my Chocolate Tiramisu recipe! And be sure to have a look at my Father’s Day category for lots more Father’s Day recipes.

More great cake recipes on my “Cake Recipes” Pinterest board!

This post contains affiliate sales links.

4.6 from 5 votes Tiramisu Cake Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins Cook Time 20 mins Total Time 1 hr 50 mins

Tiramisu Cake – a layered, Italian espresso infused mascarpone dessert, in cake form. Get your caffeine fix, plus a boozy kick!

Course: Dessert Cuisine: Italian Keyword: Cake, tiramisu Servings: 10 Calories: 855 kcal Ingredients For the genoise cake

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sifted cake flour
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons brandy
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons powdered sugar

For the mascarpone filling

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup dry Marsala wine
  • 16 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, cold

For the whipped cream frosting

  • 6 ounces cream cheese (the kind in a brick)
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder (for garnish)

Instructions To make the genoise layers:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, mist three 8-inch diameter cake pans generously with non-stick spray, and line with circles cut from parchment.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whip the eggs, sugar, and vanilla on high speed (with the whisk attachment) until pale, fluffy, and tripled in volume (about 10 to 12 minutes).
  3. Add a third of the cake flour, and fold carefully, taking care not to deflate air from the mixture. Repeat, until all the flour has been incorporated.
  4. Fold in the butter, and transfer the batter to the prepared pans.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely.
  6. Stir the hot water, instant espresso powder, brandy, and powdered sugar together in a small bowl.
  7. Place one layer of cooled genoise on a serving plate. Using a pastry brush, soak the cake with about 1/3 of the espresso mixture. Top with half the mascarpone filling.
  8. Repeat, then top with the last layer of cooled genoise and soak with the remaining espresso mixture.
  9. Frost with whipped cream frosting, dust with cocoa, and (using a piping bag and a large round tip) top with dollops of whipped cream frosting..

To make the mascarpone filling:

  1. In a medium mixing bowl set over a pot of simmering water, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and Marsala wine together until pale, thick, and doubled in volume.
  2. Remove from the heat, and stir in the mascarpone.
  3. Whip the cream until it holds stiff peaks, then fold into the mascarpone mixture.

To make the whipped cream frosting:

  1. Place the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Fit the mixer with a whisk attachment, and whip on medium speed until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Turn the mixer down to medium-low speed and pour the heavy cream down the side of the bowl in a very slow and steady stream.
  4. When all the cream has been added, turn the mixer up to medium-high and whip until the frosting holds stiff peaks.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Genoise recipe adapted from The New York Times Cookbook.

Mascarpone filling recipe adapted from Epicurious.

For more info on the frosting, click here: Whipped Cream Frosting.

©Baking a Moment

Nutrition Facts Tiramisu Cake Amount Per Serving Calories 855 Calories from Fat 576 % Daily Value* Fat 64g98% Saturated Fat 38g238% Cholesterol 358mg119% Sodium 154mg7% Potassium 189mg5% Carbohydrates 54g18% Sugar 40g44% Protein 11g22% Vitamin A 2385IU48% Vitamin C 0.5mg1% Calcium 161mg16% Iron 0.9mg5% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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