Monday, January 2, 2012

Tiramisu Cheesecake

I first made a version of this cheesecake a couple of years ago for a surprise birthday party held in honor of my sister-in-law. She is a long-time fan of The Cheesecake Factory's version, which is described as "a delicate Coffee-flavored Cheesecake with Italian Ladyfingers dipped in Marsala Wine, Coffee Liqueur, and Espresso, topped with a layer of light, fluffy Mascarpone Cream and topped with Chocolate Whipped Cream." At that point in my burgeoning baking career, I had only made plain cheesecakes. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to expand my cheesecake repertoire.

When my search for a copycat recipe yielded no suitable results, I set out to develop my own. I started with a base of ladyfingers soaked in Kahlua, simple enough. For the cheesecake layer, I added Kahlua and instant espresso powder to my old faithful plain New York cheesecake recipe. Once the cheesecake was baked and cooled, I topped it with a layer of mascarpone cheese whipped with Kahlua and  folded with sweetened whipped cream. For the final layer, I piped on some chocolate whipped cream and topped it off with chocolate covered espresso beans.

The resulting cheesecake received rave reviews at my sister-in-law's party. This cake was so popular, in fact, that I have been asked to make it over and over again for various functions. It is always a big hit. If you're looking for a show-stopper dessert for the coffee lovers in your life, I urge you to give this one a try.

Tiramisu Cheesecake

1 package ladyfingers
1/3 cup Kahlua
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1. Butter the bottoms and side of an 8 x 3-inch cheesecake pan. I have this one in several sizes, and love them, but feel free to use a springform pan if that's what you have. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper.
2. Arrange the ladyfingers so that they completely cover the bottom of the pan. You may need to break some of them in to smaller pieces to accomplish this.
3. Mix together the Kahlua and instant espresso powder until the powder is dissolved. Drizzle this mixture over the ladyfingers until they are fairly saturated, but there is no standing liquid in the bottom of the pan.

2 pounds cream cheese (4 - 8 ounce packages), room temperature
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt (not non-fat), room temperature
1/4 cup Kahlua
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

1. Move one oven rack to the middle position and pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Cut cream cheese into 1-inch chunks and beat at low speed in the bowl of a stand mixer until very smooth, approximately 1-2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl and beater blade.
2. Whisk together sugar and salt. With your mixer still on low, add sugar to cream cheese in thirds, scraping down the bowl and beating for 30 second - 1 minute with each addition.
3. Add eggs two at a time, then add egg yolks, to the cream cheese mixture. After eggs have been added, thoroughly scrape down sides of bowl and beater blade, and mix on low for 30 seconds.
4. Gently mix together sour cream (or Greek yogurt), Kahlua, and espresso powder until espresso powder is thoroughly dissolved. Add this mixture to the cream cheese and beat at low speed until thoroughly mixed, about 1 minute.
5. Slowly pour cheesecake batter over ladyfingers. Allow batter to settle for a couple minutes before placing the pan in the oven. I like to gently tap or agitate the pan to encourage any air bubbles to rise to the top.
6. Place the cheesecake pan on a rimmed cookie sheet and place on the middle rack of your pre-heated oven. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 250 degrees without opening the oven door. Continue to bake until the cake is set, but the middle still wobbles when gently shaken, approximately 1 hour. (Please note that ovens vary, and thus this step may take more or less time. I recommend that you check for doneness at 45 minutes, but do not be surprised if it takes up to 1 hour 15 minutes for your cake to set.)
7. Once the cake is set, turn off the oven and crack the door slightly. Allow the cake to cool for an hour inside the oven, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling. Run a very thin knife around the edge of the cake when it is cool enough to handle. Once the cake has cooled to room temperature, transfer to the refrigerator and allow to chill, uncovered, for at least six hours, preferably overnight.

Mascarpone Cream
4 ounces mascarpone cheese, slightly softened
2 tablespoons Kahlua
4 ounces heavy cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

1. Beat together mascarpone cheese and Kahlua at medium speed until well mixed and slightly fluffy. Set aside.
2. Beat heavy cream on medium until foamy; add powdered sugar and beat at medium-high until stiff peaks are formed.
3. Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture, and spread over cheesecake (do not unmold yet). Place cake back in the refrigerator to chill for at least another hour.

Chocolate Whipped Cream
4 ounces heavy cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
2 teaspoons cocoa powder

1. Beat heavy cream on medium until foamy. Add powdered sugar and cocoa powder; beat at medium-high until stiff peaks are formed.
2. Unmold cheesecake and transfer to serving platter, if desired. Pipe whipped cream over chilled cake. Garnish with chocolate covered espresso beans.

Linked to: Sweets for a SaturdayFusion Fridays, Ingredient Spotlight


  1. This looks fabulous. I will bookmark it to make for my SIL's birthday. Thanks!

  2. I was just looking for a tiramisu cake recipe the other day with no luck, this one looks perfect!

  3. Thanks ladies! Hope you enjoy.

  4. This is such a pretty cheesecake! You did an amazing job!

  5. Thanks! Making pretty cheesecakes is kind of my obsession.

  6. All those layers, yum! You did a fantastic job on this one. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog till Monday night and I'd love it if you'd come by and link your cheesecake up.

  7. Oh YUM! I would absolutely love this!! And so pretty!

  8. Show-stopper indeed! Sounds and looks amazing - you have a gift with cheesecakes it seems!