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Tiramisu Layer Cake with Ombre Mascarpone Frosting

Tiramisu Layer Cake with Ombre Mascarpone Frosting

Create a stunning tiramisu cake with quadruple ombre layers and the perfect mascarpone frosting - THE best way to impress for a birthday or even a wedding!
Course Dessert
Cuisine British
Keyword Birthday, Cake, Tiramisu Cake, Tiramisu Layer Cake, Wedding
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Cooling time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 8 slices
Calories 975kcal
Author Sasha


  • 225 g unsalted butter (1 cup)
  • 225 g golden caster sugar (1 cup)
  • 225 g plain flour (1 ½ cups)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda baking soda
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • ½ vanilla pod seeds scraped
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder

For the coffee syrup

  • 2 tablespoons espresso powder
  • 80 g golden caster sugar (½ cup)
  • 120 ml water (½ cup)

For the mascarpone frosting

  • 750 g mascarpone (26 ounces)
  • 115 g icing sugar (1 cup) sifted
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk
  • ½ vanilla pod seeds scraped
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 25 g 70% dark chocolate (1 ounce)

To finish


  • Preheat the oven to 160°C fan/180°C/350°F. Grease and line 2 (or 4 if you have them and the oven space!) 6" loose bottomed cake tins.
  • Start by making the base cake mixture. You can make this like you would a regular cake, by creaming the butter and sugar, then beating in the eggs, milk and vanilla and then folding in the flour and raising agents. However, as you're going to be splitting the mixture and adding more flavourings, it really is easiest to simply make this in the food processor. The results are just as good.
    225 g unsalted butter, 225 g golden caster sugar, 225 g plain flour, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 4 large eggs, 3 tablespoons milk, ½ vanilla pod, ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • To prepare the cake mixture in the food processor: place the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and bicarb into the bowl of the food processor. Pulse a few times until the ingredients are combined. Add the eggs one by one, processing briefly after each one. Finish by adding the milk and vanilla seeds and process until just combined. Take care not to overmix the batter.
    225 g unsalted butter, 225 g golden caster sugar, 225 g plain flour, 4 teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, 4 large eggs, 3 tablespoons milk, ½ vanilla pod
  • The next stage requires just a little bit of maths if you'd like to be accurate, but don't worry if you don't have scales or don't want to do this. Weigh the entire batter mix. You then want to separate the batter into 3 portions - half and two quarters. Into the largest portion, carefully fold in the espresso powder. Into one of the smaller portions, fold in the cocoa powder. Leave the remaining smaller portion as it is.
    1 tablespoon espresso powder, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • Split the coffee mixture between the two tins and level the tops. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool for 5 minutes in the tin before removing and transferring to a cooling rack. Clean the tins, grease and line again and pour the vanilla and chocolate portions of the batter into each one. Bake as above.

For the coffee syrup

  • Place the espresso powder, sugar and water into a saucepan. Bring to the boil and stir until the sugar has dissolved, Remove from the heat and cool.
    2 tablespoons espresso powder, 80 g golden caster sugar, 120 ml water

For the mascarpone frosting

  • Place the mascarpone into a large bowl. Add the icing sugar, 1 tablespoon milk and the vanilla seeds. Using a spatula, stir together until the mixture is smooth, adding up to another tablespoon of milk if needed. Separate the mascarpone as you did the cake mixture - into roughly half and two quarters. If you choose to weigh it, aim for two portions of about 125 g, leaving the remainder in the original mixing bowl.
    750 g mascarpone, 115 g icing sugar, 1-2 tablespoons milk, ½ vanilla pod
  • Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Leave to cool for one minute. After this time, stir the chocolate into one of the smaller portions of mascarpone. Stir the espresso powder into the other smaller portion of mascarpone. Leave the biggest portion as it is.
    1 teaspoon espresso powder, 25 g 70% dark chocolate

To assemble

  • Level the tops of the cakes using a bread knife if necessary. Pour the coffee syrup evenly over the tops of the cakes and allow to soak in. The cake will be easiest to assemble if you have a cake turntable in order to achieve a smooth frosting. If not, don't worry, you can go for a more rustic look!
  • Place the chocolate cake onto the turntable (or cake stand). Spread a small amount of the vanilla frosting on top (you can do this as thick or as thin as you like, as there will be plenty of frosting). Place a coffee cake on top, followed by more vanilla frosting. Repeat with the remaining coffee cake and the vanilla cake, each time filling with vanilla frosting. Roughly spread some vanilla frosting over the entirety of the cake (crumb coat). Place in the fridge to set for 15 minutes.
  • Once chilled, begin the ombre frosting. Starting with the chocolate frosting, very roughly apply the frosting to the bottom quarter of the cake. Next, roughly apply the coffee frosting to the next quarter of the cake. If the two layers overlap, that's good! It adds to the ombre effect. Cover the rest of the cake roughly with vanilla frosting. You will have leftover frosting which is helpful if you need to do any touch ups!
  • Smooth out the frosting to achieve a clean finish as in the photos above, or leave the frosting more rustic if you prefer!
  • Using a spatula, carefully transfer the cake to a cake stand. Dust the top of the cake liberally with cocoa powder for that final tiramisu touch.
    1 tablespoon cocoa powder


Here's a helpful video tutorial for ombre frosting.
This recipe makes a 4 layer 6 inch cake. If you wanted to, you could make an 2 layer 8 inch cake - just bake the cakes for 25 minutes each instead of 20. If you wanted to make a 4 layer 8 inch cake, simple double the cake recipe and bake for 25 minutes. I'd imagine you'd need to 1.5x the frosting recipe but you'd have to use your judgement for that.
The recipe for the cake layers is slightly adapted from Primrose Bakery - their book Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery is like a bible in my house. They are my go-to for any cupcake/cake recipes - the quality is incredible! I used their recipes to make my wedding cake and it turned out perfectly. I can't recommend them enough. I must visit one of their bakeries next time I'm in London! And for the record, their other books are fantastic too, but this is the one that has been on my shelf for years.


Calories: 975kcal | Carbohydrates: 82.4g | Protein: 10.4g | Fat: 67.2g | Saturated Fat: 44.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 270.9mg | Sodium: 178.8mg | Potassium: 648.9mg | Fiber: 1.6g | Sugar: 57.1g | Vitamin A: 232.6IU | Calcium: 389.7mg | Iron: 2.8mg