My Italian Tiramisu Cups are the perfect no bake dessert for entertaining and this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled!
I know you’ll love these individual Tiramisu Cups because they can be prepared ahead of time, require only a few ingredients and look so impressive in dessert glasses.
This recipe for Tiramisu Cups is the simplified version of my traditional Italian Tiramisu. Just like the authentic recipe, it includes coffee and liqueur soaked savoiardi cookies that are layered with a luscious Italian Mascarpone Cream. But this tiramisu recipe is so much easier because you don’t have to make a zabaglione with eggs.
You will love that this dessert can be made ahead of time just like my Italian Panna Cotta Recipe. It is the ideal recipe for entertaining because you can have these individual Tiramisu Cups ready in your fridge the day before your guests arrive. So much less stress on the day and everyone has their very own mini tiramisu!
In Italian, Tiramisu literally translates to ‘pick me up’. And I can’t think of a better pick me up than finishing a delicious meal with these easy Tiramisu Cups. The strong flavor of coffee and a cheeky splash of marsala is a perfect boost of energy for sleepy guests after a hearty spread of food.
The classic Italian tiramisu was invented in northern Italy in the 1960s and has become widely popular all over the world. This recipe for Tiramisu Cups remains true to the classic Italian flavors with elegance and style. It is a guaranteed crowd pleaser at your next dinner party or holiday entertaining!
For complete ingredient quantities and full instructions, please scroll to the printable recipe card bottom of the page.
Table of Contents
- Coffee - You want strong brewed coffee for this recipe. A coffee machine or Italian moka pot will work best for this. But if you don’t have one, just use a strong instant powdered coffee.
- Marsala wine - this is a Sicilian wine that can be sweet or dry, Use the sweet variety for Italian tiramisu. Alternatively, try vin santo or sweet sherry.
- Heavy whipping cream - For the best results, I recommend using heavy cream that has around 36% fat.
- Mascarpone cheese - This is an Italian style of cream cheese but much more velvety, creamy and less acidic. It’s readily available in supermarkets.
- Powdered sugar - Also known as “confectioners” or “icing” sugar.
- Instant Espresso Powder - Choose a strong instant coffee powder (like espresso) for this recipe.
- Vanilla extract - I love vanilla extract for this recipe because it is so easy to use while being a completely natural vanilla product. Avoid using vanilla essence as it is a synthetic vanilla product and doesn’t have the same wonderful flavor.
- Savoiardi - These are also known as Italian sponge fingers or ladyfingers. You can buy them at good delicatessens, online or make them from scratch using my recipe.
- Cocoa powder - Just a little for dusting on top of the Tiramisu Cups.
You may be wondering, can you get sick from tiramisu? Tiramisu often contains raw eggs which can be problematic for some people. However, this is an eggless tiramisu recipe so it is completely safe.
Combine the cooled coffee with marsala wine in a shallow dish.
- Whip the heavy cream with powdered sugar and instant coffee powder in a medium bowl until very soft peaks form.
- In another bowl, combine the mascarpone with vanilla.
- Add the mascarpone to the cream and whisk until stiff peaks form.
- Cut the savoiardi in half and dip into the coffee. Layer two halves at the bottom of the serving glass. Top with the mascarpone mixture and repeat.
Repeat with the remaining savoiardi and mascarpone mixture to make six individual desserts in total. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to set. Before serving, dust the tops with sieved cocoa powder.
Hint: Be careful not to overmix as the mascarpone can easily split
- You could substitute the savoiardi for slices of plain cake (like pandoro or panettone) or another cookie of your choice. The end result will be different, but still delicious!
- Try using vin santo or sweet sherry instead of marsala wine
- If you’re making this dessert for children, you could use decaf coffee and remove the alcohol entirely.
- For coffee fiends, why not try using Kahlau or coffee liqueur instead of marsala wine?
- Don’t like coffee? Why don’t you try a lemon version, by removing the all the coffee and marsala from the recipe and dipping the savoiardi into Limoncello and sweetened, diluted lemon juice?
- Stand mixer or electric hand mixer
- Six individual cups or glasses
These luscious Tiramisu Cups are best enjoyed within 1-2 days in the refrigerator. However, if your cream and mascarpone cheese are fresh, they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Tips for Success
This is a very easy recipe with not much that can go wrong. The biggest issue you may have is overwhipping the cream or mascarpone.
Begin with heavy whipping cream that is very fresh and very cold from the fridge. Whip it only until very soft peaks form. Remember that you will be whisking the cream again when you add the mascarpone.
Mascarpone can curdle if it is overmixed or too warm. I use mascarpone directly from the fridge. If it seems very firm, just a few minutes at room temperature should bring it to the correct consistency. Just stir the vanilla into the mascarpone. This will lighten the mascarpone and make it easier to whisk into the whipped cream.
I see a lot of recipes say to “quickly” dip the savoiardi into the coffee mixture. It is true that savoiardi are like sponges but if the dip is too quick, they’ll be too dry and lack flavor. Let the savoiardi soak up a bit of the coffee - definitely not until they are soggy but don’t be too afraid because this is where the flavor comes from.
Absolutely! This recipe for individual Tiramisu Cups is best made 1-2 days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. It is important that the coffee has ample time to infuse with the savoiardi cookies so that this dessert has maximum flavor.
The main flavor of Tiramisu Cups is coffee and to achieve this, cooled strong coffee and instant espresso powder are used. However, if you or your guests are sensitive to caffeine, I recommend using a good quality decaf substitute.
Mascarpone cheese is a silky smooth Italian cream cheese and can be found quite easily in supermarkets. However, you could substitute regular cream cheese (ideally a smooth variety or slightly reduce the quantity so that the cream mixture is not too thick). Alternatively, crème fraîche or whipped ricotta cheese could also work as a substitute. Please remember that the end result will be very different to using mascarpone cheese, but I’m sure it would still taste wonderful.
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Tiramisu Cups Recipe
- Stand mixer or electric hand mixer
- 6 Dessert cups or glasses (the ones I use hold 12oz or 1½ cups)
- ¾ cup (180 mls) brewed espresso coffee cooled (you may need a little more)
- 2 tablespoons (30 mls) sweet marsala wine
- 1 cup (240 mls) heavy cream whipping cream (See Note 1)
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup (60 grams) powdered sugar icing sugar
- 1 cup (250 grams) mascarpone cheese (See Note 2)
- 12 savoiardi cookies Italian ladyfingers (See Note 3)
- cocoa powder for dusting before serving
- Combine the cooled coffee with sweet marsala wine in a shallow dish.
- Use an electric hand mixer or stand mixer and a whisk attachment to whip the heavy cream with powdered sugar and instant coffee powder in a medium bowl until very soft peaks form.
- In a small bowl, stir the mascarpone cheese and vanilla extract to combine.
- Add the mascarpone mixture to the whipped cream and whisk just until firm peaks form. Be careful not to overbeat! If you're unsure, it's better to underbeat than overbeat.
- Cut the savoiardi in half and dip into the coffee. Layer two halves at the bottom of the serving glass. Top with approximately two heaped tablespoons of mascarpone mixture and repeat so that you have two layers of savoiardi and two layers of mascarpone cream.
- Repeat with the remaining savoiardi and mascarpone cream in the remaining 5 glasses.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to set.
- To serve, dust the tops with sieved cocoa powder.
- Use heavy whipping cream that is very fresh and very cold from the fridge. Search for the cream the has the longest expiry date!
- Mascarpone can curdle if it is overmixed or too warm.
- Brands of savoiardi vary - some are more sturdy than others. The brand I buy is quite sturdy and soaks up a fair amount bit of the coffee without falling apart. If you find your savoiardi falling apart, dip more sparingly. I prefer tiramisu cups with savoiardi thoroughly dipped because I think it tastes better and am not too worried if the savoiardi are mushy. It's personal preference.
Nutritional Estimate Per Serving
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.