Want a simplified version of the classic Italian Tiramisu? Then these Mini Tiramisu Cups are the answer! With all the authentic flavours of coffee-soaked ladyfinger biscuits and a creamy mascarpone filling, this no-bake dessert is easy to make yet mighty impressive.
With the entertaining season upon us, creating a make-ahead dessert like these Individual Tiramisu Cups takes away all the stress. So important during Holiday Season! My Chocolate Panna Cotta and Strawberry Eton Mess are also fantastic options.
Served as individual Tiramisu parfaits, these easy dessert cups are filled with an eggless mascarpone filling that is rich, smooth and dreamy. Teamed with coffee-soaked biscuits, the combination of the two is unbelievable!!
The best part is that this dessert takes just 25 minutes to make, and the rest is spent chilling the mini dessert cups in the fridge, where the flavours intensify. Got to love a super simple, fuss-free dessert!
❓ What is Tiramisu?
Pronounced 'ti-ra-misu' meaning 'pick me up', Tiramisu originates from the Italian town of Trevisu. Surprisingly, it's not a dessert the has been around for hundreds of years. It first appeared in an Italian cookbook in the 1980's.
Made in a round or rectangular dish, Tiramisu is a layered dessert with a pretty simple ingredient list. A whipped egg yolk, sugar and mascarpone filling is layered between Italian biscuits, called Savoiardi, that have been soaked in coffee.
It's dusted liberally with cocoa powder and served to guests chilled after it's had a chance to set. Well known in restaurants, it's a classic dessert that's delicious.
It's not common to serve Tiramisu in a glass, like I have today, but when entertaining, serving desserts in cups is sometimes just an easier wayfor your guests to enjoy. Plus it presents so beautifully! Have you ever done that?
🌟 Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Uses basic ingredients. All the ingredients are basic pantry or fridge staples that you can find at your local grocery store or online.
- Tastes incredible. Everyone loves authentic Tiramisu. Even though this is a twist on the classic, it doesn't skimp on flavour. No need to pigeonhole this as a 'restaurant dessert' anymore!
- Simple to make and serve. No fancy tricks or special equipment is necessary. Plus, serving in individual glasses makes it all the easier to serve guests at a party.
- Egg-less filling. Intimidated by making a zabaglione? There's no need to worry about this recipe. I've added a little shortcut that means there's no need to make the zabaglione without compromising taste.
- Perfect make-ahead dessert. The dessert needs time in the fridge to set. Make it the day before or the morning of your dinner party. You'll have a stress-free journey ahead of you.
🧾 Ingredients Needed
Whilst the list of ingredients is quite short, my top tip is to use the best quality ingredients. Especially when it comes to the mascarpone and ladyfinger biscuits. You'll taste the benefits of good quality produce.
- Mascarpone - The hero ingredient for this Tiramisu Cup recipe. This authentic Italian cheese needs to be full-fat (40% +) and cold so that it doesn't split when whipping.
- Whipped Cream - Whipping cream or heavy cream with a minimum 36% fat content is best for stability. Make sure that it is super cold before whipping.
- Coffee - Use strong, freshly brewed coffee.
- Liqueur - Traditionally, a sweet marsala wine is added to the coffee. You could use another liqueur such as Amaretto, Frangelica, Kahlua, brandy, rum, Vino Santo or sweet sherry.
- Cocoa Powder - unsweetened natural or dutch cocoa powder can be used. Both will taste wonderful.
- Ladyfingers - Also known as Savoiardi, by a good quality version or make homemade ladyfinger biscuits. If wanting a truly egg-free dessert, then you would have to find eggless ladyfingers. It is possible to substitute the ladyfingers with a sponge at a pinch.
What is the best coffee for Tiramisu?
A freshly made coffee is best. Whether from your coffee machine or using espresso powder or instant coffee, ensure the water is hot, as sugar is added to sweeten it and needs to dissolve.
If you're serving the mini Tiramisu Cups to children, then you may want to use a decaffeinated coffee and omit the liqueur too.
- Lemon Tiramisu - Sub the brewed coffee for a lemon sugar syrup with Limoncello as the alcoholic addition. Swirl lemon curd through the mascarpone cream. One bite will transport you to the Amalfi coast!
- Chocolate or Caramel Tiramisu - Layer chocolate ganache or salted caramel sauce between the soaked biscuits and cream mixture. I have a Caramel Tiramisu recipe in my Small Batch Desserts Book that you can download today.
- Spiced Tiramisu - Add cinnamon, chai spices or ginger to the brewed coffee for a warming rendition.
- Matcha Tiramisu - If you're a fan of Matcha, then this Tiramisu will be right up your alley!
- Blackberry or Strawberry Tiramisu - Add a layer of blackberry jam or roasted strawberries compote (as used in my Almond Strawberry Cupcakes) between the Savoiardi and cream. Soak the fingers in elderflower syrup for a summery take on the classic.
👩🏻🍳 How to Make
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions!*
These small Tiramisu Cups only require a few steps to make and assemble. From there, the majority of time is spent chilling for the cream to set and the coffee to infuse into the biscuits and the cream to develop a more flavourful dessert.
It is a simple process to make these dessert cups - there'll be no more buying those Costco Tiramisu Cups!
Prepare the Coffee and Biscuits
STEP 1. Prep the coffee mix and ladyfinger biscuits. Add the hot water, espresso powder and sugar into a shallow bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool whilst prepping and making the other components (Images 1 & 2).
Break the ladyfinger biscuits in half. (Or if the glasses are really small, they may need to be broken into thirds).
Make the Mascarpone Cream Filling
STEP 2. Whip the cream. Add the cream and powdered sugar into a large bowl, and using a hand-held beater, whip until soft peaks form. Don't over-whip at this point, as it will be whipped with the addition of mascarpone.
TIP: Use cold cream
Make sure the cream is very, very cold. It's much easier to whip and prevent it from splitting if it's cold.
STEP 3. Add the mascarpone. Give the mascarpone cream a quick stir once it's at room temperature, then add it to the whipped cream and whip on low speed until firm peaks form (Images 3 & 4)
TIP: Use room temperature mascarpone, not cold.
I see a lot of recipes recommending using cold mascarpone. I've tried adding cold mascarpone to the whipped cream many times, and it always ends up lumpy.
The best way I have found is to add room-temperature mascarpone instead. Stir the mascarpone to loosen it before adding it to the whipped cream. Mix on low, and the cream mix remains light, aerated and smooth every time.
Assemble the Tiramisu Cups
STEP 4. Assemble the Tiramisu Cups and refrigerate.
The layers in the cups go as follows: mascarpone filling on the bottom, coffee-soaked ladyfingers, more mascarpone cream filling, another layer of ladyfingers and a final layer of mascarpone.
Then the top gets dusted in cocoa powder, and you can sprinkle some chocolate shavings or grated chocolate over the top.
Step by step assembling the cups:
- Spoon two tablespoons of mascarpone filling into the base of the glass.
- Dunk two ladyfinger halves into the coffee. Dunk for a couple of seconds for the coffee to soak in but not too long that the finger goes soggy. Lay the fingers onto the mascarpone cream.
- Repeat the layers of cream, then ladyfingers and finally, a last layer of cream.
- Repeat with the other cups.
TIP: Use a piping bag
For an easy alternative to adding the mascarpone filling to the cups/glasses - add the filling into a piping bag and snip the end off. You don't need piping tips for this. Then squeeze the filling into each glass.
Refrigerate the cups for a minimum of 2 hours, preferably overnight.
🥣 When to Serve
The Tiramisu Cups are at the most flavourful when they have had a couple of hours in the fridge. I prefer to make these the day before serving as I know the flavours have the best chance to deepen and intensify.
But I do recommend longer, preferably overnight, as the coffee mix has a chance to flavour the sponge biscuits and the filling on either side.
When ready to serve, dust the tops with cocoa powder. You could also grate some dark chocolate over the top for an elevated feel to the dessert. Another option is to serve it with some Savoiardi biscuits to dunk in the cream! Only if you feel like a little something extra!
💭 Recipe Pro Tips
- Whip the cream when it's cold for your best chance of getting light, aerated cream.
- Use room-temperature mascarpone for a smooth, lump-free filling.
- Don't overbeat once the mascarpone is added to the whipped cream. Otherwise, the filling will split.
- Use pre-made, store-bought ladyfingers for ease and time.
- Spoon the filling into a piping bag and pipe it into the cups for a neat and fast approach if you find spooning the mixture into the cups a bit messy.
- Use any small cups, glasses, ramekins, vintage teacups, small jam jars, or weck jars you like. There's no need to fill them to the top.
- Chilling the Tiramisu Cups is an absolute must to improve the flavour making these the perfect make-ahead dessert. Just assemble the sponge biscuits and cream and refrigerate. Dust with cocoa powder just before serving.
📋 Recipe FAQs
No baking is necessary, making this a fabulous no-bake dessert. Perfect for the summer or for entertaining when you want to be prepared.
Technically, you can, but it will no longer have the same taste as a tiramisu. Mascarpone and cream cheese do have different flavour profiles. I love cream cheese, so I think it would still taste delicious!
Traditional Italian zabaglione is an authentic Italian dessert made up of heated egg yolks and sugar in bain-marie that's then whisked with marsala (sweet) wine until light pale and foamy. It can be chilled and served in a glass alongside biscuits and fruit.
In a Tiramisu dessert, once made, the zabaglione is mixed with mascarpone cheese and whipped cream and then layered in a serving dish with coffee-soaked ladyfinger biscuits.
Yes absolutely! Whilst it may not be the ultimate authentic way to make Tiramisu, it's a fantastic alternative if you want to make a quick and easy dessert.
Traditionally there is a sweetened Italian wine called Marsala Wine that is added to the coffee before the ladyfingers are dunked in it. However, you can make a Tiramisu easily by omitting the wine and using the coffee mix.
❄️ Storage and Freezer Instructions
To store: Cover the individual classes with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 days (only if the mascarpone cream and whipped cream were fresh at the time of making.
To freeze: I don't recommend freezing these Tiramisu cups. Freezing glasses always come with risk, plus the texture of the cream filling once thawed isn't great.
🇮🇹 More Italian Recipes
If you tried this easy Tiramisu Cup recipe or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the comments below. I love hearing from you!
Mini Tiramisu Cups Recipe
- Electric Hand held beaters
- 180 ml double cream (heavy cream), cold
- 250 g mascarpone, room temperature
- 60 g powdered icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar)
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 180 ml hot water
- 12 g instant espresso powder or instant coffee granules, Or 180ml (¾ cup freshly brewed coffee. Don't include the extra hot water.)
- 30 ml Marsala sweet wine, or coffee liqueur
- 30 g granulated sugar
- 130 g Savoiardi Ladyfinger Biscuits, 16 biscuits
- 5 g unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
Prepare the Coffee and Biscuits
- Make the coffee mix. Add the hot water, espresso powder (or coffee granules), Marsala wine (or liqueur of your choice) and sugar into a shallow bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Prep ladyfinger biscuits by breaking them in half. If you have particularly small glasses then you may need to break them in thirds.
Make the Mascarpone Cream Filling
- Whip the cream. Add the cold cream and powdered icing sugar into a large mixing bowl and using hand-held beater, whip on medium speed until soft peaks form. Don't over whip at this point as it will be whipped some more with the addition of mascarpone.
- Add the mascarpone. Give the mascarpone cream a quick stir once it's at room temperature, then add it to the whipped cream and whip on low speed until firm peaks form. Don't overwhip.
Assemble the Tiramisu Cups
- Layer cream and coffee-soaked laid fingers. Add 2 tablespoonful of mascarpone filling into the bottom of a glass/cup/ramekin. Dip 2 halves of ladyfinger biscuits in the coffee mixture until they are just soaked through but not soggy. Add more mascarpone filling, then another 2 ladyfinger halves soaked in coffee. Finish with a final layer of mascarpone. There should be three layers of cream and 2 layers of ladyfingers.Repeat with all the glasses. Cover each glass with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours. The flavour does intensify the longer you leave it though.
- Remove Tiramisu Cups from the refrigerator and remove plastic wrap. Dust the top layer of mascarpone with cocoa powder. An option is to sprinkle with grated dark chocolate and serve a lady finger biscuit alongside.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.
This looks delicious and I want to try it! Do you have the US conversions for the ingredients? Also, it there a way to see comments/reviews of the recipe from your readers? They alway help me when I’m making something for the first time.
Thank you so much!!
Hi Amy, On the recipe card under the Ingredients Title you will see two tabs that you can click: Metric and Us Customary. It is by default in the metric but if you want to use cups etc then click on Us Customary and they will show up next to the ingredients. As for reviews, it is a new recipe on my site, only a week or so old, so there aren't any reviews as of yet. You can be the first one!!
So delicious and easy to make compared to the traditional version. Thank you for such a great recipe!
Hi Rebecca- Thanks so much for your comment- made my day!