These Mini Tiramisu Cups are the perfect no-bake desserts for summer that come together in 15 minutes using a few simple ingredients. Airy ladyfingers that are layered in between light mascarpone cream, rich espresso, and a touch of cocoa finish. Individual tiramisu parfaits that no need to share!
📖 What is tiramisu
With roots in the Trevino dialect, the word tiramisu literally means "pick me up." Tiramisu is an Italian no-bake dessert made by layering coffee-soaked sponge cake cookies (ladyfingers) with mascarpone and then topping it off with cocoa powder. A fun historical fact about this classic dessert is that it's said to have been invented by a clever "maitresse" from a house of pleasure in the town of Trevino, Italy, in the 1800s.
With coffee-soaked ladyfingers, whipped layers of sugar and mascarpone cream, and cocoa powder, these mini easy tiramisu cups are guaranteed to perk up even the most mundane occasions!
🌟 Why this is the best recipe
- It is ridiculously easy - This recipe doesn't require any special ingredients or skills. Even cooking amateurs will be able to whip up these mini tiramisu cups from scratch.
- This is one of the quickest mini tiramisu cups recipes out there - The mascarpone layer needs only 3 ingredients, and it comes together in no time. It's even quicker and easier to make if you choose to use readymade ladyfingers.
- Not to brag, but it is absolutely delicious - These mouth-watering tiramisu cups are super moist and use the perfect blend of ingredients to give you the best coffee-flavored tiramisu you will ever taste. You can even choose to add your choice of alcohol to give it a little kick!
- It requires no special equipment - All you will need is an electric hand mixer to make the whipped mascarpone cream.
- This recipe is easy yet detailed - The tips and tricks will help you bake the perfect tiramisu cups and the variation suggestions will help you make them your own.
📝 Ingredient notes
For the whipped mascarpone filling
- No egg yolks: Traditional tiramisu uses raw egg yolks which I decided to skip for these easy tiramisu cups due to two main reasons: one being that some people have reservations when it comes to using raw eggs, and second, the cream for this recipe needs to be firmer than traditional tiramisu cream since it needs to be piped. The cream we are using here is more like whipped mascarpone. It is a frosting that is perfectly light and pipeable with a firm enough texture that still delivers on the creamy tiramisu texture and flavor. Please note that this recipe is not eggless, as the ladyfingers are made using eggs.
- Mascarpone: Mascarpone is the star ingredient in a tiramisu recipe. Whether you are making a classic tiramisu, a strawberry, or a matcha one, you simply cannot do without the mascarpone. Make sure you use the full-fat variety (41%+ fat content) to achieve that classic creamy and slightly sweet flavor without compromising on the taste. Or, why not make your own mascarpone cheese?
- Icing sugar/powdered sugar: When it comes to whipping up the mascarpone filling, powdered sugar is the first choice. If you're wondering of the quantity of sugar in the recipe below is a typo, it's not! Believe it or not, mascarpone does not need tons of sugar to fluff up and taste good. Using only the amount of sugar that is needed allows the mascarpone and cream cheese flavor to shine.
- Heavy whipping cream: Also known as whipped cream or double cream, is another key ingredient in this individual tiramisu trifles recipe. Look for a fat content between 36% and 40%, and avoid substituting it for vegetable-based "whipping cream". It's best to use it straight out of the freezer when it’s extremely cold, for the best results.
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all Ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post
For the assembling
Lady fingers (Savoiardi)
Store-bought ladyfingers are perfect for this tiramisu trifle recipe. However, if you wish to make your own ladyfingers, check out my homemade ladyfingers recipe from scratch!
Classic Italian tiramisu is a coffee-flavored delicacy that is achieved by lightly soaking ladyfingers in coffee. For a rich, deep coffee flavor, you can use espresso coffee. But be sure to use freshly brewed coffee that is only slightly sweet to limit the sweetness. No one likes an overwhelmingly sweet dessert! If you are off caffeine, you can try making caffeine-free tiramisu cups by using your favorite decaf coffee instead.
Cocoa powder is used for dusting over the top layer of the mini tiramisu cups. I recommend using unsweetened, 100% cocoa powder when baking to prevent it from interfering with the other ingredients' proportions in the tiramisu. This recipe uses Dutch-process cocoa powder, which has the best lovely dark color and lower acidity.
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all Ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post
👩🍳 How to make this recipe
1. How to make the whipped mascarpone filling
The mascarpone filling is basically a whipped mixture of heavy cream, mascarpone, and a small amount of powdered sugar. Make sure to whip until you get a fluffy consistency. This recipe makes a creamier and more delicious frosting than buttercream without being too sweet! Using the right ingredients at the right temperatures is the key to making a perfectly whipped mascarpone:
- Use the full-fat version (41%) of mascarpone and ensure that it is cold.
- Use the full-fat version of heavy cream (36-40%) as well, and place it in the freezer for a few minutes before using it, so it is ice cold.
- Sift your icing sugar to ensure it is lump-free.
Combine all 3 ingredients in a bowl and use an electric hand mixer to whip the mixture for a minute or two until it is creamy and fluffy. For a more detailed tutorial check my mascarpone frosting recipe.
💡 Top Tip: It is very easy to overwhip this frosting if you use a stand mixer, so a hand mixer is preferable. Whip the mixture for only a few minutes until fluffy. If you overbeat it, it will only get runnier until it breaks
2. How to soak ladyfingers in the coffee
Tiramisu's coffee flavor comes from soaking the ladyfingers lightly in coffee before assembling them. For this, brew a bowl of espresso-style coffee and keep it aside to cool down, as freshly brewed coffee is preferred. After a few minutes, soak each ladyfinger in the coffee for a couple of seconds and start putting it together in your cups. It's as simple as that!
If you want to add liquor to the recipe, this is where you do it. You can add liquor along with your coffee or choose to replace it entirely. Rum or amaretto can be wonderful additions to your tiramisu cups.
💡 Top Tip: To get that lovely coffee flavor, soak the ladyfingers in a generous amount of coffee, but be careful about how long you soak them to avoid them getting wet and soggy.
3. How to assemble the tiramisu trifles
Once you're done with your mascarpone and ladyfingers, it's time to assemble! Grab your cup or jar and begin to lay the coffee-soaked ladyfingers next to each other at the bottom (cut the ladyfingers into two, if necessary), followed by a layer of mascarpone cream. You can do this using a spoon or a piping bag would make the process cleaner and quicker.
Repeat this layering process as many times as necessary, depending on the height of your cup, then smooth the topmost layer of mascarpone cream with an offset spatula. I have made 4 layers overall.
Now, for the hardest part of the recipe: waiting! The good news is that since this cream does not need to be set like traditional tiramisu cream made with egg, instead of waiting for 4 hours, this tiramisu parfait needs only 1h refrigerated. Don't forget to dust your mini tiramisu cups with unsweetened cocoa powder before serving, and voila!
💡 Top Tip: Refrigerating the tiramisu is a key step that will allow the ladyfingers to soften in between the lovely mascarpone cream
📝 Possible flavor variations
Add liquors like limoncello, rum, coffee liqueur, marsala wine, espresso martini, and amaretto with the coffee to give it a little extra kick. You can also omit the coffee altogether and replace it by soaking the ladyfingers in rum lime mint syrup (like mojitos).
As a coffee replacement:
You can easily turn your tiramisu cups into strawberry tiramisu cups. Just replace the coffee with strawberry coulis. You can make this by blending strawberries (frozen or fresh) and cooking them with sugar and lemon juice over medium heat until some water evaporates and the mixture slightly thickens. Once the sauce cools down, you can use it to drizzle the ladyfingers. This will not only soften the ladyfingers but also bring out a classic strawberry flavor to the tiramisu. Just like with coffee-soaked ladyfingers, it's important not to over-soak them with strawberry coulis or they will turn soggy. Alternatively, you can also use any other berry you like. For instance, use raspberries to turn your mini tiramisu into a mini raspberry tiramisu in a glass!
As a cocoa powder replacement:
Replace the cocoa powder with some berries or free-dried berries in the final step of this mini tiramisu cups recipe for a fruity punch without forgoing the coffee.
3. Spices or Matcha:
Add a bit of spice or flavor eg. pumpkin spice, vanilla extract, cardamom, or cinnamon to your mascarpone. Or, why not omit the coffee and use healthy matcha tea instead. Check my matcha tiramisu recipe
4. Chocolate shavings, Caramel, Nutella, Peanut butter, etc.
These all could be also a great addition in between the layers either with or without the coffee.
🥣 Equipment notes
Making these dessert Italiano tiramisu cups from scratch is a breeze, and no special equipment is required. Using a Digital scale to measure your ingredients is a must for a consistent, happy baking experience. The cleanest way to fill your tiramisu cups is by using a Piping bag. Use an Electric hand mixer to whip the cream so you don't overbeat the mascarpone by accident.
Based on your preferences, you can use small glass jars, cups, wide-mouthed wine glasses, or ramekins for individual tiramisu cups. This recipe is even good for making tiramisu in a plastic cup! Just make sure the container you choose is not too small in diameter or it will make assembling your tiramisu cups a challenge.
🎓 Expert tips
- Mascarpone and heavy cream are both easily overwhipped; pay attention to the consistency and stop whipping as soon as early stiff peaks form
- When soaking ladyfingers in coffee, use a generous amount of coffee but don't let the ladyfingers get soggy
- When soaking the ladyfingers, feel free to flavor the coffee with your favorite liquor
- Use dark, unsweetened cocoa powder for the best tiramisu flavor and deep brown color
- Refrigerating the tiramisu is a key step that will allow the ladyfingers to soften in between the lovely mascarpone cream
- If you like desserts in a cup, why not try also this wonderful budino recipe from Kita!
Yes of course you can, this recipe works no matter what size, however, you will need to adjust the ingredients accordingly
Yes, most probably you can, use store-bought gluten-free ladyfingers
While the mascarpone in this recipe does not contain egg, store-bought ladyfingers do. If you manage to purchase eggless ladyfingers, you can easily turn this tiramisu into eggless
Well, not really. Mascarpone is the heart of making tiramisu, no other cream cheese has a similar flavor profile. You can make a kind of layered dessert though using Philadephia, instead of mascarpone, but it won´t taste the same. Or, why not make your own mascarpone cheese?
If the mascarpone cream is over-whipped, you might experience that the cream does not set and stays runny. Make sure to use high fat ingredients and avoid over-whipping
Tiramisu is not cooked, so all the alcohol used in its preparation is still potent. I suggest not using alcohol if it is a concern, your tiramisu still will be super delicious
Lucky for you, tiramisu is only lightly flavored with espresso. It contains insufficient caffeine to keep you awake at night.
Once you assemble the tiramisu, it should be stored in the fridge. I suggest you cover it to make sure it does not absorb any smell from the fridge. Leftover tiramisu - if there is any - should be stored in the fridge for 1-2 days in an air-tight container.
Mascarpone does not freeze well and might break so I do not recommend freezing this dessert
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Mini Tiramisu Cups (VIDEO)
For the tiramisu cups
- 200 g (1 cups) Ladyfingers store-bought
- 300 g (1⅓ cups) Mascarpone 41% fat, use it cold
- 240 g (1 cups) Heavy Cream 36% fat, very cold
- 70g (½ cups) Powdered sugar sifted
For the assembling
- 1 cup Coffee strong espresso lightly sweetened to soak the ladyfingers in
- Few Tablespoons ( ) Cocoa powder Unsweetened Dutch processed to decorate the top
- Ladyfingers to decorate
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
- In bowl, whip mascarpone, heavy cream, and powdered sugar with the help of an Electric hand mixer for a few minutes until stiff peaks (but do not over whip)
- Gently soak the lady fingers into freshly prepared espresso and start layering them into a cup starting with the coffee-soaked ladyfingers and finishing with the mascarpone cream
- Smooth the top with an offset spatula or spoon and refrigerate tiramisu cups for a minimum of 1 hour for the ladyfinger to soften
- After tiramisu sets in the fridge, dust with cocoa powder and decorate with more ladyfingers
- Store in the fridge for max 2 days
- Measure your ingredients with a Digital scale for accuracy
- For the ladyfingers, it is totally fine for this recipe to use a store-bought one, but homemade can also be made easily, check my homemade ladyfingers recipe
- Use full-fat mascarpone and heavy cream to make the tiramisu cream. Use both ingredients cold, the heavy cream particularly has to be very cold
- Don´t forget to shift the powdered sugar
- Use unsweetened, dark cocoa powder to finish
- Make sure you read my Expert tips section above to maximize your success. A short recipe alone is not able to cover all the necessary details, and science behind baking.
- While making mascarpone filling, it is crucial that you do not over whip it
- Make sure you do not serve the tiramisu before it actually sets (for the ladyfingers to soften)