Tiramisu Layer Cake


Ever since I made my wicked banana cake for a morning tea event held last month at work, I’m beginning to gain a reputation for being a good baker/cook and now I am always harassed to make something. “When will you be bringing in some sweets, Linda? … It’s my birthday tomorrow, please bake me a cake! … I hear you’re a whiz in the kitchen; make something and I’ll be the judge of that *wink wink*”. It’s quite flattering, but I keep finding myself in situations where I can’t refuse them and as a result, I have to make something. I never break a promise, so, this weekend, I made my ever famous hummingbird cake and a tiramisu roulade-turned-layer cake.

I thought making a roulade would be easy. It’s basically a rolled up sponge cake with cream in the middle. How hard could that be? Well, after trying to make one today, I’ve realised that it’s quite difficult!

I attempted this recipe twice and failed both times. The sponge cakes came out beautifully cooked each time, but when it came time to roll it, it would create three distinct cracks, then subsequently break. I contemplated giving it a third go, but I didn’t have enough eggs and was just over it. As W.C Fields once said, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.” Which is exactly what I did. I tried again, and again, but then gave up… As I was about to mush it all together and eat it like an Eton mess, I suddenly had the brilliant idea of creating a layer cake instead. I trimmed the edges, brushed each sponge piece with the syrup and lathered on the coffee mascarpone cream filling. It turned out well, don’t you think?

So for my dear work colleagues, you ask for cake, I give you cake. I truly hope you don’t like it. That way, you’ll never ask me again to bake for you ;)

Tiramisu Layer Cake

Although I made a layer cake, if you’re blessed to have magic roulade rolling skills, then by all means assemble the cake as a roulade. Just don’t tell me about, I’ll get upset :)

Adapted from a recipe in ‘Cakes Biscuits Slices’ by the Australian Women’s Weekly.


¼ cup caster sugar

¼ cup water

2 tablespoons coffee liqueur

2 teaspoons instant coffee granules


3 eggs

½ cup caster sugar

2 teaspoons instant coffee granules

1 tablespoon boiling water

½ cup plain flour

cocoa powder, to dust


250g marscapone cheese

125ml cream

2 tablespoons icing sugar

2.5 tablespoons coffee liqueur

caster sugar, to sprinkle

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a Swiss roll pan (roughly 25×30 cm) with non-stick baking paper. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar and coffee liqueur and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes until the mixture thickens and becomes syrupy. Remove from heat and stir in the instant coffee granules. Allow to cool and set aside.
  3. Dissolve the coffee granules in the boiling water. Beat together the eggs and sugar in another bowl until pale and thick. Fold in the flour and dissolved coffee. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with the flaked almonds. Bake for 15 minutes or until browned and springy to the touch. Allow to cool.
  4. For the filling, whip the marscapone and cream until soft peaks form. Stir in the icing sugar and liqueur. To assemble, cut the sponge into three equal strips. Brush half of the syrup onto one strip of cake. Spread half of the filling onto this cake strip. Repeat this step with another strip of cake. Place the last strip of cake onto the top and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  5. When it is time to serve, liberally dust the top of the cake with a good layer of cocoa powder.

Serves 6.


33 Responses to “Tiramisu Layer Cake”

  1. This cake looks delicious! I made a tiramisu cake last year. It tasted good, but I wasn’t pleased with how it came together. I’m definitely bookmarking this one!

  2. the rolling out of the roulade always scared me too! I felt like it would break and crack no matter what I did. I wonder if you tried another recipe maybe you’d have more luck. Sorry Linda, I think your co-workers will keep calling on your baked goods :)

  3. 3 Mama Kelly

    I love how you turned a “failure” into a creation all your own. It looks great!!

  4. YUMMY!!!!

  5. 5 Laura

    This sounds delicious. I wish I was blessed with baking skills. My cakes always collapse! Your pictures are dreamy!

  6. 6 eastside resident

    looks so good. I have to try it.

  7. 7 Tee

    That looks incredibly delicious. I love tiramisu, but I’m very particular about the flavor. Most I’ve tried taste too cream cheesy. Have you ever had the one from Olive Garden? That one is my favorite (whether it’s authentic or not, I have no idea.) … Any idea if the flavor of your cake is close to that?

    By the way, my little sister once got the same reputation at her workplace for being the “baker”. It seemed she was baking cupcakes or some other sweet every other night. Well, having a Golden Retriever, one long golden hair accidentally made it into a cupcake once. The co-worker who got the lucky prize simply removed it and kept eating… These sweet loving co-workers are impossible to get rid of.

  8. It’s almost bedtime but you’ve just made me hungry again. :/

    Lovely blog, it was featured on wordpress and I was drawn in. I have a penchant for baking (and eating) sweet things too and I love beautiful food photography so definitely will be back!

  9. 9 Teh M1K3Z0R

    Mmmmm, that looks sooo good! Thank you for the recipe, I shall attempt it.

  10. Hello Linda, I came to your blog via Stickyfingers Deep Dish Dreams blog. Your tiramisu layer cake enticed me as I love tiramisu. I’ve written at least three different recipes for tiramisu on my blog.

    As for a roulade, you can try this recipe I tried. It worked first time for me. I managed to roll it without it breaking.

    I’ve also gotten a reputation at work for being a “baker”. I thought it was fun to make a cake one day for a work mate’s birthday. That was about a year ago. Then I got the “can you make something else” and “it’s my birthday next week”. I found I started to bake more and more and started to enjoy the process. It used to just be about eating the finished product, but now I like the process of baking too. Hence, I bring some type of dessert to work every Friday now. I’ve started a cake club at work.

    Sorry about the long comment. I just found your situation very similar to mine.

  11. 11 Tracy

    What beautiful presentation, looks wonderfully delicious.

  12. I haven’t mastered roulades yet either, so I always end up covering them with whipped cream to hide the cracks…

  13. 13 Linda

    Jennifer – the cake holds well and I think it’s because it’s in a long rectangular one. If it was a round cake, it might not have turned out as well. I’m still in awe of the roulade that you made which won DMBLGIT! :)

    Amanda – well, they loved it and I don’t think I’ll ever be left alone! Maybe I should burn the cake next time. Hmmm… And roulades still shit me, lol.

    Mama Kelly, stolenboy, Laura, eastside resident, Teh and Tracy – thank you!

    Tee – true tiramisu would never have cream cheese; always mascarpone. I’ve never tried the one from the Olive Garden, so I’m not sure if mine would taste like that.

    I don’t think I’m going to be able to get rid of my co-workers’ pleas!

    Thanh – thanks for your recipe suggestion! And a cake club? Awesome idea! Maybe it can lessen the load on me and I’ll be able to try other colleagues’ baking. Thanks for that.

    Brilynn = I don’t ever think I’ll be able to master the roulade, but covering it in whipped cream sounds brilliant! :)

  14. Looks sooo goood. Can I have a bite. Or maybe two…;-)

  15. LOVE it! The perfect little slices of square cake! Yum!
    How did it taste?

  16. 16 bakingblonde

    I love this idea and what a great presentation. Perfect for serving dinner guests on the patio with some fresh berries and an after dinner drink!

  17. 17 Becky

    aah…tiramisu is one of my all-time favorite desserts. it looks DIVINE in the photos.

  18. 18 Y

    Nevermind about the roulade, I think the cake looks perfect the way you’ve presented it!

  19. 19 giz

    What a great interpretation of Tiramisu. Re: the office – this would be a good time to start passing the cup around for people to make contributions for ingredients. Otherwise, you’ll need two jobs just to feed your coworkers :)

  20. 20 grace

    Looking gorgeous… I can almost taste it. BTW, added u to my links and this tiramisu in my wishlist to do… when? i dunno, I’ll just acknowledge if posted. Thanks for sharing…

  21. Did you roll the cake while it was hot? I make several rolled cakes each year and never had one crack. Either try a new recipe, or if you didn’t roll it hot, try it (technique explained in this recipe: http://www.zimbio.com/Baking+Desserts/articles/210/Raspberry+Jelly+Swiss+Roll+Cake). Love your pictures. And you are very sweet to bake for your co-workers — but maybe they should take a turn or two?

  22. Linda, I’m no expert in roulades, but the ones I have made so far had the following instructions: after taking the cake out of the oven, immediately invert it onto a clean, dry kitchen towel well dusted with sugar. Carefully peel off the baking paper and roll the cake, kitchen towel and all, to form a roulade. Leave it to cool that way.
    After the cooling time, unroll it, remove the towel, spread the filling then roll again.
    It has worked for me so far, I hope it helps!

    Your idea of making it into a layer cake is genius. It looks wonderful and I should be so lucky to have such a beautiful cake baked for me on my birthday!

  23. 23 fondlywithcheese

    i have been a long time tiramisu fan, but have yet to have the gall to attempt making my beloved treat…this recipe inspired me, and i made it tonight as the finale of the dinner party i hosted. it came out beautifully!! my friends thoroughly enjoyed it, and in true 20-something fashion, we realized i had a large amount of the coffee liqueur left, thus spawning the idea to cut the cake (or sike le kheke (in xhosa) as it’s said here in south africa) into small bite-size pieces and use as a tasty chaser after a healthy gulp of the liqueur. thank you for your recipe!

  24. Hi there Linda, what a gorgeous blog this is – I enjoyed every second of the 20 minutes I was here! You don’t know how glad I am to discover a fellow aussie foodblogger! I picked up the same Woman’s Weekly Cookbook just last week but haven’t had the chance to make anything from it- I LOVE how you’ve improvised this recipe, it looks absolutely stunning ;o)

  25. I could never get tired of your beautiful tiramisu. Sorry to hear that it took a few tries to finish it, but it did turn out just amazing and drool worthy. And Your beautiful blog, I would love to eat everything here!

  26. 26 David


    Coffee marscapone…..you have to make my signature drink for the 2009 Barista Championships!!!

    Happy birthday by the way. Hope the new job is treating you well.


  27. 27 Jamie

    I can see why it would be hard to roll, I have never made a roulade before. I have seen a red velvet cake roulade before and was tempted to buy it at walmart but I didn’t. Tiramisu is good but it’s a lot of work to make it seems especially with a 14 month old running around getting into mischief every second of the day I barely have a chance to even make a pizza crust properly. haha. It’s a pain to even make cookies anymore it seems.

  28. 28 Linda

    Thank you all for your advice and kind comments! :D

    David – LOL! Go you in 2009!

    Hmm, tiramisu flavoured signature drink… yeah baby!!

  29. Making good use of things gone rong in the kitchen is a great skill to have…I am selfishly happy the roulade did not rolled because I can stare at this instead! Well done!

  30. 30 diva

    aaah! thank you for this recipe. i can never resist a tiramisu. it’s my ultimate fine dining dessert (or also a messy weekend dessert)…can’t wait to give this a try. x

  31. 31 Am

    I’ve only succeeded with one roulade to date… so I know the pain of the failed roulade. I’ve seen it done many times though, and I’ve pretty much figured out how to do it by now. I think it’s like sushi a little bit, if you ever made that. You must have some kind of wrapper, like a piece of parchment paper, or a silicone mold to hold the roll in place, and force it to keep its shape. My former chef used to use a bread knife to push the seam in, and roll with the other hand, but to be honest, a homemade roulade doesn’t need to look that good. The last thing you need to remember is that if you don’t leave the roulade wrapped in that shape for at least a minute, it may lose a little of its shape, and depending on the filling, come undone. Hehe, the funny thing is, I think sushi’s even a little easier, because it doesn’t break like cake does, though I’ve never had it happen to me. Just take it real slow. I think there’s even a trick where you can roll it first with a towel (before it’s frosted), hold it there so it “remembers” its shape, and then unroll and do all kinds of fun things with it afterwards. Anyway, kudos on your resourcefulness. Maybe I’ll just do that next time.

  32. Looks yummy :)

  33. 33 Missekat

    Hi.. as a professional Chef and Baker, I’d like to give you an advice that might help if you want to try maing a roulade again:

    Make the sponge cake thin. And be carefull when you bake it. If it gets dry, it’ll crack. If it’s too thick, it’ll crack. Yeah, it’s difficult :-)

    And like Am said: Use the baking paper to roll it with and leave it rolled up with the paper around it for a minute or two, to let the filling set. Also, if the filling is too liquid, it’ll all just mash together, (again).

    Good luck, and I hope the advice is usefull :-)

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