Italian for “pick me up,” Classic Tiramisu is an espresso and booze flavored dessert made with mascarpone, cream, and ladyfingers. A topping of grated chocolate is just one more sublime component.

Classic Tiramisu in a highball glass

Dreamy Classic Tiramisu Recipe

My search for the perfect classic tiramisu recipe all started after a family holiday to Vancouver, British Columbia. My family relocated to this breathtakingly beautiful, cosmopolitan Canadian city when my dad took a year’s sabbatical at UBC.  I learned to say about as “aboot,” been as “bean,” as well as spent the winter weekends skiing on Grouse Mountain and summers at Kits beach or sailing on English Bay. Bill and I had traveled to Vancouver as newlyweds, but we brought the whole family a few years back.

The hubby and I dined at the famed, but now defunct, Lumiere, where Bill will always remember the chocolate cake with beets with disdain. But my most memorable dessert was the classic tiramisu at Romano’s Macaroni Grill (I had no clue it was a chain as it was in a charming old home!) The tiramisu portion was huge, creamy, luscious and richer than any I’d ever eaten. Truth be told, it was my son Tom’s dessert, but he was kind enough to let me sample spoonful after spoonful. I rarely order dessert, just politely mooch.

Slice of Classic Tiramisu on a square white plate

Copycat Tiramisu Recipe

I returned home, certain that Google would produce the tiramisu recipe in seconds. No such luck. All I found was the scary calorie count (you don’t want to know!) of said dessert. So since Tom and I are both fans of coffee desserts, I figured I could do a few test runs to find the perfect copycat recipe of my own.

The first, a supposed recipe from their sister restaurant, The Olive Garden, fell short. The flavor was nice, but the ratio of mascarpone filling to ladyfingers was off and it was slightly too soupy to cut nicely. Phooey.

Tom was happy to take all the leftovers home as I could feel my pancreas cranking out insulin after all my taste testing. So I took that recipe, decreased the mascarpone and cream plus added some extra vanilla as well as rum to both the dipping liquid and the filling. Much better. Plus this classic tiramisu does not contain raw eggs, so no risk except to the waistline!

Classic Tiramisu in a cocktail glass garnished with chocolate covered coffee beans

Check out my Delectable Desserts Pinterest Board for More Irresistible Sweets!  Tiramisu Cheesecake is a decadent tiramisu-inspired recipe.


More of My Favorite Recipes Flavored with Coffee:

Mocha Ice Cream | Silky mocha ice cream topped with a pillow of marshmallow sauce

Mocha Ice Cream

Kahlua Bundt Cake | A super easy, decadent chocolate cake !

Kahlua Bundt Cake


Slow Cooker Coffee Glazed Brisket

Chocolate Kahlua Cake on a white cake stand topped with fresh raspberries

Flourless Chocolate Kahlua Cake 

Classic Tiramisu - a dreamy, copycat recipe with no raw eggs

Classic Tiramisu

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Yield 9 servings

My copycat attempt of Romano's Macaroni Grill Classic Tiramisu.



  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cups mascarpone cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 20-24 ladyfingers (I used a 7-ounce package of Savoiardi biscuit-type ladyfingers)

Soaking liquid:

  • 1/2 cup cold espresso
  • 1/4 cup Kahlua
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • Grated semisweet chocolate


  1. In the top of a double boiler (or rig your own by placing a heat safe bowl over a pan of barely simmering water), whisk together egg yolks, rum and sugar. Cook over simmering water while beating with a hand mixer till mixture triples in size, about 5 minutes. Remove pan with egg mixture from heat, mix in mascarpone and vanilla and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Whip cream to stiff peaks, then fold about a third into egg mixture to lighten. Add the rest and gently fold till combined.
  3. Combine espresso, Kahlua, sugar, rum and vanilla in shallow dish (I used a Pyrex pie plate).
  4. Dip half of the ladyfingers very quickly into the coffee, and arrange on bottom of 8 x 8-inch pan (you may need to break a few to fit in the pan).
  5. Spoon half the mascarpone mixture over ladyfingers and smooth the top. Repeat with the rest of the ladyfingers and top with the remaining filling.
  6. Cover with a layer of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Dust top with grated semisweet chocolate, then cut into squares to serve.


If you use soft ladyfingers, you may need to increase the soaking liquid.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 513Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 217mgSodium: 271mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 1gSugar: 19gProtein: 7g


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