February 17, 2023

Tiramisu with Chocolate Zabaglione

This nonna-approved tiramisu isn’t the traditional Italian dessert made with savoiardi cookies and Marsala wine. I took some liberties, while keeping the tiramisu’s creamy richness and espresso flavour front and centre. This light, airy espresso sponge cake is soaked with a boozy coffee syrup, topped with a creamy mascarpone and chocolate-infused zabaglione, then garnished with a dusting of cocoa powder. The taste of the chocolate in the zabaglione is not overwhelming. From the specks of espresso in the cake batter to the coffee liqueur-infused syrup and zabaglione, this tiramisu is full of depth and flavour.


Coffee Liqueur

I opted for Tia Maria for the boozy coffee syrup and for the chocolate zabaglione.  This liqueur boasts flavours that enhance the tiramisu: roasted coffee beans and vanilla.  The Jamaican rum adds depth to the dessert as well.  If you do not have Tia Maria on hand, feel free to use another coffee liqueur, like Kahlúa.  Traditionally, tiramisu is made with Marsala wine.

Homemade Whipped Cream

It is so satisfying to whip liquid cream and sugar into stiff peaks with a hand-held whisk!  Feel free to use a hand-held mixer or stand mixer for this step though.


I chose to make a single layer sponge cake rather than a layered tiramisu.  This means I had extra mascarpone and chocolate zabaglione left over to dollop onto the plates, giving the presentation a fancy flair when it came time to serve the dessert.  If you love the pudding-like consistency of a soaked sponge, slice the sponge cake in half, and brush lots of boozy coffee syrup onto both layers.  This recipe makes plenty of syrup, and enough mascarpone cream and chocolate zabaglione to slather onto a layered tiramisu.  


Traditionally, tiramisu is made with ladyfingers instead of this espresso sponge cake.  If you prefer to use savoiardi cookies, dip them in the coffee syrup.

Quality Cocoa

Tiramisu is garnished with a dusting of cocoa powder, so choose a quality cocoa that will highlight the Italian dessert.  I love Rodelle’s Dutch processed cocoa powder.  This gourmet organic product enhances your dessert with a rich flavour, and it smells incredible!


Kitchen scale

Oven thermometer

8 inch round cake pan with a height of 2 inches  

Parchment paper



Stand-mixer fitted with a whisk attachment


½ tsp, 1 tbsp

Measuring cup for liquids

Small offset spatula

Small saucepan

Medium saucepan


Piping bag 

Wilton decorating tip 104

Small mesh strainer

Bon appétit!


Tiramisu with Chocolate Zabaglione

This nonna-approved tiramisu is a play on the traditional Italian dessert: a light, airy espresso sponge cake soaked with a boozy coffee syrup, topped with a creamy mascarpone and chocolate zabaglione, then garnished with a dusting of cocoa powder.


Ariane | Miel et Ganache









Espresso Sponge Cake

  • 55g (⅓ cup) all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp espresso powder
  • 4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 65g (¼ cup) granulated sugar
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Coffee Syrup

  • ⅓ cup hot coffee
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup coffee liqueur (I used Tia Maria)

Chocolate Zabaglione

  • 2 tbsp 35% whipping cream
  • 56g (2 oz, ¼ cup) semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 75g (⅓ cup) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup coffee liqueur (I used Tia Maria)
  • Pinch of salt

Mascarpone Cream

  • 170g (⅔ cup) mascarpone
  • ⅔ cup 35% whipping cream
  • 65g (¼ cup) granulated sugar

  • Dutch-processed cocoa powder for dusting


Espresso Sponge Cake

  1. Place the oven rack in the middle position.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  3. Line the bottom of a 8’’ round cake pan with parchment paper.  Do not butter the sides of the pan.  This cake batter must cling to the edges to rise properly.
  4. Whisk the flour and espresso powder together in a small bowl.  Set aside.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg yolks until well mixed on high speed.
  6. Lower the speed and incorporate half of the granulated sugar.
  7. Bring the speed back up to high and whip for 5 minutes, until the mixture is lightens in colour and doubles in volume.  The texture will be foamy and the batter should fall like a ribbon.
  8. Transfer the egg yolk batter into a bowl and set aside.
  9. Clean the bowl and whisk attachment of the stand mixer.  Do not skip this step!  Egg whites need a clean bowl and whisk in order to become a French meringue.
  10. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites and salt on medium speed until foamy.  
  11. Add the remaining granulated sugar to make a French meringue.
  12. Raise the speed to high and whip the meringue until it forms stiff peaks, about 1.5 minutes.
  13. Use a spatula to fold the meringue into the egg yolk batter.
  14. Add the vanilla.
  15. Gently fold the flour mixture into the batter.
  16. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Use a small offset spatula to smooth the top.
  17. Bake for 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  18. Let the sponge cake cool completely in the pan.
  19. Run the small offset spatula (or a knife) along the edge of the pan.
  20. Flip the sponge cake onto a serving platter.

Coffee Syrup

  1. Stir the sugar into the hot coffee until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Pour the Tia Maria into the coffee, stirring until combined.
  3. Set aside.

Chocolate Zabaglione

  1. Add the cream and chocolate to a small saucepan.  Stir as the chocolate melts over medium heat.  Be careful not to burn the chocolate.  
  2. Set aside and keep warm.
  3. Whisk the egg yolks, granulated sugar, Tia Maria and salt together in a large heatproof bowl.
  4. Set the heatproof bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water.  Make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.
  5. Whisk the egg mixture over the simmering water for 4 minutes, until the mixture is thick and creamy.
  6. Remove the bowl from the heat.
  7. Use a spatula to fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.
  8. Transfer the chocolate zabaglione to a bowl, cover, and let cool completely in the fridge.

Mascarpone Cream

  1. Place the mascarpone in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Pour the whipping cream and sugar in a medium bowl.
  3. Use a whisk to whip the cream and sugar together until you reach stiff peaks.
  4. Use a spatula to gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone until well combined.
  5. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until ready to assemble.


  1. Brush the syrup onto the espresso sponge cake.
  2. Use a spatula to fold the chocolate zabaglione into the mascarpone cream.
  3. Transfer the mascarpone cream into a piping bag with the Wilton decorating tip 104.  Alternatively, you can use an offset spatula to spread the cream onto the sponge cake.
  4. Use a small fine mesh strainer to dust the cocoa powder over the tiramisu.
  5. Let the tiramisu set in the fridge before serving.
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January 30, 2023
Marjolaine Bourget
I’ve only tasted 2 of two of your recipes so far but this one is by far my favourite! Shortbread always reminds me of my time in Scotland!
January 30, 2023
Marjolaine Bourget
Very chocolaty (is that even a word?) and very delicious! Thanks for letting me and The Peanut taste!