Tiramisu Cupcakes – A mini, easy-to-eat version of the classic Italian dessert. Made with vanilla cupcakes brushed with espresso and topped with a marscapone whipped cream.
Tiramisu has been one of my favorite desserts for as long as I can remember. Olive Garden used to be a place we went to to celebrate and every time we went, I got to have a taste of their incredible tiramisu. Even after having tiramisu at the fanciest of Italian restaurants, theirs is still my favorite. I think only Italy itself can produce a better version. I guess I’ll just have to visit to know for sure!
Rather than just make a traditional tiramisu, I wanted to try to master them in cupcake form. I’ve only had one tiramisu cupcake that actually tasted like tiramisu and that was because of the espresso-soaked cake.
Other versions have tried to use an espresso chocolate cupcake or even espresso buttercream stuffed in a chocolate cupcake. But anyone who knows anything about tiramisu is that the only chocolate in the dessert is cocoa dusted on top. How dare they use a chocolate cake base and call it tiramisu!
Don’t you worry – I got your back with my more authentic version and I’m sharing it with you today! Check them out!
To make these cupcakes, we’re starting with a slightly dense vanilla cupcake. It’s the perfect density to hold up to the espresso soak. If we just use a normal, fluffy cake recipe, it would get too soggy when soaked in espresso.
After we bake them, the cupcakes get punched in the center with a fork to help the espresso make its way through the cake.
Next, we add the espresso. At first, I starting brushing the tops with the mixture of instant espresso, sugar, and hot water. However, I found that spooning it on was more effective at getting the espresso through the entire cake. However, if you want more mild espresso flavor, feel free to brush them instead.
Finally, we finish off the cupcakes with a marscapone whipped cream. It’s super simple to make – just like homemade whipped cream but finished off with marscapone cheese whipped in.
Marscapone may not be something you use very often so some like to substitute cream cheese. Don’t do it! Marscapone is such an important flavor in tiramisu and really helps bring the whole dessert together. I think cream cheese can be too sweet and makes the whole dessert too sweet. You’ve been warned.
If you’re still a little hesitant to tackle these cupcakes yourself, here are a few extra tips to give you some more confidence:
- My favorite trick about filling the cupcake tin with batter is using an ice cream scoop. It makes sure that each cupcake is the same size and that filling them is super easy and virtually mess-free.
- The marscapone has to be room temperature before you try to whisk it into the whipped cream. Otherwise, it will be way too firm and you’ll end up whisking for a while, which could deflate the whipped cream.
- It’s always important to let the cupcakes cool completely before soaking with espresso and topping with whipped cream. If the cupcakes are too warm, the cake won’t absorb the espresso and it will soak through and the whipped cream will melt all over the place. If you’re in a hurry, you can place the cupcakes in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process.
That’s all there is to it, people! How excited are you to try these cupcakes?! Have to made or tried any other desserts in cupcake-form? Let me know in the comments below so I can get inspired for future recipes!
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For the cupcakes:
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup butter unsalted, softened
- 3 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
For the espresso soak:
- 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3/4 cup hot water
For the marscapone whipped cream:
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup amaretto liquor
- 8 ounces marscapone cheese softened
- coca powder for dusting
- chocolate-covered espresso beans for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep cupcake pan by lining with 24 cupcake liners. If you only have a 12-cup pan, you'll have to bake in two batches. Set aside.
- In a bowl fitted for a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a tim, making sure each one is completely mixed in before continuing. Add vanilla and mix together.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Mix just until combined. Add 1/2 of the milk and mix just until combined. Repeat until all the flour and milk is gone - but make sure you end with the last 1/3 of flour mixture!. Scrape down the sides to make sure it's completely mixed.
- Scoop batter into prepared pan so that the cups are 2/3 full. Don't fill to the top - otherwise, the cupcakes will overflow. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle cupcake.
- Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Gently remove from pan and let them finish cooling on a cooling rack.
- Make espresso soak by mixing all the ingredients together in a measuring cup. Once the cupcakes are cool, it's time to add the espresso soak. Poke holes into center of cupcake using a fork - give it about 3 or 4 stabs. Using a teaspoon, slowly spoon espresso soak over top of the cupcake. Repeat with all cupcakes. You'll have some liquid left over - that's okay.
- To make the marscapone whipped cream, start by whipping heavy cream until medium peaks form. Mix in sugar, corn starch, and salt until combined. On low, whip in the Amaretto liquor. Using a whisk, slowly mix in softened marscapone cheese by hand until combined.
- Add marscapone whipped cream to a pastry bag (no tip needed). Pipe large swirls on each cupcake top. Dust with a little cocoa powder, top with a chocolate-covered espresso bean, and serve! Store excess cupcakes in a storage container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Pin for later:
More recipes you’ll love:
Nutella Crunch Cupcakes
Tiramisu Frozen Coffee
Chocolate Espresso Snowcaps
Are these made in mini cupcake pans or regular size?
My frosting is soup- help.
The heavy cream took on a separated appearance when I added the Amaretto.
Recipe calls for 3 Tablespoons of vanilla.
Is that correct????
Athena Pedraza says
The whipped cream recipe calls for 1/2 cup amaretto liqueur, but the directions don’t indicate where to add it. Help!
Ah sorry about that! Just whisk it in with the sugar and cornstarch while the mixer is on low.
Wow! This looks so gorgeous. I wish I could grab one right now.
Thanks so much!
Michelle Blackwood says
You are brilliant, love how you made my favorite cake recipe into cupcakes, so easier for me to eat one cupcake than the entire cake.
Rezel Kealoha says
These look so good and I’m a big fan of Tiramisu. I like how you made them into ccupcakes. I need to put this on my list of recipes to make!
Isn’t tiramisu incredible?!?!
Carol Borchardt says
Tiramisu is one of my favorite desserts! Love that you changed them into cupcakes because, given the chance, I would eat a whole one!
OMG me too!
Femi. O says
This is a great idea for a cupcake recipe! I can’t believe I never thought of this and those images look absolutely gorgeous!
Thanks so much!
Could it be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge say a day ahead of time?? I have a large event for about 40 people and this would be amazing to have done ahead of time, instead of the day of the event when I am preparing lasagna, salad and decorating.
Yes definitely. However, I recommend waiting to dust the cupcakes with cocoa right before serving so it looks perfectly pristine.
Amy Nash says
These cupcakes are absolutely beautiful! And tiramisu flavors in a handheld dessert that you can eat without a fork? Perfection!
Aw thanks so much!
I love the idea of using a cupcake instead of ladyfingers! Turning it into a ‘poke cake’ with the espresso is a genius way to get classic tiramisu flavor into the sponge. I can’t wait to try these.
Yes exactly! Thanks for the love!
Renate Solhaug says
Looks so tasty!
Thanks so much!
Marisa Franca says
We love our tiramisu!! And in cupcake form it’s even better. This would be great for a party or even a shower. I really think finger foods are fantastic when you are entertaining.
I completely agree! Finger foods are a tremendous help during parties – no need to fuss with utensils!
Oh boy, you are speaking my language! I love anything tiramisu…especially tiramisu itself, but I wouldn’t be able to say no to these sweet cupcakes, either!
Yeah good luck resisting these babies!
Amanda Mason says
These look ridiculously amazing! Like – wow! I love your pictures! They look good enough to eat! Poking the holes in the cupcakes is genius! What a great way to ensure the espresso gets down in the cupcake! I can’t WAIT to try these!
Yes, you gotta make sure that espresso gets down to the bottom bites!
Kathryn @ FoodieGirlChicago says
Oh my – what an awesome twist on a traditional Tiramisu. Pinned to make later!!
Thanks so much!
Cristina - Memories of the Pacific says
I’ve never made tiramisu but I’d love to try these!
ali randall says
I have a favorite tiramisu recipe and often wondered how to make it an individual serving. This recipe solves this quandary of mine. Love this idea and can’t wait to sink my teeth into one of these cupcakes.
Thanks so much!
Allison - Celebrating Sweets says
I would take these over traditional tiramisu any day! They look perfect!
Oh wow what a compliment! Thanks Allison!
These look amazing! I honestly don’t think I’ve ever had Tiramisu before. I’m not sure why, but I feel like a weirdo for saying that haha I’m going to have to save this recipe!
Oh man you have been missing out! Tiramisu is heavenly! Go out and make these asap!
Do you think I could put the icing/cream on the night before and put in the fridge? Then dust the day of my party?
I was just craving tiramisu over the weekend so this is the perfect recipe at the perfect timing! I need these cupcakes ASAP! Get in my belly!
Hahah love this!
These look absolutely amazing! I love coffee/espresso flavored desserts. This would be so perfect after a big italian meal. Great recipe!
It’s one of my favorite desserts! I love that you didn’t use a chocolate cupcake too! I can’t wait to try this recipe!
Thanks! I am glad you share my annoyance with the chocolate cupcake in other versions!
Such a fantastic cupcake flavor! Love the topping, they look so cute! 🙂
Thanks so much!
Cammeo Murray says
I’m Italian and how have I never thought of this?!? My hubs is obsessed with tiramisu so I’m def making these for his bday next month!!
Yesssss he’s gonna love them!
WOW! These look incredible. I don’t make cupcakes often, but these will definitely be the next ones I make.
Thanks so much!
Blogtastic Food says
Mmm, one of my favourite desserts in cupcake form (:
Now this is my kind of cupcake. Perfect party dessert. I would even use these as celebration cupcakes for a special occasion.
These look amazing! I love a fun cupcake that is similar to another desert.