Chocolate Tiramisu

This may sound strange coming from a non-coffee-drinking teetotaler, but I am huge sucker for tiramisu. I think it’s because it triggers all the trifle pleasure centers in my brain, of which there are very, very many. I mean, it basically is a trifle, right? Soft cake-like layer? Check. Creamy layer? You betcha. Beautiful layered presentation? Yes indeedy. Fancy Italian name? Oh, behave.

Chocolate Tiramisu |

So I decided to make tiramisu my way—hold the coffee, nix the booze, and dump in a ton of chocolate. (Sing with me now: “It’s the SugarHero way!”) This dessert still has the traditional lady finger cookies, and definitely still calls for that delicious mascarpone cheese-based layer of deliciousness, but in this chocolate version, the cookies are dunked in strong hot chocolate to soften them, and in between each cookie layer is a thick layer of rich, dark chocolate ganache.

Chocolate Tiramisu |

I’m sure this version is sacrilege for tiramisu purists, but in the immortal words of surly teenagers on Twitter, #sorrynotsorry. Tiramisu means “pick me up” in Italian, and even though these don’t have the caffeine content of the original, I know that a big glass of cookies, cream, and chocolate always picks me up, if you know what I mean.

Chocolate Tiramisu |

I’m always a sucker for individual desserts, and these tiramisus, with their beautiful layers of white and brown, are a natural choice to be served in small glass cups. Top them with a scattering of chocolate shavings and a few chocolate doo-dads (that’s a technical pastry term, try not to be jealous of my vast knowledge) and you have gorgeous, party-worthy desserts without a lot of work!

If you need to feed a crowd, or don’t have the right size serving glasses, this recipe can also be made in a 9×13 pan—I’ve included both instructions down below. Enjoy!

Chocolate Tiramisu |

PS! Are you eyeing this tiramisu, but wishing it was a little more…shall we say… resolution-friendly? I know what you mean! It’s definitely an occasional indulgence, and not a nightly treat, for me too. I do still love a little daily treat for my sweet tooth, though, so I’ve been compiling a list of healthier dessert recipes to enjoy! You can see a few of my favorite healthy picks in the slideshow below and on I’m just waiting for someone to come up with a knockout healthy tiramisu recipe!

Check out Healthy Desserts

by Elizabeth LaBau at

Chocolate Tiramisu
Prep time
Total time
If you like regular tiramisu, you'll love chocolate tiramisu! This twist on the familiar Italian favorite calls for hot chocolate instead of espresso, and adds several layers of chocolate ganache for a deep, rich chocolate taste.
Recipe type: Other dessert
Serves: 6-12
  • 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1¾ cup heavy cream, divided use
  • 6 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 7 oz (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 lb mascarpone cheese
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 24-30 soft lady fingers (up to 40 if using a 9x13 pan)
  • 2 cups prepared hot chocolate, strong, cooled to room temperature
  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a small bowl. Pour one cup of heavy cream into a small saucepan, and place the pan over medium heat. Bring the cream to a simmer, heating it until bubbles appear along the sides of the pan, but it is not yet boiling.
  2. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and allow it to sit and soften for a minute. After a minute, whisk the cream and chocolate together until the chocolate is smooth, shiny and melted. Press a layer of cling wrap over the top and refrigerate the chocolate briefly until it thickens to the consistency of soft peanut butter.
  3. While the chocolate is chilling, prepare the mascarpone mixture. Place the egg yolks and sugar in the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat the yolks and sugar together on medium-high speed until they are very thick and pale, about 2-3 minutes. When you stop the mixer and lift up the whisk, the yolks should slowly drip from the whisk in a thick ribbon.
  4. Add the mascarpone cheese, salt, and vanilla extract, and beat on medium-low until the cheese is incorporated and the mixture is free of lumps. Don’t overbeat, or beat too quickly, since mascarpone is prone to breaking if it’s overworked!
  5. Transfer the mascarpone cheese to another bowl, and in the same mixing bowl—no need to clean it—place the remaining ¾ cup heavy cream. Whip the cream to firm peaks, then gently fold it into the cheese in several batches.
  6. To assemble the tiramisus, spread a thin layer of chocolate on the bottom of six 10-oz dishes or cups. Working one at a time, dip a ladyfinger quickly in the hot chocolate so that it is submerged, then place it in the serving dish. You may need to break the cookies into several pieces to make them fit into an even layer in the dishes. Repeat until all of the dishes have a first layer of soaked lady fingers.
  7. Spoon a thick layer of the mascarpone cream over the ladyfingers—you may find that it’s easier to put the cream into a pastry bag with a round tip, or a plastic bag with the corner snipped off. Once all of the tiramisus have a layer of mascarpone, spoon a thin layer of chocolate on top. Repeat the layers, adding more ladyfingers, mascarpone, and chocolate, until you reach the top of your container. Make sure that you end with a layer of mascarpone cheese. Finish the tiramisus with a topping of shaved chocolate, unsweetened cocoa powder, or a big rosette of whipped cream. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and serve!
  8. Tiramisu keeps very well, and this dessert can be made up to five days ahead of time and kept, well-wrapped, in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
This recipe can also be made in a 9x13 pan. You will need more lady fingers to make it in a large rectangular pan, but the exact number will depend on the size of the brand you use. To make it in a 9x13 pan, start with a thin chocolate layer, then add dipped ladyfingers, mascarpone, chocolate, lady fingers, and mascarpone, in that order. Top with shredded chocolate or cocoa powder, refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and then serve!

You can substitute hard lady fingers (savoiardi) for the soft ones, if that is what you have available, but you will want to soak them for an extra second or two in the hot chocolate to make sure they soften.


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48 Responses to Chocolate Tiramisu
  1. This idea is just so genius and perfect for my mom who, let’s just say, is not a big fan of the beverage! :P I loveeeeeeee those chocolate decorations they just make the tiramisu look so chic! I think New Year’s resolutions are meant to be broken so I’m definitely making these!!!!!!!!!!!!! ^_^

  2. Johlene says:

    I´m a huge fan of tiramisu and also of desserts in glasses so this one is a winner in my eyes! I´ve been wanting to make a tiramisu layer cake for a long time..Hope you have a great weekend and that your little one will give you some needed R&R! Xx

    • Elizabeth says:

      A tiramisu layer cake sounds epic! I’ve seen some great versions but never tried one myself–excited to see what you do with it!

  3. I’m soo not a tiramisu lover simply because of the coffee but I can totally get with this chocolate version!

  4. I’m a coffee lover, but I can totally get on board with this chocolate version. Your presentation is just beautiful! Will you teach me how to temper chocolate? Pretty please?

  5. Danguole says:

    Oookay, you’re probably the only person ever who could give me tiramisu without coffee or booze and have me NOT throw it back at you yelling every Italian word I know. “Cannoli! Prosciutto! VESPA!” I like the strong hot chocolate bath… And the ganache… And the doo-dads. Sold. These are goooooorgeous. Molto bellas! (<–I'm positive that's wrong)

    • Elizabeth says:

      Haha! Don’t forget “Gnocci!” that most Italian of swears. :) Also, there is no such thing as wrong Italian, if you say it with gusto and lots of hand gestures. My qualifications are that I spent a few days there a decade ago–how could I be wrong? Buenissimo!! *flails hands wildly*

  6. I love tiramisu. It’s EXACTLY like Italian Trifle, and how could that be anything other than the best thing ever?

  7. Melanie says:

    These look absolutely amazing!

  8. Can I just say that I love love love tiramisu? So adding some chocolate up in there only makes the whole trifle about a million times yummier. And as for these not “being resolution friendly”… umm they’re single serve so that means they are IN FACT resolution friendly! Win win!

  9. I’ve been searching for the right tiramisu recipe for the ladyfingers in our freezer. If this isn’t the one, then I don’t know what is! Chocolate makes everything better, especially the doo-dad kind. And, I don’t think desserts should ever be “resolution friendly” – it isn’t a real dessert then! :)

    • Elizabeth says:

      You already have lady fingers?! You’re, like, 65% there already…I think there needs to be tiramisu in your near future! :)

  10. Liz says:

    These look delicious! I love traditional tiramisu with the coffee but I definitely wouldn’t be turning these babies down!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks Liz! I actually love traditional tiramisu too, but when given the chance to add chocolate…yeah, you know how this story ends. :)

  11. I like the coffee version, but heck, how would I say no to these beauties?? Hot-chocolate soaked anything is a winner in my book! I love these <3

  12. […] SUGAR HERO: Chocolate Tiramisu […]

  13. Ooo! So fancy pants! How do you not weigh a BILLION pounds???

  14. tammy says:

    Hello ladies, how well would this freeze?

  15. I’m not usually a tiramisu fan, but maybe this hot cocoa version would change my mind. Looks so creamy and delicious!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks Amy! Anything that involves cake and mascarpone cheese is tops in my book–glad my chocolate version is changing your mind!

  16. Leisel says:

    Oh, thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU! I am like you… A huge fan of tiramisu, but not a coffee drinker or an alcohol drinker, so eating it always ends up being a bit of a guilt trip for me, and I don’t indulge nearly as often as I’d like. I’ve always meant to tweak a recipe to eliminate those things, but I’ve never actually gotten around to it. I’m really excited to try this out.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks Leisel! You sound just like me–so glad to have been able to help! I’d love to hear what you think if you give it a try. :)

  17. […] Might we recommend prosciutto crostini with goat cheese, “drunken” pappardelle noodles, and chocolate tiramisu? Oh, and be sure to pick up a bottle of Chianti and a Redbox before the first flurries […]

  18. Dumi says:

    Great minds think alike… I hate coffee but love tiramisu, I made these and they were divine.

    Still a great pick me up after a yummy meal.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Awesome, Dumi! So glad that you gave them a try and that you enjoyed them! Thanks for the feedback–and yes, chocolate tiramisu is all the pick-me-up I need. :)

  19. Latifah says:

    Hi the tiramisu looks gorgeous, just a quick question did you use cooking chocolate or just a normal one?

  20. Julie says:

    My family got together yesterday to celebrate my dad’s birthday. He has esophageal cancer and swallowing solid food is somewhat traumatizing for him. I was heartbroken at the thought of him not being able to eat his own birthday cake, so I scoured the internet looking for a soft dessert that he could enjoy. It’s been a challenge to find food that won’t make him sick but still tastes good. I stumbled upon this recipe and decided to give it a try.

    Everyone raved about it and my dad loved it. I made it in a 9×13 pan (for easy transport) and there were only two small pieces left. I will definitely keep this in my repertoire for future gatherings.

    I think I needed 48 ladyfingers for that size pan and I ended up having to make more hot chocolate to dip them in. Also, the ladyfingers actually got a little too mushy, so next time I might try brushing them with the hot chocolate instead of dunking them.

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe- not only was it delicious, it was amazing to see my dad actually enjoy his food for the first time in several months. I would recommend it to anyone who has trouble swallowing.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hi Julie, Thanks for the comment. I am so pleased that your dad enjoyed the tiramisu! I imagine that it’s really difficult to find tasty food that he likes eating now, so I am glad to have been able to help in some small way. I hope he had a wonderful birthday! Thanks also for the tips about making it in a 9×13–I know that will be useful for other people in the future. Thanks again, and best wishes to your dad!

  21. Michelle says:

    Hello, this recipe sounds absolutly delicious except for the raw eggs… i was wondering if it’s possible to replace the yolks with something else or just leave them out entierly?

    Thank you,
    Michelle :)

  22. Elise says:

    Do you have a recipe for the hot chocolate for this yummy-sounding chocolate tiramisu recipe? All we have is Swiss Miss!

  23. patty says:

    i was wondering if i could still soak the lady fingers in coffee ?and keep the chocolate recipe to go with it?

  24. […] got inspiration from SugarHero with her chocolate ganache layers….but the rest of the recipe was mine […]

  25. Amber says:

    Thanks so much for this recipe! We are not coffee drinkers so this is a fantastic alternative:) I made it this morning– super easy so I’m hoping it will impress my dinner guests!

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