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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.
Delicious Tiramisu – Without Coffee!
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.
What is Tiramisu?
Classic tiramisu features layers of sponge cake or ladyfinger cookies, soaked in a coffee/brandy mixture, layered with a creamy mascarpone cheese mixture, and finished with a generous dusting of cocoa powder. It is often made in a big dish and served like a sheet cake, but can also be made in individual portions. The name “tiramisu” literally means “pick me up” in Italian, because the amount of coffee will definitely pick anyone up from a low-energy slump.
Chocolate Tiramisu, Hold the Coffee
I love the flavor of traditional tiramisu, but it’s not for everyone. Maybe you don’t drink coffee or alcohol. Or maybe you want something you can serve to the entire family, without worrying the kids will be bouncing off the walls at midnight, buzzing from a second slice of tiramisu. So I came up with the coffee-free, chocolate tiramisu recipe. 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.
I’m sure this version is sacrilege for tiramisu purists, but in the immortal words of surly teenagers on Twitter, #sorrynotsorry. Even though these “pick me ups” don’t have the caffeine content of the original, I know that a big helping of cookies, cream, and chocolate always picks me up, if you know what I mean. And if you’re looking for more great tiramisu variations, you won’t want to miss my fabulous Banana Bread Tiramisu!
Does all this talk of chocolate have you craving more? Check out some of my other chocolate lover’s recipes like Chocolate Cheesecake, Peppermint Lava Cakes, Salted Fudge Brownies, German Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream and Truffle-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies!
🧾 What You’ll Need
In addition to common pantry staples you probably already own, here’s the lowdown on what you’ll need to make Chocolate Tiramisu:
- Semi-sweet chocolate: Chopping up a chocolate bar will give you the best results–I’m a big proponent of Trader Joe’s pound plus bars, if those are available to you. Otherwise, go for high-quality chocolate chips like Guittard–they’ll give you the best flavor.
- Heavy cream:I like heavy cream best for the rich texture it provides, but you can use whipping cream if that’s what’s available to you.
- Egg yolks: You only need yolks in this recipe, so separate the egg yolks from the whites following these directions, and save the whites to use in meringue cookies or frosting!
- Mascarpone cheese: Mascarpone is a soft, creamy Italian cheese sold in tubs. It has a more delicate flavor and texture than cream cheese, but full-fat cream cheese can be substituted in the recipe if you don’t have mascarpone.
- Lady fingers: There are 2 kinds of lady finger cookies: soft ones (with a sponge cake texture) and hard ones, that are quite crunchy. I like using the soft version best, although the crunchy ones work in a pinch. Look for lady fingers in the cookie section of your grocery store, or check Italian markets or delis if you have any local to you.
- Hot chocolate: Use anything with a rich, strong chocolate flavor. I love indulgent homemade hot chocolate, or high-quality store-bought mixes are great too.
💡 Tips and FAQs
Can this be made in a large pan?
Yes! 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 the instructions in the Notes section of the recipe card. Enjoy!
Is it safe to eat raw yolks in tiramisu?
Traditional Italian mascarpone cream is made with raw yolks, and that is what this recipe calls for. If eating raw yolks is a concern for you, I recommend purchasing pasteurized eggs, which can often be found in the refrigerated egg section of many super markets – they will clearly be labeled “pasteurized” on the carton. Pasteurization means they have been gently heated to kill any bacteria present, and they are completely safe to eat while raw.
Make-Ahead and Storage Instructions
Tiramisu is a great make-ahead dessert, and leftovers keep very well! Make it up to five days ahead of time, and store it, well-wrapped, in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, (1 cup), finely chopped
- 1 3/4 cup heavy cream, divided use
- 6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 7 oz granulated sugar, (1 cup)
- 1 lb mascarpone cheese
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 24-30 lady fingers, the soft variety, (use up to 40 if using a 9×13 pan)
- 2 cups prepared hot chocolate, strong, cooled to room temperature
Make the Chocolate Ganache:
- 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.
- 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.
Make the Mascarpone Cream:
- 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.
- 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!
- Transfer the mascarpone cheese to another bowl, and in the same mixing bowl—no need to clean it—place the remaining 3/4 cup heavy cream. Whip the cream to firm peaks, then gently fold it into the cheese in several batches.
Assemble the Tiramisus:
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
Our recipes are developed using weight measurements, and we highly recommend using a kitchen scale for baking whenever possible. However, if you prefer to use cups, volume measurements are provided as well. PLEASE NOTE: the adage “8 oz = 1 cup” is NOT true when speaking about weight, so don’t be concerned if the measurements don’t fit this formula.Click here to learn more about baking measurements and conversion.
This idea is just so genius and perfect for my mom who, let’s just say, is not a big fan of the beverage! 😛 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!!!!!!!!!!!!! ^_^
Thanks Samina! I’d say you and your mom have some post-New Year’s feasting to do!
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
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!
I’m soo not a tiramisu lover simply because of the coffee but I can totally get with this chocolate version!
I’m pretty sure that everything is better when you substitute chocolate! No coffee? No problem. 🙂
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?
Thank you, lady! First of all, if you ever find yourself in southern California, we will hang out and I’ll give you an in-person lesson on tempering! Till then, I have this little thing:
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)
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*
I love tiramisu. It’s EXACTLY like Italian Trifle, and how could that be anything other than the best thing ever?
Right?! Those Italians know what’s up: make trifle, but add lots of creamy CHEESE. Darn skippy.
These look absolutely amazing!
Thank you so much, Melanie!
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!
I LOVE that logic! Pardon me while I go eat a million resolution-friendly mini cupcakes… *high five*
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! 🙂
You already have lady fingers?! You’re, like, 65% there already…I think there needs to be tiramisu in your near future! 🙂
These look delicious! I love traditional tiramisu with the coffee but I definitely wouldn’t be turning these babies down!
Thanks Liz! I actually love traditional tiramisu too, but when given the chance to add chocolate…yeah, you know how this story ends. 🙂
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
Thanks Consuelo! Can we make a whole category of hot chocolate-soaked desserts? I would eat the heck out of those!
Ooo! So fancy pants! How do you not weigh a BILLION pounds???
Maybe I do, Sara! Maybe I do…
Hello ladies, how well would this freeze?
Hi Tammy! I haven’t tried freezing it, but my guess is that it would freeze okay!
I’m not usually a tiramisu fan, but maybe this hot cocoa version would change my mind. Looks so creamy and delicious!
Thanks Amy! Anything that involves cake and mascarpone cheese is tops in my book–glad my chocolate version is changing your mind!
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.
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. 🙂
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.
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. 🙂
Hi the tiramisu looks gorgeous, just a quick question did you use cooking chocolate or just a normal one?
Hi Latifah, I used a regular bar of semi-sweet chocolate. 🙂
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.
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!
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?
Hi Michelle! Yes, you can definitely omit the raw eggs. You can basically just whip cream and sugar together to stiff peaks and then fold in the mascarpone, and it’ll work out fine, but here’s a blog with more specific instructions that you might find helpful:
Do you have a recipe for the hot chocolate for this yummy-sounding chocolate tiramisu recipe? All we have is Swiss Miss!
Hi Elise! I don’t remember what recipe I used for the hot chocolate, but I do have some fun ones in the archives. Salted Caramel would be good!
Thanks Elizabeth. Those hot chocolate recipes look scrumptious! So looking forward to serving your chocolate tiramisu to my husband and grown kids for Christmas Eve. They are going to be in heaven.
i was wondering if i could still soak the lady fingers in coffee ?and keep the chocolate recipe to go with it?
Hi Patty, coffee would work great! That’s totally fine. 🙂
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!
Thanks Amber! I hope that you and your guests enjoyed it!
I made this last night for a BBQ we went to. I made them in mason jars for a rustic look. Everyone loved them!!! The recipe was so easy and so delicious!! It’ll definitely be my go to dessert from now on!!
Awesome! Thanks for the feedback, Rachel. Making these in mason jars sounds so cute. Glad you enjoyed them!
This look amazing. I am preparing the Teacher Appreciation luncheon at my son’s high school and it will be an Italian themed lunch. I am totally wanting individual little desserts like these. The little cups that I am using are 2oz size. I have served choc. mousse in these and it was the perfect amount. Will it really only make 8-12? I am serving 150 but I am also making individual lemon mousse as well….both flavors of Italy 🙂
Hi Laurie, That sounds like such a delicious lunch menu! 🙂 This will make, like, a million 2-oz tiramisus. Okay, not really, but it should make a bunch.Originally I used 6 10-oz containers (which are quite large, and could easily serve 2, which is why the serving size is 8-12), but I’d say you could probably get 25-30 little minis out of this recipe. It kind of depends on the shape of the container and how full you fill them, so I’d recommend a test run (or maybe a half-batch test run?) so you don’t run into any nasty surprises….but you should be able to stretch this one pretty far. Let me know how they turn out!
I made it last friday for some friends that came to have dinner!!!! it was a total succes!!!!
It is more than expected and not difficult at all!!!
Francisca, I’m so happy to hear that you loved it! Thanks for the comment. 🙂
I’m planning to make this for my birthday this weekend because it sounds delicious. I’m a bit nervous about the hot chocolate dip for the ladyfingers. Do you have any suggestions on a recipe?
Thanks a lot.
Hi Madalina, I’m sorry for the slow reply! Any hot chocolate will work (or you can subsitute coffee or mocha if you prefer). I like to use a dark hot chocolate because the rest of the recipe is so sweet, but literally anything–even from a powder mix–is fine! Here’s my favorite gourmet homemade hot chocolate recipe:
I made this recipe many months ago. I came back to it this week for my children’s birthdays. They both wanted one for their cake as they loved it so much the first time I made it. The two times I made it this week though, the mascapone layer has been very runny and the cake has become sloppy. I am stumped as to what has gone wrong as the first time was such a hit. Reading other Tiramisu recipes, it says to beat the egg whites and add to the cheese mix, you don’t use the whites? Maybe I did a mash up of your recipe and another one? I will have to try again as t really is so tasty.
Hi Lani, Apologies for the slow reply! I’m so sorry to hear that you’re having trouble with the recipe now. You definitely can use egg whites in tiramisu, so perhaps try that next time. I like a denser, creamier layer, which is why I omit them, but adding them certainly won’t hurt, and it will make the mascarpone lighter and fluffier, if you like that. 🙂 Are you using the same brand of mascarpone? Has anything else changed, ingredient-wise?
That recipe looks great ! Can’t wait to try it ! But I was wondering how you made those chocolate decorations on top of the tiramisu ? They look so elegant !
Ok, I’m new to Pinterest so I’m just seeing this recipe. Better late than never. This looks Fabulous!! I am a tiramisu lover! I always make it with espresso but not the booze. Anyway, I’m all in trying it with chocolate!! Please tell us how to make the pretty doo-dads on top ( my guess is making little swirly tempered chococolate designs on wax paper and freezing, but that doesn’t explaine how you get them to stand up.)
No time like the present! Let me know how it goes, I would love to hear!! For the doo-dads, I use a chocolate candy coating, melt it, then cover something round- like a rolling pin or wine bottle- with wax paper and drizzle the chocolate on top. When it dries, you can peel the little doo-dads right off and put them on the Tiramisu! Let me know if you have any other questions! And let me know how it goes! 🙂
Hey Elizabeth. Thanks so much for this awesome looking recipe! I have the same question as the previous post : how do you make the fancy doo-daddy thingamabobs on the top?
Haha! Of course! So, I use a chocolate candy coating, melt it, then cover something round- like a rolling pin or wine bottle- with wax paper and drizzle the chocolate on top. When it dries, you can peel the little doo-dads right off and put them on the Tiramisu! Let me know if you have any other questions! 🙂
I have followed the directions to the T and my cheese mixture with the egg yolks at room temp and sugar is extremely thin and I am afraid even if I stir the whipped cream in, it won’t thicken it up. This is an expensive dessert to make and it will be soup in a dish unless I figure out how to make the cheese mixture thicker. I also put the cream in the bowl after just scraping it out good, and the cream will not thicken up. I am totally frustrated because I am a great baker and this recipe looked like it was worth making. Could it be the cheese? I used the highest quality I could get here in Germany. Also, the 7oz of chocolate vs the 1 cup of cream made for a thin genache that I hope will thicken enough to use it. There should be at least 9oz of chocolate for that much cream. Please fix this recipe so other’s are not disappointed as well.
I live in Italy, and i made this for a church potluck. My tiramisu was wiped clean long before the traditional Italian tiramisu. It was amazing! And I’m so glad to have a substitute for coffee
I love this recipe! As someone who doesn’t drink coffee, it was perfect for my husband and me to make for Valentine’s day last year. It was so easy and so much fun that we’re making it a tradition. I loved the addition of dark hot chocolate. It cut through the sweetness and gave so much more depth of flavor.
Hey Em, I am so glad to hear it! That is exactly how I feel, I am thrilled to hear it and that you’re making it a tradition! So fun!!! Thank you so much for your feedback!
This looks so good! What a great dessert to make for individual portions and enjoy over a few days!
Thanks for sharing! Does it keep long?
This is my favourite dessert, but I have never made it before. I will definitely be giving it a go.
Thank you Dannii! Please come back and let us know how it turns out for you!
Okay now this is a dessert! So delicious we absolutely gobbled it up! Thanks for sharing!
Yaaaayyyy! Glad to hear it!
Yummy! My hubby and daughter loved how delicious, and very addicting this tiramisu was! Such a great and very yummy dessert. I loved making these with my daughter, so fun!
Omg I love that you and your daughter made these together!!
Loved the layers of ganache – absolutely delicious! Will be making it again.
Thanks Lima — agreed that more chocolate makes everything better! 😀
This was so good! Thank you so much for this tasty recipe!
I’m glad you loved it, Kristen!