Add some ‘Bou to your tiramisu


If you’re a dessert person, chances are you’ve tried (and loved) tiramisu, an Italian treat made with light and spongy ladyfingers, creamy mascarpone cheese and a dusting of cocoa, plus a ribbon of rich, bittersweet coffee or liqueur. It’s one of the most popular and beloved desserts of all time for good reason; tiramisu is the perfect mix of textures and flavors for an after-dinner treat. (Or, you know, whenever the craving strikes.)

mixing bowl with whisk

Coffee is instrumental in any tiramisu recipe, and you may just have the perfect grounds in your kitchen at this very moment. “The most classical tiramisu uses some kind of coffee or coffee and a liqueur,” explains Caribou Coffee lead culinary chef David Marshall. “What you need is something bold. Cross Fox Espresso is nice and bold, but it has sweetness, it’s balanced. It has enough acidity to help cut through a lot of the fats like the mascarpone cheese.” We call Cross Fox the cornerstone of our most beloved beverages because of its creamy and sweet flavor and smooth finish. “Between the balance of acidity and sweetness and the deep roasty notes of the espresso, it helps let that coffee flavor come through.”

Chef David also recommends trying Obsidian Dark Roast because of its “roasty, toasty, complex and smoky” notes. “It has complexity and big boldness and bitterness to counterbalance the sweetness.” If you prefer decaf coffee, Chef David’s pick is French Roast Blend Decaf due to its smoky caramel notes.

Coffee? Check. Mixing bowls and measuring cups? Check. Sweet tooth? Ready. Below, Chef David shares two never-fail recipes for tiramisu: a traditional take if you really want to flex your culinary skills and a fast and easy version for a weeknight indulgence.


Ladyfinger sponge cake

½ cup cornstarch

¾ cup bread flour

4 large eggs (separated to yolks and whites)

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon lemon juice

  1. Sift cornstarch and flour, reserve.
  2. Whip egg yolks with 3 tablespoons of the total sugar on high speed until they are light and creamy, reserve.
  3. Add 3 tablespoons remaining sugar, along with lemon juice, to the egg whites. Whip on high speed until it is foamy and has tripled in volume, about 2 minutes.
  4. Gradually add the remaining sugar and whip to stiff peaks.
  5. Fold in the reserved egg yolk and sugar mixture and then fold in the flour cornstarch mixture.
  6. Line the two 9″ x 13″ sheet pans with baking paper.  Divide and spread the ladyfinger sponge cake batter evenly in both sheet pans.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool.

Mascarpone filling

1 egg

3 fl oz light corn syrup

1 ½ cups of heavy whipping cream

8 oz mascarpone cheese (softened to room temp)

  1. With stand or hand mixer, whip egg at high speed until the egg begins to foam, about 30 seconds.
  2. Place corn syrup in small pot or pan and bring to a boil. Gradually pour it into the egg while whipping. Continue to whip until mixture has cooled.
  3. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy whipping cream to soft peaks and reserve. 
  4. Gradually stir the egg mixture to the softened mascarpone. Then stir in the whipped cream until everything is incorporated.
  5. Refrigerate until needed.


Both 9″ x 13″ sheet pans of baked ladyfinger (sponge) cakes from above recipe or 2 packs of premade ladyfingers

12 fl oz Caribou’s Obsidian coffee (brewer or French Press) or Caribou’s Cross Fox Espresso

Mascarpone filling from above recipe

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  1. Use a cutting board placed on top of a sheet pan to flip out the ladyfinger sponge cake. Remove baking paper, then flip the cake right side up. If necessary, trim the top of the cake so it is even. Place one of the ladyfinger sponge cakes in a 9″ x 13″ serving dish or casserole dish. (If using premade ladyfingers, place enough to make 1 layer.)
  2. Brush the top of the cake with 6 fl oz of brewed Obsidian coffee or Cross Fox Espresso using a pastry brush.
  3. Spread ½ of the mascarpone on top of the first layer of ladyfinger sponge cake. Sift half the cocoa powder on top.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap or lid. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Overnight is best to ensure proper setting.
tiramisu and cup of caribou coffee


1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream

8 oz mascarpone cheese (softened to room temp)

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

14 fl oz brewed Obsidian or Cross Fox Espresso, chilled

1 pack of premade ladyfingers

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  1. With hand mixer or stand mixer, whip sugar, vanilla and heavy whipping cream to stiff peaks on medium speed.
  2. Add mascarpone cheese to whipped cream and mix until evenly combined.
  3. Place 1 layer of premade ladyfingers In an 8″ x 8″ casserole dish or serving dish.
  4. With a pastry brush, brush on half of the Obsidian coffee or Cross Fox Espresso.
  5. Top with half the whipped cream and mascarpone mix, then sift half of the cocoa powder on top.
  6. Place second layer of premade ladyfingers in dish and repeat steps 4 and 5.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap or lid. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Overnight is best to ensure proper setting.

For some fun twists

Replace 2 fl oz of coffee with your favorite liqueur.

Play with combinations of different flavor extracts.

Replace the mascarpone with whipped cream cheese and the ladyfingers with your favorite sandwich type cookie.

Don’t take tiramisu too seriously, says Chef David. “It’s about having fun when making tiramisu and making coffee. It’s about experimentation and unique twists. See what happens!”

Share your chef-inspired Caribou creations on social media by tagging @CaribouCoffee!