Vegan Tiramisu Layer Cake (gluten free)

I have always been a big fan of Tiramisu.  I first had it at an Italian restaurant with my Mom when I was in college, and I was hooked.  We thought it was so good that we even made some at home the authentic way with custard and mascarpone.  Out home made version was even better than the stuff at the restaurant!  I have made versions of it since then, the first ones with dairy years ago, then some raw vegan versions with special twists like adding in bananas which are wonderful with tiramisu FYI. I have made tiramisu brownies, tiramisu ice cream, but never a tiramisu layer cake.  Well, that changed last weekend.


Maybe it had something to do with taking in the heavenly aroma of freshly ground coffee at work.  It made me long for some creamy tiramisu. Funny, because I am not a coffee drinker, but I love the smell of fresh ground beans.  It reminds me of the laid back Saturday mornings where my Mother used to grind them for her coffee. I love how smells bring back memories.  For me, I think sometimes they are even more powerful than photos.

For this tiramisu cake, I did not mess with lady fingers, but instead baked a coffee spiked cake which was to later be soaked with a bit of coffee syrup like traditional tiramisu.  No messing with custards and folding in or whisking of anything here for the creamy frosting.  I simply threw all of it in the blender, chilled and voila!  I even threw in some coffee beans which contributed a nice coffee flavor and a little nibby texture leaving flecks in the light colored frosting.  A dusting of cacao was necessary between all of the layers for that little note of chocolate as well.  This cake was simply heavenly.  I no longer missed tiramisu, and I was in my happy place.  That is until my piece of cake was gone.

Vegan Tiramisu Layer Cake (gluten free)

Makes 1 6 inch 4 layer cake
2 6 inch cake pans

1 3/4 cups all purpose gluten free flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup granulated coconut sugar
1/2 cup virgin coconut oil, warmed to liquid
1 cup freshly brewed organic coffee or espresso
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp cider vinegar

2 cans organic full fat coconut milk, chilled
2 cups soaked raw cashews
3/4 cup raw coconut nectar, maple syrup or agave nectar
1/2  tsp sea salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp organic coffee beans
2 cups coconut butter, warmed to liquid

2 Tbsp strong brewed organic coffee or espresso
2 Tbsp maple syrup or coconut nectar

cacao powder for dusting
chopped vegan dark chocolate and coffee beans for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and position rack in center of oven. Line two six-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides with parchment paper. Coat parchment paper and pan sides lightly with coconut oil so that the cake doesn't stick and line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment fit to the pan.
Whisk flour, baking soda, sea salt, and sugar together in a large bowl to blend well.
Whisk oil, coffee, and vanilla extract together in small bowl to blend well, then whisk into the flour mixture until well blended. Whisk in the cider vinegar until bubbles form.
Transfer cake batter to prepared pans and bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.
Cool cakes completely in pan on rack, about 1 hour. Cut around sides of pan to loosen. Turn cakes out onto platter; peel off parchment paper. Let cool completely, then place in the fridge to chill until very cold to make slicing easier. When chilled, slice cakes horizontally in half so that you have 4 layers.

Meanwhile, to make the frosting, combine all ingredients but the coconut butter in a high speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  With the motor running, add the coconut butter and process a minute more.  Pour the frosting into a bowl and let sit in the freezer until the consistency of whipped cream (this may take anywhere from 1/2 hour to an hour depending on how warm it has gotten).
Whisk together syrup ingredients in a small bowl.
When ready to frost, place one cake layer on a plate. Brush with a little of the syrup, then dust with the cacao powder (I put mine in a fine meshed strainer and tapped it over the top). Spread frosting about 1/2 inch thick over the first layer, then top with the second. Brush that layer with the syrup, then dust with more cacao powder.  Repeat the frosting, then another cake layer, then more syrup, cacao powder, frosting then the last cake layer. Spread frosting over the top and down the sides of the cake.  Dust the top of the cake with cacao powder and chopped vegan dark chocolate if desired.  Store cake in the fridge. *if you would like a 4 layer 9 inch cake, double this entire recipe and bake in two 9 inch cake pans.


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About the Author

I am a vegan girl who loves to make healthier desserts and dishes with lots of veggies. Recipes are meant to be shared, that is why I started blogging!

  1. March 9, 2015 at 15:46

    these sound amazing!! gorgeous work i have to say. wondering about cupcakes… how many would this likely make? one dozen?

    • March 9, 2015 at 23:42

      Yes, it would make a dozen :).

  2. Liene
    July 14, 2015 at 15:59

    Hi! That looks like one truly beautiful cake! Could you please comment on the flavour of frosting? With all that coconut, you can probably taste it, right? Thank you!

    • July 14, 2015 at 22:49

      Thank you :). I did not notice a coconut flavor, it is more of a vanilla cream flavor to me (but I use coconut milk in everything so I like it and am very used to it) I guess it depends on your tastes. If you have ever had coconut cream, like the kind you make out of coconut milk that is chilled, it is like that but a little less coconut because there are other flavors added here.

  3. November 24, 2015 at 06:44

    Hey Amy !! Still absolutely melt when reading your blog, for hours lol. I was wondering when you mention Coconut Butter, are you referring to like Coconut Manna ( also achieved by blending shredded coconut) or butter like cacao butter? Your textures are so on point!

    • November 24, 2015 at 13:36

      I do make it by blending coconut in the blender so I guess it is closest to manna. It is not oil. Artisana makes a coconut butter, if you have ever seen that?

  4. Dee
    April 26, 2016 at 19:03

    I was wondering if vegan butter can be substituted for the coconut butter. I can deal with coconut milk as it really doesn't have an overly coconut flavor but I do not like coconut at all and the butter sounds like it would definitely come through for me. This looks and sounds amazing though and would love to try it. Like you, I LOVE tiramisu. I had it for the first time when I lived in Italy and miss it.

    • April 26, 2016 at 22:54

      No it can not, because the coconut butter helps the frosting set up, and it would be too runny without it. You can not really taste it though, at least not any more than the milk. The flavors that come through are coffee, vanilla and chocolate.

  5. April 29, 2016 at 20:32

    OMG this sounds and looks AMAZING! Now I'm excited for the next special occasion on my calendar so I get an excuse to make this. :) I love that it's made entirely from natural, whole ingredients — I've seen so many tiramisu-inspired vegan recipes with highly processed ingredients such as cream and butter substitutes. Thank you for sharing! <3

    • April 29, 2016 at 22:50

      I am so happy it sounds good for you :)! I do not like most store-bought substitutes, they are often filled with not so good ingredients. Which is why I create my own ;).

  6. Claire hayles
    September 2, 2016 at 16:39

    I only have coconut oil and coconut milk what can I use instead of coconut butter? Don't have time to shop need to bake in the morning :-) I have avocado ? Would an avocado butter cream work?

    • September 2, 2016 at 22:58

      The frosting will not thicken up without the coconut butter unfortunately and oil will be too oily and may not set properly. Avocado would work, but you would still need the coconut butter for that. If you do not mind a chocolate frosting, I would recommend doing a nut butter fudge frosting if you have nut butter. Like this one: If you do not want to use dates, use maple syrup to taste to sweeten.

  7. Georgia
    September 6, 2016 at 18:18

    Thank you for this recipe, I just made this :-) haven't tasted the end-result but it's gonna be so good I know it. I substituted the coconut butter with melted cocoa butter(not the same quantity) , because that's what I had in the house. The texture and taste is perfect!

    • September 7, 2016 at 12:05

      Cacao butter works well, and gives it a white chocolate flavor :)! I am happy to hear you made it work with what you had on hand!

  8. Georgia
    September 27, 2016 at 07:47

    Hi again Amy! I've made this cake about 3 times in these 3 past weeks haha. I'd like to make one for a birthday party, so it would be in a 9.5 inch cake form. Do you think it would work if I double the ingredients? Or times 2.5? Thanks in advance! Georgia

    • September 30, 2016 at 22:55

      So happy to hear you like it that much :)! Just double the ingredients for a 9 inch cake.

  9. Orly
    March 5, 2018 at 06:16

    Hi! This cake looks amazing!!! And I’ve never tried a frosting recipe quite like this before.. Is it possible to make this cake a day before and keep it in the fridge? (In a sealed plastic cake box).

    • March 5, 2018 at 09:40

      Yes, I often make the cake a day ahead of when I am serving it. The frosting looks the best the day it is made though, so I usually make the cake layers the day before and the frosting the next day. But it will still be ok if you assemble it then serve it the next day.

  10. Georgia
    December 21, 2018 at 15:22

    Amy! 2 years later (see comments above) and this cake has become a classic for me (still with the melted cocoa butter..;-). It's the famous "Vegan Tiramisou Cake", people ask me to make it on various occasions... So thank you once again for this great and simple recipe :-) Kisses from Switzerland

    • December 21, 2018 at 18:32

      I am so happy to hear that you enjoy it so much, and have made it several times! Thank you for letting me know, I love hearing from the people who make my recipes :)!

    • Brett
      September 13, 2019 at 20:01

      Hi Georgia. Using cocoa butter sounds like an interesting idea. How much did you use?

      • September 13, 2019 at 20:06

        You can replace half of the coconut butter with cacao butter if you wanted to. It gives the frosting a white chocolate flavor.

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