Tiramisu Ombré Cake

A decadent mélange of dark chocolate, espresso and vanilla layers brought together with a creamy ombré mascarpone frosting, everything you love about a classic Tiramisu in one cake! Speckled with vanilla, soaked in coffee and generously dusted with cocoa this four-layer cake is perfect for anyone who loves their coffee.

PREPARATION TIME: Approx. 2 hours


For the cakes

  • 225 g unsalted butter
  • 225 g caster sugar
  • 225 g plain flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder

For the coffee syrup

  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder
  • 80 g caster sugar
  • 120 ml water

For the mascarpone frosting

  • 750 g mascarpone, softened
  • 115 g icing sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 30 g 70% dark chocolate, melted
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, for dusting

(Recipe from EatLoveEats )


For the cakes

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line 2 round 6″ baking tins.

Note: It speeds up the process if you have 4 baking tins, but re-using two works just fine!

In a large bowl, start by creaming the butter and caster sugar together until light and fluffy in texture. Add in the eggs, one at a time whisking in each time until well combined. Scrape off the vanilla seeds of half a pod and add to the batter. Pour in the milk and gently whisk. Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl, plain flour, baking powder and baking soda and fold through with a spatula.

Divide the batter into four equal parts. You could do this by weighing it out which yields more precise and even layers or simply eyeball it as best you can!

Set one portion of the batter aside for the vanilla layer.

Add in unsweetened cocoa powder to another portion and stir through for the chocolate layer of the cake. Next add in the espresso powder to the remaining two halves and transfer the batter into the prepared baking tins. Level out the tops as best you can.

Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted through the centre comes out clean. Let the cakes cool on a wire rack and repeat the process to bake the remaining two chocolate and vanilla cakes.

For the coffee syrup

Place the caster sugar, espresso powder and water into a saucepan and bring to a simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved. Set aside to cool down.

For the mascarpone frosting

In a large bowl, combine the mascarpone, icing sugar, vanilla seeds and stir through with a spatula. Divide the batter into three bowls- roughly into half and two quarters.

Set the larger half aside. Stir in espresso powder into one of the smaller portions and set aside. Next, stir in the cooled, melted dark chocolate into the other smaller portion.

Assembling the cake

Start by levelling off all the sponge cakes using a cake leveller or a serrated knife. You can additionally take off the crusty sides as well, but I’ve chosen not to this time.

Note: Layer cakes are easiest to assemble and ice using a cake turn table!

Place the chocolate layer onto the surface. Using a pastry brush, generously soak the tops of each cake with the coffee syrup as you go along. Spread a dollop of the vanilla mascarpone frosting onto the first layer.

To start layering the cakes, place the coffee cake on top of the first layer and top with another layer of vanilla frosting. Repeat the process with the second coffee cake and the vanilla.

Next, roughly crumb coat the entire cake with a thin layer of vanilla frosting to seal in the loose crumbs and set in the fridge fro about 15-20 minutes.

Once the cake is out the fridge, brace yourself for the best part: the ombré frosting!

Start with the dark chocolate frosting at the bottom third of the cake, followed by the espresso frosting in the middle and the vanilla towards the top (as in the photos).Use a cranked palette knife to smooth out and merge the three layers of frosting.

To finish the top of the cake you could simply spread a thick layer of the vanilla frosting and dust with cocoa powder. I chose to embrace a rather classic tiramisu trait with small blobs of frosting using a large round tip nozzle (no.5) followed by a generous dusting of cocoa powder.


That’s all there is to it and you’ll have yourself a simple yet elegant looking cake that’s sure to impress!


Remember, mascarpone and high temperatures don’t go so well together! Keeping the mascarpone at room temperature makes working with it a lot easier. If it’s too soft return it back to the fridge so that it firms up.

When assembling the cake, remember to brush the coffee syrup over the tops, that gives it an extra kick of caffeine. Also, avoid going over the sides too many times or the ombré frosting gets messy.

If you love Tiramisu as much as I do, but you’re short on time to make this elaborate layered cake, check out these quick and easy Chocolate tiramisu truffles !

You can also find this cake featured on TheFeedFeed on their Layer Cakes Feed .If you’re looking to make any crazy delicious layer cakes soon, definitely look this feed up for some amazing recipes!

If you give this recipe a go, I’d love to see how it turned out. Leave a comment below and share your pictures on Instagram using the tag #thecookbooklife!

Have a lovely weekend everyone!
Nikita xx


29 Comments Add yours

  1. MEG says:

    When does the flour and other dry ingredients go in?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Meg,
      Thank you so much, sorry about that, somehow that line of the recipe got deleted in the process. I have updated it now! ❤


      1. MEG says:

        My daughter made the cake for my husband’s birthday and it was delicious! Thank you!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Aww that’s great, so glad to hear that! Hope you enjoyed it!❤️


  2. My Moments says:

    Hey Nikita, seems sooo delicious. I’m going to try it for my sister’s birthday! Thank you for the recipe ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey there, glad you love it! Let me know how that goes, happy birthday to your sister!😃❤️


  3. Amy says:

    Hi there, is espresso powder ground coffee or is it instant coffee powder? Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Amy, you could use any coffee you like really, depends on how strong you want to flavour to be. Instant coffee powder works great, just make sure it’s a fine powder and not coffee granules. Hope that helps!😊❤️


  4. Marina says:

    This cake looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it. It looks like you have four distinct layers but the recipe calls for one vanilla, one chocolate, and two coffee. What did you do to get the darkest bottom layer? Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Marina! Glad you love it! Yeah it does have four layers: a chocolate layer at the very bottom, followed by two coffee layers in the middle and the vanilla layer right at the top. Hope that helps! Let me know if you try it😊❤️


  5. Sandy D says:

    Hi Nikita, we would love to feature this stunning recipe image in a recipe roundup of Ombre Cakes (with full credit and link back to this recipe). Please get in touch for more details. Warm thanks, Sandy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Sandy,
      Thank you so much that’s so kind of you! Glad you love the photographs. That sounds amazing! Sure will do, let me know how I can contact you regarding the same!
      Nikita xx


  6. Erin M. says:

    Can any of this be done ahead? My boyfriends birthday is coming up and I work all of the surrounding days, so it’d be nice to knock out some of it ahead of time. Beautiful recipe, can’t wait to try!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Erin,
      Yeah I’ve baked cakes in advance too. Only thing is if you’re not careful the sponge gets dry, I’ve done that plenty of times lol. Wrap it in cling film until you need it and soak it in some simple sugar syrup instead sometimes that works easier for me. Hope that helps!♥️


      1. Tiramisu Fan says:

        Would you recommend putting the coffee syrup that is required in your recipe instead of simple sugar syrup? Also can I apply it on both sides nad wrap it and will that keep it moist? I will have to cook bake the cakes 1 day in advance of frosting them and bring it to the bday the day after!


  7. Monsieur R. says:

    This one seems more than gorgeous !


  8. Brita says:

    How do you keep the ombré effect of the middle two layers are both coffee? Do you split the 1T ground coffee into 1t for the second and 2t for the third?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well I pretty much leave it the same most of the time, you can always use more coffee extract in one and less in the other, the ombré works regardless of what you do! 🙂


  9. santiago says:

    Thanks for sharing, it’s really good looking and tasty. I don’t want to sound like an ass but the instructions are not good at all, I am a quite experienced baker and I had to make the cake twice. The cake is not as easy as your instructions make it look and the frosting directions are really bad, mascarpone is really prone to forming granules. I really don’t know how could you achieve a piping frosting out of it. More in-depth instructions are definitively needed. I hope you take this as constructive criticism. Thanks for sharing!


    1. Hey there, sorry to hear you had troubles with the frosting but I’ve had a lot of people try it and it’s been perfectly good, there’s not much more to explain with that one. Although if you use a different brand of mascarpone that might help, it has to do with the fat content and the amount of liquid in the mascarpone from what I know. It splits and starts to look curdled. If you try it again, I’d suggest changing the mascarpone you use. I appreciate the criticism, hope that helps you out because there’s honestly not a lot to it at the end of the day, it’s frosting!


  10. Viktoriya says:

    Hi, making this cake as we speak. I don’t have 6″ pans so am using 9″ and making the batter twice so my cake isn’t too flat. I tried the batter prior to baking and taste the baking soda way too much? Is 4 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda correct??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Viktoriya! I sincerely apologise for the late reply! Hope the cake worked out well, and yes that is the recipe I use you definitely don’t taste the baking soda! 🙂


  11. Lisa Hightire says:

    Hi, thank you for this beautiful, special cake recipe. The pics are awesome. Why is there no salt in the recipe? Does the sponge taste bland? I want to try the recipe soon. It will be my first time working with mascarpone. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Lisa! I’m glad you loved the recipe and photographs. The sponge is a simple recipe (definitely not bland), as the mascarpone frosting is quite intense in texture and flavour. With regard to the mascarpone, the creamier the better, try not to overwork it. Happy baking! 🙂


  12. Katherine Sullivan says:

    Do you know why my espresso layers collapsed in the center? Thank you for your help.


    1. Hello Katherine,
      This could have been because of excess liquid in the addition of coffee to the batter. For best results use espresso powder, if you used coffee granules to make a syrup it could’ve been too runny. It would then require a wee bit longer in the oven, if so. If it was under baked it would then collapse in the centre once out the oven. Hope this helps 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s