Tiramisu Charlotte Cake (no liqueur, less coffee) Recipe

For my Dad’s recent birthday, I had wanted to make a durian cake for him since durian is his favourite fruit. But due to the hazy weather earlier alongside with the presence of the unwelcomed flu bug at home, I had to change the durian cake to a Tiramisu Charlotte Cake which is less ‘heaty’ compared to durian.

This cake was specially customized so it contained no alcohol and less coffee per the old folks’ preferences. I thought the taste of tiramisu would be different without these essential ingredients but to my delight, it still turned out good. So for those who doesn’t drink alcohol or doesn’t like the bitter taste of coffee, you can give this cake a try. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed =)

Tiramisu Charlotte Cake



Coffee syrup:
2 tbsps instant coffee powder (I use Nescafe brand)
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup hot water

Tiramisu filling:
250g mascarpone cheese
1.5 tsps vanilla essence
3 tbsps icing sugar
200ml whipping cream

36 sponge fingers (I use Saviordi brand of ladyfingers)
1 bar 100g dark chocolate (I use Lindt brand)
1 bar 100g white chocolate (I use Lindt brand)
cocoa powder for dusting
fresh cherries or other berries of your choice for decoration

1. Dissolve the instant coffee powder and sugar in hot water. Set aside to cool.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the mascarpone cheese, icing sugar and vanilla essence till well combined.
3. Using an electric mixer, whisk the whipping cream to a soft peak. Do not over-whip till stiff.
4. Using a spatula, gradually fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone cheese mixture.
5. Start assembling your cake by lining dry sponge fingers around the side of a 8″ springform cake pan. You will have to trim the sponge fingers on one end so each finger measures approx. 3″ in length. Reserve the small pieces.
6. Gently dip sponge fingers in the coffee syrup and line them on the base of the cake pan. Use the smaller pieces to fill up the gaps. (see picture below)


7. Spoon in a third of the mascarpone mixture and spread evenly. Grate some white and dark chocolate over the filling. Repeat with one more layer of coffee-dipped sponge fingers and half of the balance filling. Grate more chocolate over the filling. Finish with the last layer of coffee-dipped sponge fingers and all of the remaining filling. Spread the top evenly and dust with cocoa powder.
8. Decorate with a generous serving of dark and white chocolate shavings and cherries and refrigerate overnight for best results.

My Dad loves bright red as the Chinese believes it’s a very lucky and auspicious colour so I bought red fabric ribbon and tied it around the cake as well as on the knife for cutting the cake. You can use any colour you like! Be creative!

Just remember when you’re dipping the sponge fingers in the coffee syrup, do it within 2 seconds as it absorbs liquid very fast and you wouldn’t want to end up with an overly mushy cake. Also, the overnight refrigeration of the cake helped set the cake in shape so when you remove the pan, the cake can sit upright properly.

As I didn’t add any coffee in the mascarpone mixture, I was more generous with the chocolate shavings so it gave the cake a slightly more chocolatey sweet taste yet not overpowering the original coffee fragrance.


The cake was delightfully moist and tasty. Easy on the taste buds as it’s not sinfully sweet. Best of all, no baking required so it’s quite easy to make.


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