Tiramisu Cupcakes

I know Tiramisu has been having a serious moment on social media and here on BB but I mean who’s complaining, you can have your coffee and eat it too lol. Seriously, these cupcakes are up there for me. I love anything with coffee though. 

Why I love these Tiramisu cupcakes

  • They’re fairly simple to make, not complicated but they do require a little accuracy. 
  • The vanilla cupcakes are super light, fluffy, moist and tender…all of the above but then soaked in delicious espresso.  
  • They’re perfectly puffed, not too domed and not flimsy and flat and then topped with a stable mascarpone whipped cream and dusted with a very generous amount of cocoa powder.  

If you’re also a coffee lover, you’ll love my vanilla latte cupcakes, mocha cake, opera cake and caramel macchiato ice cream. I also have a bunch of tiramisu recipes – classic tiramisu, a tiramisu cake, a tiramisu latte!

Ingredients for Tiramisu cupcakes

  • Butter: I prefer salted butter here but you can also use unsalted butter. Make sure it’s softened to room temperature so it creams well with the dry ingredients. 
  • Flour: I use all purpose flour in most of my recipes BUT you cannot beat the texture of cake flour in cupcakes so I highly recommend King Arthur’s Cake Flour. It is far superior to some alternatives in the grocery stores.
    • I have used the “homemade cake flour” trick by replacing 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour with cornstarch. The cupcakes will work if you make them this way but they won’t be quite as soft and tender. 
    • I HIGHLY recommend using a digital scale, as flour is so often over measured. 
  • Baking Powder: to leaven the cupcakes. 
  • Sugar: I used granulated sugar and I don’t recommend cutting any out.  
  • Oil: I always use a combination of butter and oil in my cakes because I like the texture from both. I recommend a neutral oil like vegetable oil, canola oil or sunflower oil here. 
  • Eggs: In the original recipe, I used two large egg whites to keep these cupcakes as pale as possible. I wanted that for aesthetic purposes because I wanted white cupcakes to decorate. However, for this recipe I went with one large egg to eliminate the waste of yolks. The color is still pretty pale but slightly more yellow. Both options work well. 
  • Sour Cream: I’ve used greek yogurt and sour cream in this recipe and they both work well. You can also use plain yogurt. However, if you sub the sour cream for extra milk, the cupcakes might shrivel up a little when cooling. 
  • Milk: I use whole milk or two percent but any milk will work here, even dairy free. 
  • Vanilla: vanilla is a subtle flavor so when I want it to stand out, I do double vanilla. I did extract for the cupcakes but then either vanilla bean paste or real vanilla beans for the cream. 
  • Espresso: There’s nothing like freshly brewed espresso in my opinion but I do have options for you! I love my tiramisu STRONG – I used 2 double shots of espresso (my Breville makes a double shot so I draw 2x and don’t dilute it with extra water). My total was about ½ cup of espresso so I did 1-2 Tbsp on each cupcake.
    • If I didn’t have an espresso machine, I would probably order some freshly brewed espresso from my local coffee shop to make this OR I would make a really strong cup of brewed coffee.
    • Coffee: this works with brewed coffee as well but personally I find it to be a little watered down so I recommend brewing a STRONG cup of coffee. You could also add a little coffee liqueur or amaretto for some flavor as well but I usually don’t. 
    • Espresso Powder: this also works but it really isn’t quite the same. I would do 8-10 grams of espresso powder in 4 ounces of hot water (let it cool).
  • Mascarpone: I tested this with different brands of mascarpone, they all worked however, some of the mascarpone’s held a little more water than others. My favorite was BelGioioso Mascarpone but if you find something with an even higher fat content, use that. The cheese should be smooth and creamy (not wet and certainly not like cottage cheese or ricotta).
    • If you use another brand and you see water in it (usually at the bottom) , drain the cheese to avoid adding extra liquid to the cream but I recommend just finding a mascarpone with a thicker consistency.
    • Make sure the mascarpone is cold, straight from the fridge when using.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream: I recommend using the cream with the highest fat you can find and make sure it’s cold when adding it to the mascarpone.
    • When you do add it in, you’ll notice the frosting getting softer first, just keep beating at full speed for a few minutes and the cream will “whip up”, stiffening the frosting. Once it’s holding good peaks, stop beating so you don’t over-whip the cream. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

Vanilla Cupcakes

  1. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt until they’re evenly distributed.
  2. Add the room temperature butter and the oil and use an electric mixer to beat them at medium, until they’re crumbly like a streusel. 
  3. Add the egg and mix just until it’s well combined and the batter looks like paste.
  4. Add the sour cream and turn the mixer to low speed while streaming in the milk.
  5. Scrape the edge of the bowl and give it a good mix. Fill the cupcake liners about ⅔-¾ full. I recommend weighing them so each cupcake has 50-55 grams of batter.  
  6. Bake for 16-18 minutes, until the tallest part of the cupcake, in the center, springs back when you press on it. If you’re hesitant, give it another minute or so.
  7. Let the cupcakes rest for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove them from the pan. 
  8. Use a fork to poke holes in the top of each cupcake and drizzle 1-2 Tbsp of cooled espresso onto each cupcake. 

Mascarpone Frosting

  1. Beat together the cold mascarpone with the powdered sugar until it’s completely smooth.
  2. Add the vanilla bean paste and turn the mixer to medium speed. 
  3. Stream in the cold heavy whipping cream in 3-4 increments, stopping to scrape the edge of the bowl each time.
  4. Once all the heavy whipping cream is added, it may seem soft so turn the mixer up to full speed and it should thicken and hold peaks within a couple of minutes. Don’t over-beat once you’ve reached this stage.
  5. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes and dust the tops with cocoa powder. 

Why do I use the reverse creaming method?

The reverse creaming method is where you combine all the dry ingredients including the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, etc. with the butter and oil first. In this step the butter and oil are coating the flour particles. When the flour is coated with fat first, it inhibits the development of gluten, making the cupcakes extra tender (over developing the gluten is what can make cakes tough). 

This also provides a ‘tight’ crumb which means you should have large air pockets in the crumb of the cake. The lack of the large air pockets helps the cupcakes rise more evenly so that they’re not lopsided and don’t deflate when you remove them from the oven. 

Expert tips on getting perfect tiramisu cupcakes

There’s a few things that can make it or break it with these cupcakes. 

  • Don’t swap ingredients unless I mentioned them in the ingredient section above.
  • Don’t reduce the sugar. I know a lot of people do that for some recipes but not this one.
  • Weigh your ingredients with a digital scale 
  • Weigh the batter for each cupcake with a digital scale. I just place the cupcake pan on the scale with the liners and measure out 50-55 grams for each cupcake. You will have enough batter for about half a cupcake leftover. DO NOT BE TEMPTED to distribute that among the cupcakes, they will sink if they’re overfilled. 
  • Use a light colored stainless steel muffin tin. 
  • Fresh espresso is the best and make sure everything is cooled when you soak the cupcakes.
  • Make sure the mascarpone and heavy cream are cold before making the frosting.
  • The cocoa powder sets into the frosting rather quickly so if you want it to look fresh, dust it fresh before serving. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use all-purpose flour?

I have used the “homemade cake flour” trick by replacing 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour with cornstarch. The cupcakes will work if you make them this way but they won’t be quite as soft and tender. 
I HIGHLY recommend using a digital scale, as flour is so often over measured. 

Can I make this ahead of time?

This cake holds on to moisture really well so you can make it 1-2 days in advance before serving. 

What if I only have one pan?

If you only have one muffin pan, the batter for the 13th cupcake can just wait on the counter until the first 12 are done baking. 

How do I know when it’s done baking?

Just like all the rest of my cakes, I test if it’s done baking by pressing gently on the tallest part of the cake. The cake will spring back if it’s done baking. If it stays indented, give it a few minutes in the oven, before testing again. 

Can I use this as a tiramisu cake recipe?

I have not tested this cupcake recipe as a cake recipe because I have so many cake recipes lol. This recipe was made to slightly dome and my vanilla cake recipe was made to bake more flat. I also have a white cake recipe that’s more similar in flavor and texture to this one so I would just soak one of those in espresso and use this frosting.
HOWEVER I have an actual tiramisu cake recipe posted that uses the same sponge that lady fingers are made of. That cake is much spongier so if you prefer the texture of these cupcakes, then use one of my vanilla cake recipe and follow the same process.

How to store these tiramisu cupcakes

These definitely need to be refrigerated so I recommend placing them in an airtight container and refrigerate them for 4-5 days. Freeze if it’s any longer than that. 

To freeze the cupcakes, place them in an airtight container and then place the container in a freezer bag, squeezing out all the excess air. Bring them back to room temperature by thawing at room temperature for a few hours before serving. 

Thanks so much for reading today’s post, if you have any questions just comment down below. Make sure to leave it in the comment section because I can’t answer in the rating section.

If you make these tiramisu cupcakes, I’d love it if you left a star rating for me. If it’s less than five stars, please leave a comment with the rating so I know why! 🙂

As always, have a blessed day and happy baking!

Love, B

tiramisu cupcake with a bite taken out

Tiramisu Cupcakes

Bernice Baran
Super moist and tender vanilla cupcakes soaked in espresso and frosted with fluffy mascarpone cream topped with a generous dusting of cocoa powder.
4.34 from 3 votes
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 33 minutes
Course Cupcakes
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 13 cupcakes
Calories 372 kcal

Ingredients
  

Vanilla Cupcakes

  • 172 grams (1 1/2 cups) cake flour spooned and leveled
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 200 grams (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 60 mL (1/4 cup) canola oil
  • 56 grams (1/4 cup) unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 large egg 60g, room temperature (or 2 large egg whites if you want whiter cupcakes)
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 113 grams (1/2 cup) sour cream
  • 80 mL (1/3 cup) whole milk room temperature
  • 120 mL (1/2 cup/4 oz) espresso room temperature

Mascarpone

  • 8 ounces (1 small tub) mascarpone cheese, cold (I recommend Belgioioso)**
  • 120 grams (1 cup) powdered sugar spooned and leveled
  • 180 mL (3/4 cup/6 oz) heavy whipping cream cold
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • tiny pinch of fine sea salt
  • Cocoa powder for dusting I used dutch

Instructions
 

Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 350F/177C convection (325F/163C conventional) and line 13 muffin tins with cupcake liners (preferably a light colored pan).
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, salt and sugar until they're evenly distributed (whisk well).
    172 grams (1 1/2 cups) cake flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp fine sea salt, 200 grams (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • Add the oil and butter to the dry ingredients and beat together until they're combined.
    60 mL (1/4 cup) canola oil, 56 grams (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • Add the egg and vanilla extract and paste and mix until they're fully combined.
    1 large egg, 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • Add the sour cream and turn the mixer to low speed, while streaming the milk in. Scrape the edge of the bowl and mix just until the cupcake batter is smooth.
    113 grams (1/2 cup) sour cream, 80 mL (1/3 cup) whole milk
  • Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3-3/4 full, about 50-55 grams of batter per cupcake.* You will have enough batter for about half a cupcake leftover. DO NOT BE TEMPTED to distribute that among the cupcakes, they will sink if they’re overfilled.
  • Bake for 16-18 minutes. They are done when you press on the center of the cupcake and it springs back or when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Remove them from the oven and let them cool in the cupcake pan for 10 minutes, then move them to a cooling rack. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before soaking.
  • Poke holes into the tops of the cupcakes and brush them each with about 1/2-1 Tbsp of the espresso.
    120 mL (1/2 cup/4 oz) espresso

Mascarpone Cream

  • Place the cold mascarpone into the bowl of a stand mixer (or just a large bowl with a hand mixer) with the powdered sugar and salt.
    8 ounces (1 small tub) mascarpone cheese, cold (I recommend Belgioioso)**, 120 grams (1 cup) powdered sugar, tiny pinch of fine sea salt
  • Beat at low-medium speed until they’re combined and then increase the speed to medium-high for 1-2 minutes, scraping the edge of the bowl halfway through.
  • Add the vanilla and the cold heavy whipping cream in 3-4 increments, mixing well between each addition.
    180 mL (3/4 cup/6 oz) heavy whipping cream, 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • After adding all the heavy whipping cream, the cream may look soft, turn the mixer up to full speed for 1-2 more minutes and it should stiffen up (like whipped cream does).
  • Use a piping bag fit with a large round piping tip to frost the cupcakes. Use a small spoon or small offset spatula to create a little swirl on top and dust with cocoa powder.
    Cocoa powder for dusting

Notes

  • *I weigh 55g of batter for each cupcake. If it's less, they'll be short and if it's too much, they may sink.
  • The vanilla cupcake recipe was designed to stay pale so don't look for a golden brown color when it's finished baking. Just gently press on the cake and it should spring back.
  • I recommend a light colored metal cupcake pan if you want them more uniform in color.
  • Store in an airtight container, at room temperature for 2-3 days or refrigerated for 7-10 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 372kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 4gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 120mgPotassium: 64mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 26gVitamin A: 642IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 83mgIron: 0.3mg
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