Recipe: Hazelnut Tiramisu Cake

Recipe: Hazelnut Tiramisu Cake

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My friend, who is also gluten free and dairy free has been requesting I make a tiramisu dessert. Since there is no dairy free version of marscapone cheese, this recipe uses a combination of cream cheese, butter and coconut cream to create a “marscapone-style” buttercream frosting. Delicious hazelnut cake layers soaked with espresso syrup complete the dessert. It is not a quick dessert, but the results are worth the work! Enjoy!

Gluten Free Dairy Free Hazelnut Tiramisu Layer Cake


For the cake -

  • 1 1/2 C GF 1-to-1 Flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)

  • 1/3 C Hazelnut Flour

  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

  • 1/4 tsp Salt

  • 1 C Olive Oil

  • 1 C Sugar

  • 4 Large Eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper and grease.

Sift together flours, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine olive oil and sugar. Beat on medium high speed for about 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating 60 seconds between each addition. Scrape down the bowl. Turn the mixer to the lowest setting and slowly add in the flour mixture. Stir just until incorporated.

Divide batter evenly between the two cake pans.

Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out clean and tops spring back when gently poked.

Remove from oven and cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Then gently turn out the cakes to cool on a wire rack.

While the cake is baking, prepare the coffee syrup.

In a small saucepan, combine the following ingredients:

  • 1/2 C Water

  • 1/2 C Sugar

  • 1 Tbsp Espresso Powder

Stir well. Heat over medium high heat for about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Once the sugar and espresso have completely dissolved, remove from heat to cool.

The cake and syrup need to be at room temperature before assembling. If either is too warm, the cake will fall apart when made wet.

For the frosting -

  • 8 oz Vegan Cream Cheese, room temperature

  • 1 C Vegan Butter, room temperature

  • 1/4 C Coconut Cream (see note)

  • 1 1/2 C Powdered Sugar, sifted

Note: Place a can of full fat coconut milk in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. When ready to prepare the frosting, open the can and scoop out 1/4 C of the solid coconut cream. Reserve the remainder of the can for another purpose.

Place cream cheese into a large bowl. Using a spoon, begin to soften the cream cheese. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium high speed for about 2 minutes. Cut the butter into cubes and add about 1/4 of the butter at a time beating for about 60 seconds between each addition. Then add in the coconut cream. Once the three are combined, turn your mixer to medium high and beat for 5 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the bowl. The mixture should get fluffy.

Add the sifted powdered sugar 1/2 C at a time, beating between each mixture. Reserve 2 C of the frosting for the decorative topping.

Assemble the cake as follows:

  1. Place a dollop of frosting on your plate of cake stand.

  2. Place the first cake topside down onto the cake plate. Press down gently to stick it to the buttercream.

  3. Brush away and excess crumbs with a pastry brush.

  4. Using a second pastry brush, spread about 1/3 of the coffee syrup over the first layer of cake.

  5. Put a generous dollop of frosting over the soaked cake (about 1/3 of the non-reserved butter cream). Spread it with an offset spatula until it’s an even layer.

  6. Place the second cake, topside down.

  7. Brush away excess crumbs with a pastry brush.

  8. Using a pastry brush, spread another 1/3 of the coffee syrup over the second layer of cake.

  9. Put the remaining buttercream in a pile on top of the cake. Working a little at a time, draw from the pile on top of the cake to frost the sides. It does not need to be a thick layer.

  10. Spread the frosting over the top of the cake.

  11. Neaten the sides and top until smooth. Then place the cake into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This will be your crumb coat.

  12. While the cake is chilling, mix the 2C reserved buttercream with 1 Tbsp of the remaining coffee syrup. Beat together until well combined.

  13. Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Cover the whole cake with a thin layer of the fresh frosting (this should take about 1 C). Use the remaining 1 C frosting to pipe a decoration on top.

  14. Sprinkle the top of the cake with cocoa powder.

Here is a great youtube video about doing a crumb coat.

Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature 1 hour before serving.

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