Vanilla and Crunchy Dark Chocolate Tiramisù

April 11, 2021

This is my version of the very well known creamy mascarpone Italian dessert inspired by the Venetian pasticceria Tonolo. Tiramisù in Venice is very often sold in small and very neat bite size single portions, but at the same time they are generous enough for a little pick me up. Pasticceria Tonolo, apart from swapping savoiardi biscuits with thin slices of a sponge cake, adds another layer of crunchy dark chocolate, which makes all the individual components come together beautifully.

In this recipe the mascarpone cream is slightly more dense than in my other version of tiramisù (click here for recipe) which allows serving individual slices of this dessert, the same way as it is often done here in Venice.

If you would like to turn the mascarpone filling into a more airy and voluminous cream add an extra egg or two. 

For the sponge cake:

  • 3 eggs, separated 
  • 80 g of plain flour, sifted
  • 80 g of fine sugar
  • half a teaspoon of baking powder
  • a pinch of salt

For the mascarpone cream:

  • 500 g of fresh mascarpone
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 100-110 g of sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod, cut lengthways and the seeds scraped out
  • 150-200 ml of cream
  • 200-250 ml of strong coffee (I make it in a moka pot), cooled
  • 4-6 tablespoons of rum (optional)
  • 60 g of dark chocolate 70%, chopped into thin long slivers or shaved
  • cocoa powder for decoration

Start with preparing the sponge cake.

In a large bowl or in a mixer whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they start to form soft peaks.

Gradually start adding the sugar whisking all the while until the sugar fully dissolves.

Next add the egg yolks and whisk until obtaining a homogenous yellow mixture.

Now add in stages the sifted flour as well as the baking powder and fold it gently making sure there are no lumps.

Line a baking tray or a ovenproof dish (I used 24x18cm) with baking parchment and bake in a preheated oven to 170-180 C (non fan assisted oven) for about 30-35 minutes.

Take the sponge cake out from the oven and leave to cool down completely. 

Take the baking parchment off and discard it.

With a thin long knife cut the cake horizontally into two thin sheets. Don’t worry if they are not of an exactly even thickness or if they break during cutting. It will come beautifully together while assembling the tiramisù.


Make the mascarpone cream:

In a large bowl whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until pale.

Add the mascarpone and whisk until well combined. Pour in the cream, add the vanilla seeds and give it another good stir.

Whisk the egg whites until they start forming soft peaks. Now gradually and gently fold them into the mascarpone mixture.


To assemble the tiramisù:

Line the bottom of a dish (preferably the same one you used for baking) with one layer of the sponge cake.

Mix the coffee with rum and slowly spoon half of the quantity over the bottom layer of the cake. In case you see any yellow areas that need more coffee, make sure to moisten them with more coffee mix.

Spoon half of the mascarpone mixture on top of the prepared base, even out the surface and sprinkle evenly the grated chocolate on top (you can add more of it if you would like to). 

Now place the second layer of the sponge cake on the chocolate layer and repeat the process with the coffee and rum mix.

Finally spread the remaining mascarpone cream on top, even out the surface and decorate by sifting the cocoa powder directly on top. I like to decorate it with some extra dark chocolate as well.

Leave in the fridge to set for a minimum of one hour and enjoy it as fresh as possible for the best results.