Have you ever had that dilemma of being torn between two desserts? You’ve only got room in your tummy for one, but you just can’t make up your mind! Well, let us introduce you to the concept of the portmanteau dessert. For something truly over the top, you could go with something like the infamous piecaken, made with two types of pie surrounded by cake. For something a bit more mainstream, there’s always good old ice cream cake. If you want something that’s elegant enough to serve at a dinner party, though, may we suggest this tiramisu cheesecake?
Recipe developer Jaime Shelbert of Wholly Nourished describes this dessert as "the perfect fusion of cheesecake and tiramisu." She goes on to explain that neither flavor overwhelms the other: "You have the richness of the cheesecake combined with fresh, whipped cream which lends the light airiness of tiramisu." As far as the flavor goes, she explains that "you still have the tanginess of cheesecake combined with a sweet espresso cream flavor [while] chocolate notes from the crust and the dusting of chocolate bar round it all out." If your taste buds are already singing, let’s get going on this easy but decadent dessert!
Gather the ingredients to make tiramisu cheesecake
This dessert starts with a cheesecake layer, the bottom crust of which is made from chocolate graham crackers, butter, and espresso powder. The cheesecake itself is made from whipping cream, mascarpone, cream cheese, and both granulated and confectioner’s sugar. Additionally, it is flavored with more espresso, Kahlua, and vanilla extract.
The tiramisu layer is made from ladyfingers, of course, and these you’ll soak in some additional espresso and Kahlua. If you want to make a non-alcoholic version, you can do so — Shelbert says to "just substitute strong brewed espresso for the Kahlúa." If you wish, you can also garnish your cheesecake with cocoa powder or grated chocolate.
Make the crumb crust for the cheesecake
Begin by melting the butter in the microwave, or in a pan on the stove top, or even using your X-ray vision if you happen to be Superman. Next, grind up those graham cracker crumbs — Shelbert used a food processor for this part. When the crumbs are crumby, add the espresso powder and pulse or stir until these two ingredients are combined.
Now, add the melted butter to the crumbs and press the mixture onto the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Use your hands or the back of a measuring cup or some similar implement to pack the crust down as firmly as you can, then put the crust into the freezer to chill for a few minutes while you prepare the cheesecake filling.
Make the cheesecake filling
Whip the cream until it reaches the stiff-peak stage — Shelbert, still using the stand mixer, says this took her about four to five minutes on medium speed. Set the whipped cream aside for a moment as you beat the mascarpone, cream cheese, and granulated sugar together for about two minutes to combine. Add the confectioner’s sugar, ¼ cup of the Kahlua, vanilla, and two teaspoons of the espresso powder to the cheese mix and beat for two more minutes. Finally, fold the whipped cream into the cheese mixture with a rubber spatula. Now, take the crust out of the freezer, and spread half of the cheesecake filling on the crust to make the first layer.
Dip the ladyfingers in espresso and stack them onto the cheesecake
Heat up a cup of water, then mix in the remaining espresso powder and Kahlua. This is the "sauce" for dipping the ladyfingers, which you will do one at a time for just two to three seconds per cookie. As Shelbert tells us, this recipe really isn’t all that difficult, but she does have one warning: "The only thing I would be careful for is over-soaking the ladyfingers. Otherwise you will have a soggy middle layer."
As you finish dipping each ladyfinger, lay it on top of the first cheesecake layer. It’s okay if you break any ladyfingers to get them to fit since they will be covered by the second cheesecake layer. In fact, once you lay out all of the ladyfingers, you can top off the tiramisu cheesecake with the remaining half of the cheesecake filling.
Chill the cheesecake before serving
Once your tiramisu cheesecake is assembled, it still won’t be ready to eat for a few more hours. Shelbert recommends freezing it for at least six hours or even overnight. Before you serve the cheesecake, you’ll need to remove the ring from the springform pan. If you wish, you can also dust some cocoa powder over the top (Shelbert says this can easily be done using a sieve) or top it with a little grated chocolate.
The result of all your efforts will be a dessert that Shelbert says "would be lovely served around the holidays." She does offer one more suggestion: "If you are a coffee lover why not double up and have a cup with this cheesecake?" We hope you enjoy this decadent tiramisu cheesecake recipe!
You get the best of both worlds with this tiramisu cheesecake recipe — decadent layers of creamy filling with an added bonus of espresso-soaked ladyfingers.
- 8 tablespoons butter, melted
- 10 chocolate graham cracker sheets
- 2 tablespoons espresso powder, divided
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
- 8 ounces mascarpone, room temperature
- 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
- ½ cup Kahlua, divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 14 ladyfinger cookies
- cocoa powder or grated chocolate for garnish
- Melt the butter in the microwave, then set aside.
- Grind the graham crackers into crumbs in a food processor. Add one teaspoon of the espresso powder to the graham crackers and pulse for a few seconds to combine. Pour the melted butter into the crumbs and process until combined.
- Cover the base of a 9-inch springform pan with the graham cracker mixture, pressing down with your hands or the back of a measuring cup to pack firmly.
- Place the crumb crust in the freezer.
- In a mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
- In a separate bowl, beat the mascarpone, cream cheese, and granulated sugar in a mixing bowl for about 2 minutes, until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
- Add the confectioner’s sugar, ¼ cup of Kahlua, vanilla, and 2 teaspoons of espresso powder to the cream cheese mixture and beat for another 2 minutes.
- Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture with a rubber spatula until combined.
- Remove the crust from the freezer and spread half the cream cheese mixture over the crust, smoothing it out to create the first layer.
- Heat 1 cup of water and whisk in the remaining espresso powder and Kahlua.
- Quickly dip each ladyfinger into the espresso mixture and layer on top of the first cheesecake layer, breaking the lady fingers to fit if necessary.
- Top the ladyfinger layer with the remaining cheesecake mixture, smoothing it out with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
- Cover the cheesecake and place it in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight.
- Remove the outer ring of the springform pan before serving.
- Top the cheesecake with a dusting of cocoa powder or some grated chocolate if desired.