Gluten Free Tiramisù


Who doesn’t like a good Tiramisù? 

Tiramisù is one of my favorite desserts. It might have something to do with it being covered in chocolate and slathered with liqueured up mascarpone. It is surprisingly easy to make at home. The big deal with Tiramisù is all the parts  – as in some assembly required. You need a good sponge cake base and since we are talking gluten-free, you want to find the best tasting stuff around. That would require making it yourself. The Madeleine recipe here is just what you want to begin the project. It works so well I don’t think I will ever consider using anything else.

I’ve made plenty of fillings for this in the past. Some of them took hours to make, others 45 bowls and 85 spatulas. Some had an ingredient list longer than me  –  and I am tall. But one of the best came from the tiny container of Bel Gioioso Mascarpone. If you could read the tiny tiny print, it was easy, took no time at all and tasted quite perfect. That is, until I discovered the recipe in Flour.  It uses (somewhat) similar ingredients but a different method that cooks the egg yolks and I much prefer my eggs cooked. I was sold.

I am sure I have mentioned that I love the Flour Bakery Book written by the talented Joanne Chang. I know I have. I love this book because it is full of recipes I want to eat (gluten-free).  This recipe is inspired by that great baking book.  You should think about getting one for your own bookshelf. In the meantime make this Tiramisù. You’ll be glad you did.

Gluten Free Tiramisù
No one would even begin to guess that this Tiramisù is gluten-free. The Madeleine made into a cake is a perfect sponge for the espresso. JB Chang's Tiramisù filling is the one for this cake, with just a few modifications. While it takes a little time, no step is too complicated at all. Since the Tiramisù is best served after sitting overnight in the big chill, it is a perfect dessert for a special occasion.
  • 115 grams unsalted butter, browned and cooled (1 stick)
  • 120 grams GF flour (about ⅔ cup) (evenly divided among superfine brown rice, superfine white rice and tapioca flour/starch)
  • 110 grams white sugar (about ½ cup)
  • 2 whole large eggs (110 grams about)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1 teaspoon Crème de Cacao Syrup (Torani)
  • 1 teaspoon Kahlúa (see notes)
Mascarpone Filling
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 50 grams sugar (1/4 cup)
  • 20 grams Kahlúa (1/8 cup)
  • 20 grams Crème de Cacao syrup (Torani) (1/8 cup)
  • 170 grams mascarpone cheese (3/4 cup)
  • 120 grams heavy cream (1/2 cup)
  • 240 grams brewed espresso (1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons Crème de Cacao Syrup or Kahlúa or a combination of both
  • 55 grams bittersweet bar chocolate, grated (almost 2 oz.)
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Measure the Tiramisù pan (I recommend a small 6 or 8 inch springform pan) and make three pencil outlines of the bottom circumference of the pan on the parchment. Turn the parchment paper over so pencil marking is facing baking sheet. The batter will need at least an hour to chill in the refrigerator so plan ahead.
  2. Brown the butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat until nutty brown and fragrant. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In a medium bowl weigh the flour and sugar. Whisk to combine. Beat the eggs in a small prep dish and mix into the flour/sugar. Using a wooden spoon keep stirring vigorously until the batter goes from clumpy stiff to something like thick pancake batter. You'll see it start to happen rather quickly. Keep mixing a little bit more.Mix in the cooled (but not solid) brown butter and incorporate. You'll have to mix vigorously for a minute and do a dance between folding and beating to get it all mixed in. Sprinkle the salt on top, and drop in the flavorings and mix again to incorporate. Cover the whole thing and pop it into the refrigerator for at least an hour. More chilling is better than less. You want it quite chilly.
  4. Preheat oven to 375. Dividing the batter in thirds, drop a full scoop of batter into the center of each pencil outline. Use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to ever so slightly flatten the scoop - just a wee bit. It will spread to the edges of your outline all by its lonesome. Bake about 13-15 minutes or just until the edges are slightly golden. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately pull the disks onto a cooling rack using a very large spatula. Let them rest until cool enough to handle and the disk feels sturdy.
Mascarpone Filling
  1. In a double boiler whisk the yolks, sugar, liqueurs/syrup and salt and simmer over medium heat until the mixture thickens like a thin custard. Think ribbons of custard. Cool rapidly stirring once in a while by placing it in the refrigerator or even better the freezer. Keep an eye on it and keep stirring so that it chills. Meantime, whip up the mascarpone and cream using the whip attachment of a mixer. It should look like soft peaked whipped cream. Once the other mixture is chilled fold the whipped mascarpone/cream into it carefully until combined well. You don't want to deflate anything. Keep that mixture chilled.
  1. Line the springform Tiramisù pan with a piece of parchment. Place the first cake disk on the bottom. You might have to trim it to fit. Mix the 2 tablespoons of Kahlúa with the brewed espresso. Brush the first round with ⅓ of the coffee mixture. You may find that poking toothpick holes in the cake helps it absorb the liquid. Use just about the entire ⅓ of the espresso though it may seem soggy at first - it won't get too soggy once it is fully assembled and chilled. Top with an even layer of Mascarpone filling. Top with ⅓ of the grated bittersweet chocolate. You should not see the filling layer at all. Top with one more cake layer and push down slightly so there the no gaps. Again, you may have to trim the cake to fit. Brush with ⅓ of the coffee mixture as you did in the bottom layer. Take your time and make sure you get it all in there - into the cake. Top that with another layer of Mascarpone filling, leaving just a little bit for the top layer. Top with ⅓ of the grated bittersweet chocolate until you cannot see the filling. Top with the last cake layer and brush as instructed above with the remaining coffee mixture. Top with the remaining Mascarpone filling. Pile a generous layer of grated chocolate on top. Cover the cake with foil and refrigerate for at least 5 hours and overnight is better. To serve, run a knife around the inside edge of the pan and release the latch. Carefully remove the springform collar and since you've lined the pan with parchment, you can use a big spatula to slide it to a cake plate if you wish. Or plate it directly from the pan to pretty little dishes.
Kahlua is a distilled liquor with coffee liquor added which has a caramel coloring added to even out the color, made from sugar, not wheat. Feel free to substitute the same amount of dark Rum (Meyer's and Captain Morgan are GF) or a coffee flavored mocha drink for Kahlua. Or when in doubt, leave it out (the alcohol). It will still taste good.


  1. oh my heavens… it’s perfect and looks divine. the last photo of the slice and a cup of coffee is the definition of my ideal afternoon treat. and i’ll definitely be checking out that cookbook too.

  2. Oh, how I wish we were neighbors! This looks absolutely delicious.

  3. Elisabeth L. says:

    I can’t wait to make this! I’m making the madeleines today, as it happens, and hopefully the fluffy biscuits this weekend.

    I was wondering if you would consider putting a “recipes” tab in the header, because it can be very challenging to find specific recipes currently.


    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Hi Elisabeth! Take a look at the header on the home page called Index, and pull down the menu. There is a tab: index by subject. It’s set up so you can look under categories, like cakes, cookies etc. Let me know if that is what you are looking for and if it makes things easier. (feedback like this is terrific, thank you!) And have fun with the madeleines, biscuits.

  4. Christine says:

    Isn’t Kaluah and creme de cacao not gluten free?

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      distilled liqueurs are generally gluten-free. but read all labels carefully and when in doubt call the company and ask.

  5. Karen Labutta says:

    Elisabeth, You are promoting your recipe as “gluten free”, giving a false sense of security to newly diagnosed celiacs who may be just beginning the steep learning curve of what is a “safe” for them to eat. The responsibility is YOURS to do your due diligence to determine the safety of your ingredients for celiac patients. Otherwise please just publish them for the general public. The problem with Kahlua is that caramel coloring (made from wheat) is added in AFTER the distillation process. Your “ho-hum” attitude is alarming.

  6. Lynn Hoffman says:

    Help….espresso comes in very small brewed amounts….to get a whole cup would take several brewings…..or is the recipi just asking for a cup of regular coffee?

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Hi Lynn. Yes, espresso does come in very small amounts when brewed. And yes, brewed espresso is best in this recipe. You want the coffee to be as strong and dark as possible, thus the espresso. But any good dark espresso bean drip will do if it is pretty strong. And yes, it’s 240 grams which is a whole cup. Hope that helps.

  7. Well this didn’t work… When I put the cake batter on the parchment and into the oven, after a few minutes it just turned into a big liquid mess. Tried again and same thing.

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      That must be frustrating. Happy to help troubleshoot. The batter should be pretty thick once mixed. Any substitutions to the ingredients or directions?

      • Only difference is I used Bob’s all-purpose GF flour blend. Could that make that much difference?

      • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

        I’m afraid it does. Bob’s flour contains beans which is not something I recommend using in baking sweets, plus other ingredients that would make the outcome of the recipe turn out differently. Even a GF AP flour with too much starch and gum would not work. All our recipes are developed and tested using the Canteen blend which is made up of superfine brown rice flour, superfine white rice flour and tapioca flour/starch. Although I highly recommend superfine flours for baking, you could use any brand of brown, white and tapioca and the recipe will work. There’s more info about that if you click on the icon About Flours. Hope that helps.

  8. I cannot get any of the torani syrup. What can I substitute?

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      try a coffee flavored drink, something bottled but check the ingredients to make sure it is gluten-free.

  9. Mine didn’t work at all! Everything went great but when I poured it on the pan after cooling, it went everywhere. Then I only baked it for two thirds of the time before all the sugar melted and began to burn.

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Hi Leslie – Sorry it didn’t turn out for you – that must have been frustrating. if you let me know what specific ingredients you used and how you prepared the batter I might be able to help troubleshoot. The batter should be thick enough after chilling that you have to spread it with a spatula to get it close to the pencil mark rings. I am not sure what you mean about all the sugar melting – it’s incorporated into the batter exactly like the Madeleine recipe. Happy to help if you want to give me more information. Lisa.

      • river pipes says:

        Hi Lisa – I’m having the same issue of spread. The batter is just as you’ve described, thick, all ingredients were exact. Butter causes a lot of spread, madeleine pans contain and let things rise.
        Do you think I could make this in a removeable bottom 6 in or 8 in cake pan and then torte? Is it truly like a sponge that way?

      • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

        yep. a cake pan will work. again, could be due to diff in flour types or chilling. It behaves like thick pancake batter and when you drop a scoop onto the parchment it should spread but because of the volume of the scoop size, it won’t spread all that far. Try using less batter in the scoop if it is very thick or chill it longer (overnight helps if your flour type is gritty – helps it absorb the liquids better). Hope that helps.

  10. My cakes aren’t turning out flat. I added some xantham gum to the flour mixture. Was this a mistake?

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Hi Mindy – the majority of our recipes are developed without using xanthan gum and yes, it can change a recipe (not all the time, but sometimes). I don’t know if it is responsible for the cakes not coming out flat but it will change this recipe.

  11. I took heed on the comments warning of it slipping and sliding and just constructed the finished cake inside a bowl – Trifle-like. It was fantastic!! My husband is severely Gluten Intolerant and requested only this for his birthday ‘cake’. Outstanding success! I will make this again w/o anthem gum, next time. Also, I found it sooo quick and easy to dump the hot water from the double boiler and replace it with ice and a little water then place the heated egg yolk mixture on the ice and stirring heat right out of the cooked mix. Faster than checking a fridge every few minutes.

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Glad you enjoyed it – a trifle tiramisu is a great idea. Love the idea of replacing the water with ice.

  12. Oh, my… one of my favourite cake ever. Thanks so much!!!


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