Cakes, Desserts

Tiramisu Layer Cake

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Also known as Mystery Murder cake because I made this especially to take to my friend Heather’s house who hosted a How to Host a Murder night.  64185_2740071101657_1253806579_31973189_464162033_n

Beyond my expectations of fun, she decorated her dining room to go along with the theme of the game and four hours later, with bellies full of chicken parmesan and this cake, we revealed who the murderer was. 

I chose this cake from Allrecipes because the prep looked easy, the ingredients were common and I didn’t want to have to buy a fancy dish for traditional tiramisu.  As I prepared the batter I read the reviews and so many people commented that they added extra instant coffee to enhance the flavor.  One reviewer said he increased the instant coffee by four times so that was what I intended to do, but wound up misreading the measurement and instead of four teaspoons, added four tablespoons instead.  Too late to make another trip to the store, I just blended it into the batter hoping it would add to the cake rather than make it inedible.  I also halved the amount of liqueur in both the filling and the frosting in hopes that the cake wouldn’t be overwhelmingly coffee-tasting.  The recipe below is exactly as I prepped it.  It turned out better than I had hoped, the coffee flavor was exactly like I hoped it would be and my “oops” will be how I make this the next time.



  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package moist white cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Classic White; it calls for egg whites)
  • 4 Tablespoons instant coffee powder
  • 1/2 cup coffee
  • 1 tablespoon coffee-flavored liqueur


  • 1 (8 ounce) container mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoons coffee flavored liqueur


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoons coffee flavored liqueur


  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 square Ghirardelli Intense Dark Midnight Reverie 86% cacao (this can be found down the candy aisle as a bag of individually wrapped chocolates)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

  1. Grease and flour 3 (9 inch) pans.
  2. Prepare the cake mix according to package directions. Pour one-third of batter into one pan. Stir instant coffee into remaining batter; pour into remaining two pans.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
  4. In a measuring cup, combine brewed coffee and 1 tablespoon coffee liqueur; set aside.
  5. To make the filling: In a small bowl, using an electric mixer set on low speed, combine mascarpone, 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar and 1 tablespoon coffee liqueur; beat just until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  6. To make the frosting: In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium-high speed, beat the cream, 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar and 1 tablespoon1 coffee liqueur until stiff. Fold 1/2 cup of cream mixture into filling mixture.
  7. To assemble the cake: Place one coffee-flavored cake layer on a serving plate. Using a thin skewer, poke holes in the cake, about 1 inch apart. With a turkey baster slowly “baste” one-third of coffee mixture over cake, then spread with half of the filling mixture. Top with plain cake layer; poke holes in cake. Squeeze another third of the coffee mixture over the second layer and spread with the remaining filling. Top with remaining cake layer; poke holes in cake.  Squeeze remaining coffee mixture on top. Spread sides and top of cake with frosting. Place cocoa in a sieve and lightly dust top of the cake. Garnish with chocolate curls. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.
  8. To make the chocolate curls, use a vegetable peeler and run it down the edge of the chocolate bar.

1 thought on “Tiramisu Layer Cake”

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