Vegan Tiramisu Cake (no nuts or tofu!)

Imagine the much-loved Italian dessert in small-batch layer cake form, and this Vegan Tiramisu Cake is it. A soft and fluffy vanilla sponge soaked with coffee syrup layered with whipped cream and cocoa powder.

For my birthday this year, I wanted to make something celebratory yet simple, minimalist and something that everyone will love. I thought about chocolate cakes, lemon cakes and berry flavoured layer cakes, but one that I kept coming back to was Tiramisu. I have loved playing around with tiramisu flavoured desserts over the last few months (the Gingerbread one and Black Forest Gateau ones are personal highlights) although for this cake, I kept it simple and stuck to the key tiramisu components: light sponge, coffee syrup and cream.

A slice of Vegan Tiramisu Cake on the cake stand
Vegan Tiramisu Cake (no nuts or tofu!)

Why will I love this cake?

This cake is a showstopper, it is:

  • Light, fluffy and tender
  • Slightly sweet with notes of vanilla and caramel
  • Soaked with a simple coffee syrup
  • Spread and topped with fluffy vegan whipped cream
  • Naturally egg-free, dairy-free and fully vegan
  • Easily gluten-free and nut-free
  • The sponge only needs 7 basic ingredients
  • Can be made with alcohol
  • Quick and easy to make
  • Nostalgic yet elegant and fun
  • Great for parties and celebrations

If you already love this coffee-soaked cake, then skip ahead to the recipe card below. Or, first let’s discuss the recipe in more detail.

What ingredients do I need?

The base of this cake, is a simple sponge cake and I have linked to my favourite ingredients below the recipe card.

For the cake we need:

  • Plant-based milk: you can use any milk you like, I prefer oat or almond, but soya, coconut (from the carton) or rice will all be great.
  • Apple cider vinegar: this is for curdling the milk to create a dairy-free buttermilk which binds this egg-free cake.
  • Coconut sugar: this adds sweetness and the rich caramel flavour. You can use golden or regular caster sugar, although note that the sponges will be lighter in colour and flavour.
  • Thick coconut yoghurt: I love baking with yoghurt as it adds moisture, healthy fats and great texture to the cake. Make sure it is thick and creamy Greek-style or Skyr-style yoghurt like the Cocos Organic natural or vanilla yoghurts.
  • Light olive oil: for richness, moisture and fat. This makes the most delicious sponge cake without the need for butter. You can swap this for coconut oil (melted) if you prefer or sunflower oil.
  • Self-raising flour: for the rise and to create a light, fluffy sponge. You can use a gluten-free self-raising flour blend as long as it contains xanthan gum to help bind the batter.
  • Vegan vanilla protein powder: this adds so much wonderful vanilla sweetness and flavour to the cake. I love baking with Macromike protein powders, and you can save 10% off everything with my code AMB-AMY. I do recommend using protein powder, although you can swap for more flour, if you prefer, although you may need less liquid or more flour as protein powders absorb more liquid than flour does.
  • Raising agents and salt: for the rise and flavour.

As for the filling and topping:

  • Coffee: use freshly brewed espresso or strong coffee for the soak. You can use decaf if you prefer.
  • Coconut sugar: to make a quick and simple sugar syrup (trust me, it elevates the sponge so much adding the sugar), stir the sugar into the hot coffee. You can use any sugar, as above.
  • Amaretto or marsala wine: to keep this traditional, you can add some alcohol to the coffee soak but it is just as delicious without out, and more often than not, I make this cake alcohol-free.
  • Coconut whipping cream: for the best flavour, which is naturally sweet without being overly coconutty, I use the Natures Charm whipping coconut cream. It doesn’t require you to add any thickeners or sugars, but is so easy. Tip the chilled contents of the tin into a bowl and beat for 2-3 minutes till fluffy. It’s also quite sturdy so holds the cake shape well. You can use other whipping creams, and see below for more filling options.
  • Vanilla essence: for adding some flavour to the cream.
  • Cocoa powder: for dusting between the cakes and on top. This makes this cake very traditionally Italian.

How do I make this?

Like most of my cakes, the method is one-bowl:

  • Whisk together the milk and apple cider vinegar: to make the buttermilk and leave for 5 minutes to curdle.
  • Whisk in all of the dry ingredients: until fully combined.
  • Sift in the dry ingredients: and whisk till smooth.
  • Divide equally between two tins and bake: till fluffy, golden and delicious.
  • Cool for 10 minutes then lift out the tins to cool fully: they must be cool before moving on.
  • Make the coffee soak: stir together the ingredients.
  • Poke fork holes in the cakes and brush over the coffee: and leave for 1 hour in the fridge to soak in.
  • Whip up the cream: and prepare the cocoa powder (pour into a mini sieve).
  • Place one cake on a plate and spread with some cream: and dust with cocoa powder.
  • Sandwich together with the second cake: and pipe or spread over the rest of the cream.
  • Dust with cocoa powder: and enjoy straight away.

Is this gluten-free and nut-free?

This is easily gluten-free, as long as you use gluten-free self-raising flour that contains a thickener or binding agents like xanthan gum. IN the U.K. Doves Freee Foods has a good one or Bob’s Red Mill GF blend for US-based bakers.

How long will this last?

This didn’t last the afternoon in my house, but you can keep it for 2-3 days in a sealed container in the fridge. You can freeze the cakes before the coffee soak for 1 month, wrapped well, and allow to defrost before continuing.

Can I use other frostings and fillings?

If you want to try other fillings and frostings:

A slice of Vegan Tiramisu Cake upright on a small plate
Vegan Tiramisu Cake (no nuts or tofu!)

What else can I make?

If you are looking for more cakes to celebrate, how about my:

The top of a Vegan Tiramisu Cake with two slices removed

Vegan Tiramisu Cake (no nuts or tofu!)

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Imagine the much-loved Italian dessert in small-batch layer cake form, and this Vegan Tiramisu Cake is it. A soft and fluffy vanilla sponge soaked with coffee syrup layered with whipped cream and cocoa powder.


For the Cakes:

  • 200ml plant-based milk
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 80g coconut sugar
  • 50g thick coconut yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) light olive oil
  • 180g self-raising flour
  • 30g vegan vanilla protein powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • A pinch of salt

For the Coffee Soak:

  • 1 shot espresso (about 30ml) + 1-2 tbsp water (or 45-60ml brewed strong coffee)
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp amaretto or Italian marsala wine, optional

For the Filling and Topping:

  • 1 x 400ml tin coconut whipping cream (or 250ml whippable dairy-free cream)
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder


  1. Preheat the oven to 160Fan/180ºC and line two 6-inch cake tins with parchment paper.
  2. For the cakes: stir together the milk and apple cider vinegar in a large bowl. Leave for 5 minutes to curdle before pouring in the sugar, yoghurt, oil and vanilla essence. Whisk till smooth. Sift in the flour, protein powder, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder and add the salt. Salt to a smooth, thick batter.
  3. To bake: divide the batter equally between the two tins and smooth over the tops. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until golden, risen and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  4. To cool: leave in the tins for 10 minutes then carefully remove from the tins to cool fully on a wire rack.
  5. Prepare the coffee soak: brew the coffee and add the water, sugar and amaretto, if using (you need about 45-60 ml liquid in total).
  6. For the soak: carefully slice the top rounds of the cakes if they have domed, so you have a flatter surface. Use a fork to poke holes in both cakes and then brush on the coffee mix. Cover loosely and chill in the fridge for 1 hour (this helps the coffee to infuse and the cake to set).
  7. For the filling: whip the cream until really fluffy and light, adding the vanilla halfway through.
  8. To serve: place one cake on a serving plate the spread over half of the cream. Dust with cocoa powder and then top with the second cake. Either spread on the rest of the cream, or transfer it to a piping bag with a round nozzle and pipe on cream over the top. You may not need all of the cream. Dust with cocoa powder and slice to serve.
  9. To store: eat straight away or cover and keep in a sealed container in the fridge for 2-3 days. you can freeze the unfrosted sponge cakes for 1 month, wrapped well, and allow to defrost before decorating.

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Stay in touch

I look forward to hearing what you think of this Vegan Tiramisu Cake so please let me know in the comments below and leave a star review above. If you do make this cake, I’d love to see so please tag me, I’m @nourishing.amy on Instagram and use the hashtag #nourishingamy. I’m also on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest  – please say hello!

With birthday cake love x

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