Berry Tiramisu: Pick up some fresh berries, this cake awaits!

When summer arrives in New England and the time comes to pick your own berries, it becomes an all-day event, akin to the family trip to the seashore, or a jaunt to the town Founder’s Day picnic.

Sunscreen and bug spray? Check. Water bottles and berry baskets? Check. Bright shirts with long sleeves to stay protected, most often pre-spotted with berry juice from picking trips past. A shady hat, comfy shoes, and we’re headed off to the fields before the sun is over the yardarm.

Just as in the classic children’s book Blueberries for Sal, the ka-plink, ka-plank, ka-plunk of the berries in the bottom of the pail is deeply satisfying. Blueberries make a twang, strawberries make a rounder thunk, while juicy blackberries and raspberries make hardly any sound at all.

Before too long the urge to sample “just one” gets the better of you, and you indulge in sneaking a nibble here and a nosh there. Lips and fingertips turn vivid red and purple-blue, giving away your secrets.

Buckets full, you weigh out and pay your fees, loading your goodies into the car. On the way home you scratch a few bites and talk about what treat you’ll be making first. You’ll be happily tired and in need of a bit of a pick-me-up. Nothing will fit the bill quite like our delightful Berry Tiramisu.

A departure from the classic coffee-infused dish from Italy, our Berry Tiramisu features bright citrus flavors to offset the sweetness of your berries, and is so light it won’t weigh you down. Even better, the mixing and baking times are short, keeping you out of the kitchen and on the porch enjoying the sun and fun of the season.

So, wash up and let’s get started.

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1. Prepare your oven and pans

Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease and line with parchment two 9″ square pans. If you only have round pans, you can use two 9″ rounds. The layers will be slightly thicker and will take a few extra minutes of baking time.

2. Make your cake batter

Beat together:

6 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

The key to getting a light and airy sponge cake is to whip the eggs for several minutes to incorporate air and emulsify the egg’s water and fats. The batter will thicken and turn pale yellow. It’ll drop from the beater in a thicker stream, instead of a thin trickle like water or juice.

In a separate small bowl combine:

1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoons salt

Whisk to make sure there are no lumps of flour or baking powder.

Sprinkle 1/3 of the dry mix over the surface of the whipped eggs, and gently whisk it in. Repeat twice more, using about 1/3 of the dry mix each time. The batter will thicken even more, and begin to look bubbly and a bit more like a sturdy foam.

3. Bake and cool the cake

Spread the batter into the prepared pans and bake for about 20 to 23 minutes. The cake will color slightly on top and begin to pull away from the sides of the pan when it’s done.

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Learn from my mistake and place your cake on your serving platter before brushing with syrup. A moist, tender cake is hard to move.

Remove the cake from the oven and run a knife around the edge of the pan while it’s still warm.
Place the cake on a rack to cool completely before taking it out of the pan.

4. Prepare the soaking syrup and brush the cake

In a small saucepan over medium heat, simmer:

zest (peel) of 2 lemons, peeled in strips with a peeler
juice of 2 lemons (1/3 to 1/2 cup lemon juice)
2 whole cloves (or a pinch of ground clove)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier or fresh orange juice (if you use an orange, save the grated peel for the filling).

When the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is clear, strain it and set it aside to cool while you prepare the filling.

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5. Make the filling

In a large bowl, combine 1 pound mascarpone cheese and 2 tablespoons freshly grated orange peel (zest). The citrus flavors are going to play beautifully with whichever berry you choose to use in your tiramisu.

Gradually pour and fold in 1 cup of heavy or whipping cream (unwhipped)  until the mixture is smooth. Finally, for sweetness, stir in 1/2 cup of confectioners’ sugar.

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6. Build the cake

Place one cake layer down on your serving platter. Use a pastry brush to coat the cake with some of the syrup. Brush, then allow a few minutes for it to soak in. Reserve half of the syrup for the second layer. You remembered and moved the cake off the rack before soaking, right?

Place one quart of the sliced berries of your choice (single variety, or a combination) on the cake. Strawberries are a classic but blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are all excellent.

Dollop about half of the filling evenly over the berries. I like to fill the four corners, and then place some filling in the middle. You can then spread the mounds to meet each other, and create one layer.

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It’s hard to resist stopping here and eating the whole thing, but try to hold off just a bit. Believe me, it’s worth it.

Place the second layer of cake onto the cream, and repeat the soaking process with the second half of the syrup. Add the remaining cream filling;  and finally another layer of berries.

If you prefer, you can divide the cake into serving portions and top each with an individual sliced berry, rather than garnish the entire top.

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Chill the cake for at least an hour (up to overnight) before serving. This dish is best served within a day of making it; after that your cake can tend to get a little soggy.

You can make your filling and syrup two to three days ahead of time, if you wish. Then just assemble the day you plan to serve, and you’ll have a sumptuous dessert with very little effort.

Best berry tidings of summer, from our kitchen to yours.

Please bake, rate, and review our recipe for Berry Tiramisu.

Print just the recipe.

MaryJane Robbins
About

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...

comments

  1. Sandy in SC

    This is really easy and delicious. Like a Chantilly cake more than tiramisu in my opinion but scrumptious! Yes, you must have the cake on/in its serving dish before adding the syrup because it will be too moist to move without breaking. I used a lipped serving platter to capture any dripping syrup. Pretty and tasty! Another KA win!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      If you’d like to use a half sheet pan, you’ll want to double the batter. The cake is quite short (only about 1/2″ tall) so it’ll fit nicely into a half sheet pan. Extend the baking time to 25 to 30 minutes; check for doneness regularly starting at 25 minutes and watch for signs of the cake turning golden brown and beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan. You’ll also want to double the rest of the cake components to sure you have the right ratios of deliciousness. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Nana! If you have two 9″ pans, use those. The layers will be thicker and it will take a couple extra minutes to bake. If you only have one each of the 8″ and 9″ pans, use them both, but only fill them about 2/3 of the way up so they don’t overflow. Use any extra batter to make a couple of “tester” cupcakes. Keep an eye on them because the 8″ cake will likely finish early. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

  2. Jojo

    If i dont whip the heavy cream wont it be to soft when layering is on cake ? How will it be fluffly do i mix it all together with blender ! Confused ?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The idea is to use the heavy (or whipping) cream to loosen up the mascarpone, which is quite thick like cream cheese. Once you mix these two ingredients together, you should be left with a citrus cream filling that is a lovely, spreadable, light texture. You’re more than welcome to try whipping the cream before incorporating it into the mascarpone, but you might end up deflating it with the amount of stirring you’ll have to do to make a homogenous mixture. You should be able to stir together the heavy cream and mascarpone with a rubber spatula; no electric mixer needed. If you’re finding this difficult, you might want to leave the mascarpone at room temperature until it’s a bit warmer and softer to incorporate. Good luck, and happy baking! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re glad you asked, Linda. You can use the recipe for sponge cake that’s given here and simply use our Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour to replace the all-purpose flour in the recipe. No other adjustments are necessary, and you’ll be left with a delicious gluten-free, berry-filled tiramisu! Kye@KAF

  3. Peg

    I will not make this again. Too much syrup, leaked out of the cake. I used 2 cups of mascarpone and the whipping cream, unwhipped, and the filling was a soupy mess.
    The recipe says heavy cream or whipping cream, if heavy cream is best, then don’t say “or whipping cream”. The filling never firmed up.
    Waste of expensive mascarpone. Waste of strawberries. Haven’t tasted it yet, hoping it firms up somewhat overnight.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Peg, I’m so sorry to learn that this recipe did not work out for you. It does sound as though something went a bit amiss, as the filling should be stiff with either whipping or heavy cream. If you’d like to troubleshoot, please feel free to call us to chat at our Baker’s Hotline at 855-371-2253. Thank you for your feedback! Bryanna@KAF

    1. Susan Reid

      Glass isn’t great for a sponge cake; it slows down the heat transfer. If you had two 8″ metal pans, that would work fine. If you do go in glass, I recommend lining the pans and reducing the oven temperature by 25°F. You’re likely to get crusty edges, but those can be trimmed if need be. Susan

  4. Mary Hooke

    I do not care for the original tiramisu but this recipe looks so delicious. Wonder if I could use my Maryann pan I bought from KAF a few years ago???

    Reply
    1. Susan Reid

      Hi, Mary. I assume you’re thinking about making individual desserts? I think it’s a great idea. I’d split each cake and put a layer of filling in it, and use more mascarpone in the well on top, finishing with the berries. Very nice, and very elegant. Great idea. Susan

    1. MaryJane Robbins, post author

      Yes, you can make a larger cake and then cut in half. Just be sure to not fill the cake pan more than 2/3 full to prevent over spill. ~ MJ

    1. MaryJane Robbins, post author

      Hi Marietta,
      You could bake the cake in a quarter sheet pan, or a jelly roll pan instead of in the two smaller pans. ~ MJ

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