Cakes, Dessert, Italian

A lighter ‘Pick Me Up’

September 18, 2009




Tir-A-Mi-Su. Tiramisu. It means ‘pick me up’ in Italian and is a classic Italian dessert. Being Italian, I grew up with delicious Italian cooking from my dad and Nonna. Though I didn’t acquire a taste for Tiramisu until I was older. I remember having tried it at family dinners when I was younger, but I didn’t care much for the strong espresso taste, and if often had alcohol in it. I usually opted for a big piece of French bread with lots of Nutella for my dessert.

But over the years I have learned to Love Tiramisu! It’s a really simple dessert to make that has that wow factor of tasting like it’s difficult! I have never particularly liked marscapone cheese, and don’t use it when I make the cheese layers for the dessert. It’s the yummiest no-bake dessert!

Definitely a great Italian dessert to try!


  • 1-2 Packages Lady Finger Cookies
  • 1 Tub Light Cool Whip – thawed
  • 1 Package Light Cream Cheese – room temperature
  • 1 Cup Strong Brewed Coffee or Espresso, cold or room temperature
  • Cocoa For Dusting
  • Chocolate Shavings
  • 1 Tsp. Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Vanilla
  • 1/4 Cup Baileys (or other Coffee Liquor)


  1. Place a single layer of lady fingers in a shallow square/rectangular glass baking dish. The size of the dish will depend on how much you want to make, and how many packages of lady fingers you have.
  2. Mix Coffee with Baileys (you can opt-out of the liquor if you don’t like the taste)
  3. Using a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until soft. Add in vanilla. Using a spoon, gradually add the cool whip to the mixture. Continue on low until it is all combined. It will be slightly thick, but you want to be able to run a spoon through it. Stir in the sugar.
  4. Put the cream cheese mixture to the side.
  5. Pour, using a ladle or spoon a small amount at a time the coffee or espresso over top of the lady fingers. You don’t want them to be soaking in coffee, but enough to dampen them, as they will expand. Alternatively, you can quickly dip them into a small bowl of coffee. Either way, you don’t want them to be soggy and falling apart.
  6. Using a spatula, place a large amount of cream cheese mixture on top of the lady fingers. You want enough to evenly cover the tops of the cookies. Using a spatula or back of a spoon, smooth the top of the cream cheese.
  7. Next, using a mesh sieve dust top of the cream cheese layer with the cocoa. Sprinkle with a small amount of chocolate shavings.
  8. Continue the layers, again beginning with a layer of lady finers, then cream cheese and cocoa until you run out of ingredients. You want the last layer on top to be cream cheese.
  9. Dust the final layer with more cocoa and chocolate shavings.
  10. Place, covered, in the fridge for at least 2 hours for the ingredients to set. You can make it a day before and refrigerate it overnight as well.

Serve small pieces cold, with extra cocoa sifted onto the plate.




Mmmm.. look at all those delicious layers!


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  • Reply Michelle September 19, 2009 at 5:10 AM

    I love tiramisu but I haven’t tried to make it myself yet. I usually splurge and get someone else to bake mine. I really do want to give it a try one of these days though.

  • Reply Steph September 19, 2009 at 4:15 PM

    I’ve never made tiramisu with lady fingers, just the cake version (if that’s even considered to be tiramisu). It must have been so good to dig into all that creaminess!

  • Reply Gala September 20, 2009 at 12:50 AM

    Great so if it’s a light version then what exactly is supposed to make you stop eating it if not guilt??

    Sounds very good!

  • Reply Melissa September 20, 2009 at 3:29 PM

    Is this Nonna’s recipe?

  • Reply Dolce September 21, 2009 at 7:00 AM

    I like this light version. Mascarpone is so rich… Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply Christine September 21, 2009 at 9:28 AM

    Looks yummy! I have never made this before, but it sounds pretty easy. I will have to give it a try!

  • Reply ingrid September 25, 2009 at 9:55 AM

    You don’t like mascarpone? Serious? We love it! My children will eat it by the spoonful with a little powdered sugar and almond extract mixed in! They also love tiramisu. I’ve made several variations of it but not a true Italian one with marsala wine and zabaglione.

  • Reply Alicia September 26, 2009 at 11:40 AM

    Michelle: definitely try it, its super easy! and you can make it a day ahead. it tastes even better when its sat a long time.

    Steph: ya i’ve made the cake version as well, the lady fingers are even better! Definitely yummy

    Gale: haah um yes, it is not light if you eat the entire thing. luckily i had some help!

    Meliss: nope, not nonnas. She does use cream cheese now i think but her’s usually has lots of alcohol in it! haha.

    Dolce: Thanks! Yes and if you use light cream cheese and light cool whip you can feel like your eating better… but not really!

    Christine: Go make it!!! I wish i still had some…

    Ingrid: It’s not that i dont like it, maybe i should try it! im sure ive eaten it when ive had tiramisu before, but i think it’s more expensive as well. I had marsala wine but didnt think of using it, so i had baileys!

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