Black forest tiramisu

Resistance is futile when it comes to this black forest tiramisu. Voluptuous vanilla mascarpone cream, dark chocolate ganache and sweet cherries. How can it not be good? Tiramisu in Italian means pick me up and that, it certainly will.

Black forest tiramisu

I’ve taken the liberty of using this delectable Italian dessert and given it a German-inspired spin. Currently, this is my favourite dessert, until next week, because as you know, food bloggers affections shift quickly. We’re very easily distracted by irresistible must makes recipes.

Black forest tiramisu

If you close your eyes and imagine the best Black Forest cake you’ve ever had and merge it with that memorable Tiramisu you demolished at Uncle Luigi’s wedding, this will be the result. Layers of whipped mascarpone and vanilla cream, Marsala-coffee soaked Savoiardi biscuits with pockets of chocolate ganache. My work here is done! Best dessert ever and it’s flop-proof. Tiramisu benefits from being made the day ahead as the flavour improves overnight, making it the ideal dessert for stress-free dinner parties. It’s the ultimate crowd pleaser.

Black forest tiramisu

A note on Tiramisu – As it contains raw egg, do not serve to the elderly or pregnant. Yes, this isn’t fair, but as my history teacher used to say, life’s not fair! Buy the best quality free-range eggs you can, close one eye and just do it. I’ll take my chances.

If you’re looking to host a thoroughly Italian feast, here are a couple of spectacularly good dishes to have on your table. My menu for National Italian day has everything from antipasti to dolci. Check it out here. Also not to be missed for during our chilly SA winters is this rustic Tuscan farro and bean soup. It’s simple, yet soulful.

BK Handy hints for best results:

Use best quality, free-range eggs.
Ensure that the mascarpone and double cream are at room temperature. Fridge cold will prevent even incorporation.
Whisk the egg whites in a clean, grease-free bowl.
Amarena cherries are optional, but well worth including.
Marsala is a sweet, fortified wine but can be substituted with Sherry or Kirsch, for an authentic Black Forest taste.
Freshly brewed coffee is best.


Black forest tiramisu


Black Forest Tiramisu

Serves 10-12

100g dark chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup single cream
250g mascarpone cream
250g double thick cream
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or seeds scraped from 1 vanilla pod
4 egg yolks
90g castor sugar
200g savoiardi biscuits (lady fingers)
400ml freshly brewed, hot coffee
125ml Marsala, Sherry or Kirsch
2 tablespoons Amarena cherries, drained
3 egg whites
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons castor sugar
1 punnet (200g) fresh cherries
1 cup (250ml) whipping cream
cocoa powder for dusting

Melt the chocolate and cream together and stir until smooth and glossy. Set aside to cool. Place the mascarpone, double cream and vanilla paste in a bowl and whisk on a low speed to combine. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks and castor sugar together until thick and creamy. It should have doubled in volume. Add 30ml of the Marsala into the whipped yolks. Fold 1/3 of the mascarpone cream into the yolks and mix to combine. Add the remaining cream and fold through gently. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites, salt and 2 tablespoons castor sugar until fluffy and light. Fold gently into the cream mixture.

Pour the coffee and remaining Marsala into a shallow bowl. Dip the biscuits, one at a time, into the coffee and place on the base of your serving bowl. Drop teaspoon amounts of the chocolate ganache over the soaked biscuits and scatter with a couple of Amarena cherries. Spoon over a generous amount of the mascarpone cream. Repeat the process, ending with a final layer of mascarpone cream. Refrigerate for several hours. Just before serving, whip the cream and swirl over the tiramisu. Dust with cocoa and finish with fresh cherries.

16 Comments. Leave new

  • What a cool tiramisu variation! The custard looks so creamy and delicious, mmm 🙂

  • Oh my…..this is exquisite

  • Dianne Bibby
    8 August 2015 8:41 pm

    Yip, that mascarpone is very tempting. Have a great weekend, June!

  • Dianne Bibby
    8 August 2015 8:44 pm

    Thank you! It’s a real weekend treat.

  • Catherine Suter
    11 November 2015 8:35 am

    This is amazing so far!
    I have just made the layered part, and it’s in the fridge for tomorrow. But I’m confused about the final layer of whipped cream: does it really not have any sweetener in it? Already the cocoa won’t, and while there’s a fair amount of sugar in the layers, I’d expect at least a little in the top whipped cream. Or you’re going for contrast, maybe?

  • Hi Catherine. Thanks for stopping by. Yes, the mascarpone layer is quite sweet together with the drizzled chocolate ganache, so the whipped cream doesn’t really need much in the way of sweetening. This is completely a personal preference, so by all means, add a tablespoon or two or confectioner’s sugar to the top cream layer. Enjoy!

  • Oh wow, this is irresistible indeed. So delicious and so beautiful. I want to take on the entire bowl! 🙂

  • Thank you Nicole! It’s a blistering 37 degrees C in Cape Town today, so I’m pretty sure this lusciously cold dessert can work its charm. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Hi Marie. Cherry or mixed berry juice would be a good alternative.

  • Hi Dianne,
    I love your site and use it a lot.

    I go to a TT( i.e. no alcohol) Church so I can’t use the Masala(etc) when I am cooking for the church members( and I provide a pudding every fortnight for them!) What can I do to substitute the intense flavours that the Alcohol would give.Any ideas?

    I assume if I use a high cocoa dark chocolate that will make the chocolate layer more chocolate-y? and obviously if I make the coffee layer quite strong – it will cover the lack of that (lovely, to me but not them), alcohol taste

    Thanks, Esther

  • Dianne Bibby
    5 March 2017 3:03 pm

    Hi there Esther. Thanks so much. Glad to hear the recipes are finding their way into your kitchen. I agree with you. Cooking with alcohol definitely adds a depth of flavour to food, but there’s always a way around it. A 70% dark chocolate or even orange or caramel chocolate will be an excellent substitute. Lindt has both. A good brand of coffee also goes a long way. Let me know the verdict. Good luck.

  • Thanks Dianne, thats a brilliant idea!

  • am happy to get this receip for black forest will try my best at home from now to make my family happy

  • Dianne Bibby
    23 July 2017 10:33 am

    I’m sure they’re going to love it!

  • hello 1/3 cup of cream how much ml would you say that is sems very little to melt 100g chocolate in or is 1 1/3 cups. please help :/

  • Dianne Bibby
    17 June 2020 6:58 am

    Hi Debbie. The 1/3 cup (80ml) is more to make a ganache consistency for the chocolate. Without the cream, the chocolate will set hard, once chilled. I hope that helps.
    Kind regards Di

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