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Tiramisu Ombre Cake

This Tiramisu Ombre Cake has it all! Less sugar (by using Zùsto), fewer carbs, it looks amazing and as for the taste, it’s out of this world… So much better than I could have imagined! There are 3 flavours in the cakes: at the bottom is a chocolate cake, then 2 layers of espresso cake followed by a vanilla cake at the very top. These same flavours are carried through into the mascarpone frosting. Chocolate frosting was added to the bottom, espresso frosting in the middle and vanilla frosting on top.

Preparation time

45 min preparation + 30 min cooking + 1 hour finishing


16 servings



Print this recipe


For 16 servings

For the cake

  • 150 g hard margarine or butter at room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 200 ml buttermilk or vegetable milk if lactose intolerant
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200 g Zùsto
  • 350 g self-raising flour
  • 120 g almond flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1.5 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp espresso powder

For the coffee syrup (optional)

  • 120 ml water
  • 80 g Zùsto
  • 2 tbsp espresso powder

For the mascarpone frosting

  • 1000 g mascarpone
  • 150 g Zùsto
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 25 g dark chocolate (lactose free if you want)


  • 3 round baking tins of +/- 15 cm diameter (if you only have 1 or 2, no problem, you’re just going to have to run your oven a little longer 🙂 ) 
  • Baking paper 
  • 3 mixing bowls 
  • Saucepan 
  • Piping bags (3 pieces) 
  • Palette knife 
  • Smoother (to smear the cake with) 
  • Round nozzle (for the toppings as finishing touch – optional)

Preparation method

For the cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C and butter the 2 baking tins. Cut baking paper to the size of the bottom and stick it to the bottom of the baking tin. Also cut out the strips that you will place on the inside of the edges and stick in place.
  2. Beat the margarine until it becomes whiter (+/- 5 min). Add the eggs and mix some more.
  3. Feed in the buttermilk and vanilla extract. Mix some more.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, put the dry ingredients: self-raising baking flour, Zùsto, almond flour and the salt. Next, add this scoop by scoop to the rest of the mixture while continuing to stir.
  5. Put the apple cider vinegar along with the baking powder in a small bowl and let it fizz. Add it to the batter and mix again briefly.
  6. Divide the batter into 3 parts. Weigh 280 g, and add to this one tablespoon of cocoa powder (this becomes the chocolate cake). Mix briefly. Weigh 575 g of batter again, and add to this the espresso powder (this will be the espresso cake). Finally, with the remaining batter, do nothing (this will be the vanilla cake).
  7. Pour the batter into the baking tins. I had 2 tins so I had to bake in 2 batches. Bake for 20 min (for the small cakes) and 30 min for the espresso cake. Check with a cake stick or skewer to see if the cakes are ready. Firstly, allow to cool for 15 min in the tin before removing them from the tin (and continuing to cool on a wire rack).

For the coffee syrup (optional)

  1. Put the Zùsto, water and coffee powder in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil and wait for the Zùsto to dissolve completely. Let it boil for a while, but not too long because you will get a caramel. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

For the mascarpone frosting

  1. Place the mascarpone in a mixing bowl and gently mix in the Zùsto (add the Zùsto spoonful by spoonful as you continue to mix). Add the vanilla extract.
  2. Take 2 portions of 130 g frosting in a separate bowl.
  3. Melt the chocolate (which you first chop into pieces) on a low wattage in the microwave. Leave to come to room temperature and add it to 1 of the 2 portions of 130 g (this is the chocolate frosting). To the other 130 g you add the espresso powder (this is the espresso frosting). Leave the rest of the frosting as is (this is the vanilla frosting)

Putting together the cake

  1. Make sure your cakes are “flat” at the top. If you have a “bulge,” carefully cut it off with a large kitchen knife. Cut the espresso cake lengthwise so you get 2 discs
  2. Make sure you start stacking the cakes on a cake board or something you want to serve cake on. This is important, because it will be difficult to move the cake around afterwards. First spread a dollop of frosting on the cake board and then place the chocolate cake on top. Poke holes in it and brush some coffee syrup over it (a few tablespoons is enough). Now spread a generous layer of frosting between each cake. After the chocolate cake, stack 1 of the 2 espresso cakes, then again the coffee syrup followed by the frosting. Finish with the vanilla cake.
    Tip: use a cake bottom at the end (that way the top of your cake is flat). 
  3. ‘Plaster’ the edges of the cake with the vanilla frosting. To do this, use a palette knife and smooth it on so you get a ‘naked’ cake. It’s called a crumb free surface. Now place the cake in the refrigerator for 15 mins. Afterwards, you can frost the cake all around (and on top) with the remaining frosting (I use a piping bag for this). Start at the bottom with the chocolate frosting. Spread the chocolate frosting very thickly on 1/3rd of the bottom (I did this using a piping bag). Then very roughly spread the espresso frosting on the next 1/3rd of the cake. Use the vanilla frosting for the top 1/3rd and the top. Afterwards, smooth the 3 colours evenly using a palette knife or smoothing tool 
  4. Using the remaining frosting, pipe tufts on top of the cake. If necessary, finish with cocoa powder that you sift over the cake.

Nutritional values

Tiramisu Ombre cake For a 90 g cake (that’s a wedge about 1.5 thick).  Don’t worry, that’s enough!
Energy (in kcal) 400
Fat (g) 32.6
Of which saturates 17.7
Carbohydrates (g) 13.5
Fibre (g) 4.1
Protein (g) 7.9



About Yasmine Marchal

Hi, I’m Yasmine from the pastry blog Tartes Yaya. As well as running my blog, I work full time as an IT project manager. Baking is my creative outlet, but I also enjoy sports (jogging, hiking, aerial dance and horse riding).

I’m mum to an 8 year old boy, Ilyas, and a 6 year old girl, Fatou. In August 2018, Ilyas was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (an autoimmune disease that is not caused by eating too much sugar… just to clarify that! ;)).Even though a type 1 diabetic can eat whatever they want and don’t have to follow a special diet, their body has greater difficulty in processing real sugars because the body is not able to produce insulin itself or manage insulin spikes properly.

My son’s diabetes led me to discover Zùsto and since then, Zùsto has been my favourite sugar substitute!

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