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Tiramisu, you probably don’t think of this layered, Italian dessert as the one you would bring along to a tailgate. Maybe it’s too frou-frou, too messy to travel with or too complicated to make. Think again! Your tailgate doesn’t have to be all beer and wings. Here are some easy recipes to add a classy dessert to your tailgate meal.

Tiramisu Recipes for Tailgate

Served Individually


This is an easy recipe for individual servings. Preparing your dessert in individual cups may make serving at your tailgate easier. Make this dish the day before your tailgate and you’ll have a unique, delectable dessert. Find the full recipe with helpful photos at My Little Italian Kitchen.

Here’s what you will need:

I cup of mascarpone

2 eggs

¼ cup of sugar (plus 1 tbsp for coffee)

Strong coffee

Dark cocoa powder

Chocolate shavings

Soft ladyfinger biscuits


Begin by making the coffee. Stir in 1 tbsp of sugar, then let the coffee cool down in a bowl.

Next, you’ll need to separate the eggs.

Whip the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture is pale and smooth.  Then combine the mascarpone into the sugar and yolk mixture.

In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Take care to gently fold the egg whites into the sugar mixture. The consistency should be creamy and light.

To assemble the cups, first, dip the biscuits into the coffee. You don’t want the biscuits to be soggy, so they don’t need to soak. Then layer the biscuits on the bottom of the dish.

Spread a thick layer of the mascarpone mixture over the biscuits. Repeat the layering a second and possibly third time depending on the depth of your dish. For these individual cups, two layers will probably be enough.

You’ll want to smooth out the top layer of the mascarpone mixture and sprinkle with cocoa powder and chocolate shavings.

Your trifle should set in the refrigerator for a few hours minimum. But you’ll see the best results leaving your dessert overnight.




For a different take on this Italian dessert, try these coffee and chocolate flavored cupcakes from Food Network. Cupcakes are easy, convenient, and always go down a treat. These tiramisu inspired cupcakes will make a great tailgate dessert.

Ingredients you will need for your Cupcakes:

For the Cupcakes:

Crushed chocolate covered coffee beans

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup milk

For the Espresso Syrup:

1/3 cup of sugar

2 Tbsp espresso powder

2 Tbsp coffee liqueur

Mascarpone Cream:

8oz mascarpone

½ cup confectioners’ sugar

2 Tbsp coffee liqueur

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

1 cup heavy cream

Cocoa powder, for garnish

Chocolate shavings, for garnish

The Process for Making these Cupcakes:

For the Cupcakes:

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line cupcake pan with liners.

Roughly chop the chocolate covered coffee beans and set aside.

Combine the dry ingredients, the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

Using an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugar on medium speed. Add eggs one at a time. Then add vanilla extract. Gradually, on low speed, alternate combining the flour mixture and milk to the egg mixture. You should begin and end with adding dry ingredients.

Distribute the batter evenly into the cupcake liners. This recipe yields roughly 24 cupcakes. Each cupcake can have a sprinkle of chopped coffee beans, about 1tsp per cupcake. Bake the cupcakes about 15 minutes, until golden brown. Check the cupcakes are cooked through and allow them to cool completely before frosting.

For the Espresso Syrup:

Using a small saucepan, on medium-high heat, combine the water, sugar and espresso powder. Stir occasionally until the sugar is completely melted. Then remove from heat and add the coffee liqueur.

For the mascarpone cream:

Combine the mascarpone, confectioners’ sugar, coffee liqueur, and vanilla extract.

Whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture. It helps to do this in sections.

Putting it all together:

Poke holes with a fork in the tops of the baked, cooled cupcakes. Spoon 2 tablespoons of espresso syrup over each cupcake. Then frost the cupcakes with the mascarpone cream. Dust with cocoa powder and sprinkle with chocolate shavings


Classic Recipe


Here is a classic take from Genius Kitchen. This recipe can be assembled in individual containers or made as one trifle.

What you will need:

2 cups strong coffee that’s been cooled to room temperature

3 Tbsp liqueur of your choice – Tia Maria is suggested for the coffee flavor, though you may like a chocolate or almond liqueur for another dimension.

2 eggs, separated

¼ cup caster sugar

8oz mascarpone cheese

1 cup heavy cream

8oz ladyfingers

cocoa powder, for dusting

Making your trifle:

Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl using an electric mixture. Beat until the mixture is pale and thick. Add the mascarpone to the egg mixture and beat until well incorporated.

Whip the cream into stiff peaks and fold into the egg mixture. It is important not to beat the whipped cream into the egg mixture. A spatula is best for folding in.

Next, using a clean metal bowl, beat the egg whites into soft peaks. Now, fold the egg whites into the cream mixture. Be gentle when folding in the egg whites, as it is important to retain as much air as possible in the mixture.

For serving you can use a big dish or individual glasses.

If assembling your dessert in a large dish, start with putting the coffee and liqueur into a bowl. Then, dip the biscuits in the coffee individually. Pro tip: try dipping just one half of the biscuit. This keeps the biscuits from becoming too soggy.

Layer the soaked biscuits to cover the bottom of the dish. Spread half the mascarpone mixture on top of the biscuits. Soak and layer the remaining biscuits, followed with a layer of mascarpone mixture. Smooth the top of the trifle and sprinkle with cocoa.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but it works quite well if you leave for up to 24 hours.

If using individual glasses, you’ll want to break the biscuits up into pieces that will fit your glasses, then soak and layer. Using individual glasses might be the most convenient for your tailgate dessert!


Raspberry Treat


Here is another variation on traditional tiramisu. The raspberry and lemon flavors brighten up this classic dessert from WomansDay. This is a light, cheerful dessert for any tailgate.

Ingredients for this Raspberry recipe:

2 lemons

1/3 cup granulated sugar

3 Tbsp granulated sugar

3 sprigs fresh mint

¾ cup water

8 oz mascarpone

8 oz ricotta

1 ½ cup heavy cream

5 cups raspberries

28 ladyfingers

How to Make Raspberry Tiramisu:

Peel strips of lemon zest from 1 lemon and add to a medium saucepan. You can grate the zest from the other lemon and set it aside. Squeeze ¼ cup lemon juice into the saucepan with the peeled zest. Also add 1/3 cup of sugar, the mint, and water. Bring this mixture to a boil, then simmer for 1 minute. After, the mixture can be removed from the heat and cooled completely. The mint and peeled zest may be removed and thrown out.

Beat the mascarpone, ricotta, lemon zest, and 3 Tbsp sugar until smooth. Set mixer to a lower speed and slowly add the heavy cream. Once combine, use a mixer at high speed to beat until stiff peaks form.

Fold raspberries into the mascarpone mixture, mashing the berries slightly on the sides of the bowl.

Line the bottom of your dish with ladyfingers. Pour half the lemon syrup over the ladyfingers, then cover with half the cream mixture. Repeat this pattern with the remaining ladyfinger, syrup and cream mixture respectively. Lastly, refrigerate the trifle one an hour at minimum, with best results up to 24 hours.


Dessert Cups



Here’s an on-the-go variation. These handy cups use vanilla cupcake instead of conventional ladyfingers. The recipe from Crazy for Crust is a convenient and tasty take on the traditional dessert. Sure to be a hit at your tailgate!

What you’ll need:

1 ½ teaspoon instant coffee

¼ cup hot water

1 cup heavy whipping cream (or whipped topping)

8 oz cream cheese (softened)

1 ½ cups powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

6-8 unfrosted vanilla cupcakes (baked and cooled)


How to assemble:

Start by “brewing” your instant coffee in the hot water. Next, beat the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form.

Then beat the cream cheese with the powdered sugar until creamy and add the vanilla extract and a tablespoon or two of coffee. Fold in the whipped cream.

Cut your cupcakes in halves or thirds, your choice depending on your serving cups. Layer one cupcake slice into your cups. Drizzle the cupcake slice with the remaining coffee, then add a layer of the cream mixture. Sprinkle with cocoa and repeat. Keep your dessert cups refrigerated until you’re ready to serve.

Featured Image: CC By SA 2.0 Markus Mitteraue via Wikimedia Commons

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