This no bake tiramisu trifle is a quick and easy take on a classic tiramisu recipe. The dessert features ladyfingers soaked with coffee and rum, topped with a creamy mascarpone layer and whipped topping. There are only 6 simple ingredients and it is perfect for the holidays or anytime you want a spectacular, crowd pleasing dessert!
Tiramisu is one of my favorite desserts, because it combines cake with coffee and whipped cream, all some of the best flavors imaginable! But a classic tiramisu is kind of complicated to make – from baking ladyfingers to creating a creamy egg rich custard to letting it rest in the refrigerator for hours.
In contrast my no bake mini tiramisu trifles cups are a semi-homemade recipe that will be ready to eat in half an hour. I love quick and easy no bake recipes like this one!
Why You Will Love This Easy Tiramisu Trifle Recipe
There is no baking, which means no heating up the house and fewer dishes to wash.
It has only a few simple steps and takes less than half an hour from start to finish.
It doesn’t need to chill for hours, so you can enjoy it right away.
Making the trifle in individual containers makes it easier to fit the dessert in the refrigerator and means you know exactly how many the dessert will serve.
I take some shortcuts in this recipe, so you want a classic Italian dessert recipe try this authentic tiramisu recipe . If you are fine with a cheater version with a tiramisu feel keep reading!
For exact amounts needed see the recipe card below
Ladyfingers or cake – Traditional tiramisu is made with lady fingers. I have made this with both store bought ladyfingers and store bought angel food cake. Pound cake also works – you just need some kind of layer to absorb the coffee and rum. The dessert will have a different texture depending on what you choose as the base.
Mascarpone Cheese – Mascarpone cheese is similar to cream cheese, but it is smoother and not as thick. It also has a richer taste than cream cheese. This is such a rich dessert anyway with all the layers that the taste difference between the two probably won’t even be noticed, so substituting cream cheese will work fine.
Pudding, Cool whip and milk – Instead of making a creamy custard filling with cooked egg yolks, heavy cream and sugar I cheat and make instant pudding with some whipped topping added. Close enough for me!
Coffee – The coffee helps flavor the pudding and is drizzled on the ladyfingers. You can use instant coffee or instant espresso powder to make the coffee if you like.
Be sure to check out the step by step instructions
While this recipe doesn’t take long to make you do have to do a little planning ahead of time. The mascarpone should be at room temperature and the coffee should be cold. So in the morning make an extra cup of coffee and take the mascarpone cheese out of the refrigerator.
The cubes of cake or ladyfinger shouldn’t be drenched in the coffee mixture. Don’t make them soggy, just a little damp.
Add the topping and cocoa powder right before serving to make these easier to store.
I like to make trifle in a glass bowl to show off the delicious layers. Be sure that whatever dish you choose is wide enough to make layering easy.
I have made this recipe in trifle cups, in half pint mason jars and in large wine glasses or martini glasses. I like to make individually sized desserts!
But you can make this in a full size trifle bowl or a punch bowl if you are serving a crowd. To make it in a full sized trifle bowl double the recipe.
How to Make Tiramisu Trifle
1. Make the Pudding
The first step is to take some instant vanilla pudding and mix it with milk and a few tablespoons of the coffee. Don’t use hot coffee or the pudding won’t set!
Then put the mixture in the freezer or refrigerator for 10 minutes so it can start to thicken.
2. Prepare all the remaining ingredients
While the pudding thickens break the ladyfingers into small bite sized pieces or cut the cake into squares. Set them aside in a large bowl.
Once the pudding has soft set use a mixer to stir room temperature mascarpone cheese into the pudding mixture. If you are using rum or other alcohol add it to the remaining coffee and stir to mix. Get the whipped topping out of the refrigerator and line up the trifle bowls or mason jars so you can quickly layer the dessert.
3. Layer the trifle
Once everything is ready it is just a matter of layering the dessert into your containers. First, add a layer of ladyfingers or cake.
Then sprinkle about a tablespoon of the rum and coffee mixture on top of the cake cubes in each dish. You don’t want to soak the cubes, just get them a little wet.
Follow that with a layer of the cheesecake pudding mixture.
Then repeat the layers of cake – coffee – cheesecake pudding to fill the trifle dish.
Finish the dessert off with a dollop of whipped topping and dust it with cocoa powder.
How to Serve and Store
You can eat this tasty dessert right away, or keep it in the refrigerator until dinner time. It should keep well in the refrigerator for two days.
I use whipped topping on top of the trifles because they keep better that way. But if you prefer real whipped cream just wait until serving time to add it to the dessert.
These mini tiramisu trifle dessert cups are super easy to throw together and are sure to be appreciated, even by non-coffee fans. They look elegant, so guests and family will think you spent more time and effort making them than you really did!
Made as pictured (in dessert cups) this recipe makes two extremely large desserts. If you serve it in half pint sized mason jars it would serve four, and be a more reasonable serving size. To make a large full sized trifle bowl double the recipe.
Traditionally tiramisu does have a little bit of alcohol in the ingredients. Marasala wine is commonly used, but many people use Bailey’s Irish cream, rum, brandy or kahlua.
But if you don’t like alcohol or are serving the dessert to children you can leave it out. One of the advantages to making this in individual cups is you can make some with alcohol and some without, keeping everyone happy.
Most grocery stores have ladyfingers in the cookie aisle. You can also buy them online. Or you can make homemade ladyfingers, which is how my mom used to do it!
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- 1 box instant Vanilla pudding
- 1 3/4 cup milk
- 4 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup coffee, cold, divided
- 2 Tablespoons rum, optional
- 1 package ladyfingers (about 7 ounces) or 1/2 angel food cake
- 1 cup whipped topping
- unsweetened cocoa powder or bittersweet chocolate curls to garnish
- Get your trifle dishes ready. This recipe makes enough for 2 individual trifle cups or 4 half pint mason jars. If you are using a full size trifle bowl then double the recipe.
- Add the pudding to a bowl along with the milk and whisk until combined.
- Add 4 Tablespoons of cold, strong coffee to the pudding mix and stir. Refrigerate the coffee flavored pudding for 10 minutes or so until it is soft set.
- Add the mascarpone cheese to the pudding mix and use an electric mixer to incorporate it into the pudding. Beat until it is smooth and creamy.
- Break the ladyfingers into 3 or 4 pieces each or cut the cake into small squares about 1/2 inch sized.
- If you are using rum then mix it into the coffee that remains.
- Cover the bottom of a trifle cup with a single layer of cake pieces or ladyfingers.
- Drizzle a few tablespoons of the coffee mixture over the cake pieces. Make sure not to drench them, just get them wet.
- Cover the cake pieces with a layer of the mascarpone mixture.
- Repeat each layer one more time, filling the dish.
- Finish the trifle with some whipped topping and sprinkle with cocoa powder or grated chocolate.
- Store the trifles in the refrigerator until time to serve.
The mascarpone needs to be at room temperature and the coffee should be cold. You can use espresso powder or instant coffee to make the coffee.
You can skip the rum or use a different type of alcohol such as a sweet wine or brandy.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 562Saturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 663mgCarbohydrates: 82gSugar: 54gProtein: 11g