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Tiramisu Cupcakes

Tiramisu cupcakes are decadent little cakes doused with a sweet coffee liqueur mixture, topped with almond cream cheese frosting, and finished with cocoa. This cupcake recipe starts with boxed cake and purchased frosting, then adds coffee, Kahlua, and almond flavors, for a dessert reminiscent of elegant tiramisu that can be easily made for 25, 50, even 100 people.

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tiramisu cupcakes in gold foil on white plate

Why this recipe is special

Who doesn’t love a decadent, classic dessert like tiramisu, but making cake and fillings from scratch when cooking for a lot of people is very difficult unless you are in a professional kitchen.

This recipe is a perfect solution because, like my Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, we doctor boxed cake and then also purchased frosting to make a delicious and tasty dessert and keep prep so much easier.

Then by making cupcakes rather than cake, these babies serve themselves. Pat yourself on the back for choosing such a tasty dessert that is so easy to serve.

single cupcakes on small white servings dishes laid out on a table

About the ingredients and preparation

For the cake

The cake starts with boxed white cake, eggs, and oil just like the box directions specify. But instead of water, we use milk for a little added richness. Otherwise, the cupcakes are made as per the box directions.

2 silicone muffin tin mats, each half filled with cupcake batter prior to baking

For the sweet coffee liqueur mixture

Next, we prick the cooked cupcakes with a fork and douse the tops with a mixture of espresso powder, Kahlua coffee liqueur, and sugar. Prick the cupcakes well to generate good holes, then use a pastry brush to generously mop the coffee mixture on top so it soaks down into each cupcake.

24 cupcakes on wire cooling rack, topped with coffee mixture
top down view onto cupcake showing fork holes after pricking

For the frosting

Once the cupcakes are cooled completely, whip the almond extract into the cream cheese frosting and top the cupcakes. This is easy to do using a ziploc bag, with a corner snipped. as a piping bag.

Note that almond extract is POTENT. You want the almond flavor to be subtle and keep in mind that the flavor will intensify a bit with time in the frosting. Also, adding too much will make the frosting looser. So, don’t be tempted to add more extract.

For the cocoa powder finish

Dust the tops of the frosted cupcakes with cocoa powder. I like to use a mini colander for this. I also like to stick to just a light dusting. Traditional tiramisu is usually topped pretty well with cocoa powder, so just use your own judgement on how you want your cupcakes to be. Then we are done! Store refrigerated, covered, if necessary.

finished tiramisu cupcakes on white plate

Tips for making tiramisu cupcakes for a crowd

Foil cupcake cups work much better, and look better, than thin paper cups for this particular recipe. If using paper cups, double them since the oil from the cake will bleed into the paper.

Since we use enough frosting to generously frost each cupcake, this makes them top heavy. This is just something to keep in mind when handling them, so one doesn’t flip over out of your hand onto the floor (experience speaking here).

I use a large, resealable bag (aka Ziploc) with a corner snipped off, as an impromptu piping bag. This makes frosting the cupcakes easier, faster, and they look much better.

As written, this recipe uses 4 standard 12-tin muffin tins. If four are not available, make the cupcakes in two batches, so as not to have prepared batter sitting for a long time while the first batch bakes. The cupcake batter takes just 3 minutes to make, that this doesn’t add much time.


Is there a substitute for Kahlua?

I personally don’t bat an eye at serving 1/24th of one tablespoon Kahlua to anyone. However, if an alternative is desired, use 1 tsp pure vanilla extract. Just be aware than both vanilla and almond extracts are also alcohol-based ingredients. If that must be avoided completely, simply omit.

Can these cupcakes be made in advance?

Yes, they can be made a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate before serving.

Can these cupcakes be frozen?

Yes, they can be frozen for up to 3 days. I don’t recommend freezing for an extended period because the delicate cake can “take up” the flavors of the freezer. They are best served fresh or within a day.

tiramisu cupcakes in gold foil on white plate
tiramisu cupcakes in gold foil on white plate

Tiramisu Cupcakes

Tiramisu cupcakes are decadent little cakes doused with a sweet coffee liqueur mixture, topped with almond cream cheese frosting, and finished with cocoa.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian-inspired
Keyword: tiramisu cupcakes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Calories: 385kcal
Author: Erica
Servings: 48


For the cakes

For the coffee mixture

For the almond cream cheese frosting

For the cupcakes


Bake the cakes

  • Heat oven to 350℉.
  • Line 4 muffin tins with cupcake liners (to make 48 cupcakes).
  • To a large mixing bowl, add the cake mix, eggs, milk, and oil.
  • Use an electric hand mixer on low speed to combine the ingredients until moistened. Then whip the batter on medium to medium-high speed 2 minutes.
  • Divide the batter into the muffin tin cups. Bake at 350℉ for 18-24 minutes (according to cake mix package directions) or until cakes are set and a toothpick inserted comes out clean (see Notes).
  • Remove muffin tins from the oven and sit on wire racks. Cool 5 minutes, then carefully remove the cupcakes from the muffin tins to a wire rack to cool (note they will be very soft).

Add the coffee mixture

  • Combine the hot water, espresso powder, Kahlua, and sugar until sugar is dissolved.
  • Use a fork to prick holes in the cupcakes (they can still be warm for this step). Be generous is pricking to allow the coffee mixture to soak well into the cake.
  • Use a pastry brush or small basting brush to "mop" the coffee mixture onto the cakes.

Top with almond cream cheese frosting

  • Once cupcakes are cooled completely: empty the frosting from the containers into a mixing bowl. Add the almond extract and use an electric hand mixer or whisk to incorporate the extract well into the frosting.
  • Transfer half of the frosting into a large, resealable bag. Snip a corner to make ~½-inch-wide hole, and pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes.

Finish with cocoa powder

  • Use a small strainer/colander to dust the tops of the cupcakes with cocoa powder. Store covered until service. Refrigerate before service if serving in a warm location (such as outside on a hot day) or if serving the following day.


This recipe was developed using Dunkin Hines cake and frosting. This post was not sponsored.
Cake package directions generally call for a cook time of 18-24 minutes, but my oven requires a little more time than that (~25-28 minutes). I recommend to start checking at 18 minutes and go from there.
This recipe was adapted from King Author’s Tiramisu Cupcakes recipe.


Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 385kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 408mg | Potassium: 29mg | Sugar: 44g

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5 from 1 vote

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