Genoise-Style Paleo Tiramisu

February 2, 2013 in Categories: by

Print Friendly

Sometimes, there is just a need for a truly decadent dessert.  And that’s where grain-free, dairy-free indulgences like this tiramisu come in!   This was the dessert I made for Christmas dinner this year.  Many of the recipes that I work on are recreations of old favorites.  This recipe is inspired by this amazing genoise tiramisu that my husband and I used to get at an Italian restaurant close to the first apartment we shared.  I’ve always been rather partial to genoise tiramisus (genoise is an Italian sponge cake), which I believe are actually more traditional (compared to ladyfinger versions).  This makes a decadent yet light and truly delightful dessert.  Serves 8-12.

Genoise-Style Tiramisu

Ingredients (genoise):

  1. Prepare a 12”x18” rimmed baking sheet by lining with wax paper and heavily greasing the wax paper with extra virgin coconut oil or palm shortening.  Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Blend evaporated cane juice in a blender for 1-2 minutes, until it’s a fine powder.
  3. In the large bowl of a standing mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  Add 1/3 cup sugar gradually and continue to mix until stiff peaks form.
  4. In a separate, small bowl, beat egg yolks with the remaining 1/3 cup sugar and vanilla until thick.  Whisk in coconut and almond flour.
  5.  Fold yolk mixture into egg mixture, being careful not to lose too much volume, until incorporated.
  6. Spread batter out onto prepared baking sheet.  Take the time to spread the surface evenly and into the corners.
  7. Bake for 16-17 minutes, until top is just starting to turn golden brown.
  8. Remove cake from oven and immediately invert over a couple of wire cooling racks.  Carefully peel off the wax paper.   Let the genoise fully cool on the wire rack.

Ingredients (Cream Layers):

  1. Combine coconut milk, egg yolks, honey, arrowroot powder, coconut oil and lemon juice in a large saucepan and whisk together.
  2. Then put the saucepan on the stovetop and heat over medium-low heat, whisking constantly.  You want to heat until just shy of boiling point.  The cream will start to steam slightly and then start to thicken.  Once it becomes thick and gooey, remove from heat (takes 7-8 minutes if you put it on a preheated element).
  3. Pour into two bowls, 1/3 in one bowl (this is about 3/4 cup) and 2/3 in another (about 1 1/2 cups).
  4. To the 1/3 bowl, stir in the grated chocolate and vanilla until melted and fully incorporated.  To the 2/3 bowl, stir in cognac until fully incorporated.  You can let the cream cool and whip in a standing mixer for a lighter texture, or just layer with the genoise as is.

Ingredients (tiramisu):

  • genoise
  • chocolate and cognac cream
  • 1 1/4 cup strong coffee (a good espresso is ideal), cooled
  • 3 Tbsp cognac (again you can substitute dark rum or dry sherry)
  • unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
  1. Cut the cooled genoise into four equal pieces (you can either do a long rectangle or a wider, shorter one, up to you).
  2. Place the pieces of genoise back on the rimmed baking sheet.  Mix coffee and cognac and pour over the entire genoise, making sure not to miss any! (alternately, you can douse each layer as you assemble the tiramisu).
  3. On your serving plate, carefully move over one piece of coffee-soaked genoise.  Spread half of the cognac cream over the top (the cream is actually easier to spread either warm or cooled and whipped; cooled and not whipped is the hardest to spread).  Place another coffee-soaked genoise layer on top.  Spread out the chocolate cream.  Add Another layer of cake.  Spread out the rest of the cognac cream.  Place the last layer of cake.
  4. Just before serving, dust the top generously with unsweetened cocoa powder.
  5. Enjoy!



Oh what I would do to eat that! I don’t think my kids will ever be able to eat eggs. What is up with that? I just found out number two is intolerant of almonds and hazelnuts, as well. I can’t eat bananas. It makes the 21-day sugar detox really, really boring. I am coming to think of baked rutabagas as a treat. Sigh. Mmm. tiramisu sounds good right now!

Wax paper? Did you mean parchment paper, instead? (Wouldn’t wax paper, ah, melt, when baked? and get the waxy coating all up and onto your cake?)

Looks delicious, minus the wax.

Hi, this looks delicious! Quick question: no one in my family can drink coffee. Do you think I could soak the genoise in a chocolate mixture instead? Thanks! 🙂

My hubby sent this to me as he eats Paleo and I’m learning to cook more for him (and eat Paleo myself in the process.) However, my biggest hangup is the fact that I’m severely allergic to coconut. Coconut oil, flour, and milk in this recipe would immediately turn me off, but Tiramisu is our favorite dessert, has been since we started dating 14 years ago. Can you recommend substitutes in this recipe for each coconut ingredient?

Coconut flour is really tough to just switch out with something. I’d need to do a whole lot of playing around to get it to work. Have you checked out Primal Palate?

Thanks for letting me know about the coconut flour. It’s my biggest hangup when it comes to baking for my hubby. I’d like to do more for him but coconut is a big ingredient in Paleo cooking. If I even touch the coconut oil I have an allergic reaction and have to break out my epi pen. I put a post over at Primal Palate and I’ll go check out the website more.

Does this do well to serve on the same day or after sitting in the fridge overnight? I’ve tried tiramisu’s that have tasted better after sitting!

I’m tempted to try this with honey instead of sugar, do you think it would go disasterously wrong? I’ve used it in meringue mix before when making coconut macaroons. I guess the cake would just be a bit more moist?

Is the genoise supposed to come out of the oven all fluffy, and then sink down as it cools? Mine is looking pretty shriveled…

I’m wondering if anyone has tried this yet with coconut sugar, honey, or maple syrup? A friend requested a paleo tiramisu and I know she won’t want cane juice or sucanat although I think I can stretch her to cocunut sugar if needed. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to mess around with mutiple batches myself as I need it this weekend. I just want to make her a perfect treat. Thanks for getting the hard work out of the way for me!

I noticed that in the autoimmune protocol you talk about not eating eggs (except you seemed to be eating the yolks). Are you now able to handle eggs? Just wondering as this recipe (and many of your more recent ones) use eggs. I have a son who is egg intolerant (not allergic) and it would be nice to HOPE that one day he will be able to eat eggs again (once we get his gut healed). Thanks for any encouragement you might have to offer! 🙂

Sarah has been able to successfully reintroduce certain foods. She talks about reintroduction on the AIP here: You can view all of Sarah’s AIP recipes here: and there will be over 100 AIP recipes in The Paleo Approach cookbook (out later this year). You may also be interested in joining The Paleo Approach Community on Facebook: — Tamar, Sarah’s assistant

I would guess approximately 13.5 ounces (that is the size of the can linked to in the recipe). — Tamar, Sarah’s assistant

HI – any ideas on how to make without the alcohol? But still get that rum/cognac flavor? Thank you Sarah for providing my son’s absolute favorite dessert!!!

I love the look and sound of your Tiramisu. But just a note: Tiramisu was originally made with ladyfingers in Italy. It was made in a bowl like a trifle. I learned to make it from Lorenza di Medici in the 1980s at her cooking school, and had it at several trattorie in Florence long before it came to the US. I think the “square” version has become popular in the States and is certainly neater looking, but true Italian tiramisu (which means “pick me up,” ) is served in a bowl and uses lady fingers, espresso, and Vin Santo in the recipe, along with zabaglione and whipped cream. Both versions are wonderful, and you will now even find the squares in Italy, as it is much easier to serve that way. But this was just a note as to which is the original recipe.

My genoise stuck to the wax paper intensely. I did grease with coconut oil. You could even see the coconut oil slicks in places beneath the wax paper, but the cake was cooked to it. What I was able to unpeel tasted good. I suggest using some better material. Silpat? Parchment?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *