Tiramisu Cheesecake

I miss you, so I made Tiramisu! Missing the eggs, lactose, and milk solids, you’ll fall in love with this Paleo tiramisu. Raw cashews are soaked in water and pureed with coconut cream and sweet syrup with a slight tang of lemon to make a Paleo “cheesecake.” Coconut flour lady finger cookies are saturated in espresso cognac rum sauce and layered with the dreamy Paleo cashew “cheesecake.” Coffee, booze, creamy things…what a perfect dessert! Bless Italian cuisine!

Paleo Tiramisu Cheesecake

Ah Italy. It’s been about ten years since I’ve been there, and it’s another location I want to visit again in the near future. Such a romantic place! I recently indulged my girly romantic (and horribly cheesy) side with a 90s chick flick with Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr, “Only You,” set all over the most gorgeous places in Italy. Yea, so I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that this girly movie is one of my guilty pleasure viewings.

Paleo Tiramisu Cheesecake

From a realist perspective, the story is unreasonable and irresponsible. Marisa’s character is pretty psychotic about finding a man named Damon Bradley, someone she believed to be her soulmate from a Ouiji board game. This obsession leads to a spontaneous and very expensive trip to Italy. She then runs into young and adorable RDJ (seriously my biggest celebrity crush back then and even now) who falls in love with her instantly, even explicitly says it after only a few hours of meeting. Yet she brushes him off because he didn’t have the right name of her “soulmate.” In reality, she’s stuck in a romantic utopia at a level beyond cloud nine and he probably just wants to get laid.

Paleo Tiramisu CheesecakeSnarky reminders of reality are sprinkled during the film, provided by Bonnie Hunt’s comic relief. Like how expensive things are and the general recklessness. Those spikes are something that cannot be ignored and the reminder is essential…just in small doses. The reality bites are blanketed by a dreamy romantic aura and the combination give an exhilarating and heartwarming story. And those are the kind of things I just eat up! Oh, spoiler alert. Marisa eventually learns how ridiculous her notion of soulmate is, finds the Damon Bradley, decides he’s too old and boring, then runs off to Boston with RDJ.

Speaking of guilty indulgences, a fine tiramisu is like that cheesy romance. Lady fingers spiked with espresso rum and cognac and layered with a cheesecake dream. How can you resist? Yes, I have tons of food vulnerabilities, but a tiramisu would be that trench in the Death Star.

Paleo Tiramisu Cheesecake

Except, I am missing something huge in this Paleo tiramisu cheesecake. The cheese, specifically mascarpone \ˌmas-kär-ˈpō-(ˌ)nā\. I love that word and I love saying it with a fake Italian accent. This Paleo version uses coconut cream which gives the tiramisu the same luscious smoothness as mascarpone. It’s essentially dairy free, but not “legit” dairy free.  I didn’t want an overwhelming coconut flavor, so I used clarified butter (ghee) for a little buttery balance. While ghee is great for most people being free of lactose and casein, it is not technically dairy free. Expellar pressed coconut oil would be the dairy free and vegan alternative for ghee.

Paleo Tiramisu Cheesecake

Coconut flour lady finger cookies are soaked in a lovely blend of espresso, rum, and cognac. Three wonderful and indulgent liquids seep through the pores of a baked lady finger. The idea is to get the cookies as spiked as possible, and so strong that it would be extremely hard to swallow a huge batch at once. Don’t worry. The airy and whimsical cheesecake complements the lady fingers perfectly and overall provides a dessert that would send your taste buds into passionate euphoria.

Paleo Tiramisu Cheesecake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Paleo and Egg Free. Fits 1 6-inch spring-form pan or 4 ramekins.
Serves: 6
For the Lady Finger Cookie Layer
  • 6 Tablespoons of Coconut Flour
  • 3 Tablespoons of Palm Shortening
  • 2 Tablespoons of Raw Honey (sub Coconut Nectar for Vegan)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Coconut Sugar
For the Paleo Cheesecake
  • 2¾ cups of Raw Cashews
  • ¼ cup of Maple Syrup
  • ½ cup of Coconut Cream*
  • ¼ teaspoon of Almond Extract
  • 2 teaspoons of Lemon Juice
  • ⅓ cup of Ghee, room temperature (or substitute coconut oil for dairy free)
  • 3 Tablespoons of Coconut Sugar
For the Coffee Syrup
  • ½ cup of Strong Coffee or Espresso
  • 2 Tablespoons Dark Rum
  • 1 Tablespoon Cognac
  • 2 Tablespoons of Cocoa powder and ½ teaspoon of Espresso Powder for garnish
For the Lady Finger Cookie Layer
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a cookie sheet with silpat or parchment paper.
  2. Blend all the cookie layer ingredients together.
  3. Transfer the cookie dough to a piping bag and make three inch logs with the dough (about 1 inch thick).
  4. Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes.
  5. Let cool completely (leave on the sheet), at least 30 minutes before assembly.
For the Paleo Cheesecake Layer
  1. Soak the cashews for 4-6 hours in water. Measure out 3 cups worth and dry with a paper towel.
  2. Blend the cashews in a food processor for about 1-2 minutes until creamy.
  3. Add the coconut cream, maple syrup, almond extract, and lemon juice. Blend until uniform.
  4. Blend in the ghee and coconut sugar.
  1. Combine the ingredients for the coffee syrup.
  2. Take a lady finger cookie and dip one at a time into the syrup for about 5 seconds, or until 50% saturated.
  3. Arrange the soaked cookies at the bottom of the pan.
  4. Layer half of the Paleo cheesecake on top of the cookies.
  5. Repeat the previous two steps to finish the Tiramisu cheesecake.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
  7. Sprinkle with a blend of cocoa powder (about 2 Tablespoons) and espresso powder (about 1 teaspoon).
* Chill a can of full fat coconut milk (Thai Kitchen or Native Forest brand) in the fridge overnight and scoop out the solid part


Sharon’s Notes

  • The cheesecake is best kept in the fridge and can hang out for an hour or so at room temperature for serving. But be careful during warm weather!
  • I prefer using coconut nectar in place of honey for a vegan option because it has the same thick consistency. Using maple syrup may make the cookies a bit crumbly, but  not a big deal since they will be used as a layer.


  1. Lani says

    In the lady finger recipe can you sub coconut oil for palm shortening?? I don’t have or use palm shortening