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Tiramisu – using Agar Agar

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raw /  vegan / gluten-free / grain-free

Traditional tiramisu is a coffee-flavored Italian dessert. It is made of ladyfingers dipped in coffee, layered with a whipped mixture of eggs, sugar, and mascarpone cheese, flavored with cocoa. This is a wonderful recipe, not only will it cause your eyes to roll back into your head out of pure delight… but also it teaches you many interesting raw techniques.

By the time you make this dessert, you will be well-educated on making nut milk, almond pulp, coconut cream, date paste, and how to work with agar.  These techniques will come in handy as you dive further into the raw food culinary world!

The best advice I can give is to first read through the recipe and instructions carefully before you start.  (read why HERE).  This will help you be better prepared.   Also, make the components, such as almond milk and date paste, etc., before you start to assemble the cake.  This is referred to as Mise en Place, which you can learn more about HERE. Clicks on the links in each paragraph for instructions on how to make each component.

Almond Milk & Pulp

To get nut pulp you have to make nut milk.  You won’t be using the nut milk in the recipe, just the pulp.  Place the nut milk in a mason jar and store it in the fridge.  This is wonderful for breakfast to add to your cereals, smoothies or just to drink!  Set the nut pulp aside.

Date Paste

This is another great staple to have on hand, so don’t worry about making the exact measurement that is required for the recipe.  Make extra!  Add a dollop on top of your yogurt, add to a smoothie, dip your finger in it, spread it on raw bread, and so much more!

Coconut Cream

This is another luxurious food using Young Thai Coconuts.  Please read the post I did about The Inside Scoop of Young Thai Coconuts.  I always love having extra on hand.  Keep it creamy or add a bit more water and drink it straight.  Heaven! If you don’t have the resources to obtain fresh Young Thai coconut, you can use canned full-fat coconut milk.

Cold Pressed Coffee

You can use cold-pressed coffee or espresso coffee.  Either one will work fine.  I love to make a large jar of the cold-pressed version and keep it in the fridge. You can find the recipe HERE. It is more like a concentrate, and you can customize every mug that you drink.  For this recipe, I used straight concentrate.

Agar Powder

This is not a raw ingredient. If you wish to use a raw ingredient instead try the recipe using Irish moss which can be found here.  Agar created from seaweed and is known to have many wonderful health benefits.  The key thing to remember when it is that a little bit goes a long way.  Agar gels once cooled but can be reheated to melt it again.  You need to work quickly when using it because it gels quite rapidly, but it can be a lot of fun to experiment with.  To learn a bit more about agar, click (here).


Yields an 8×8 pan

Cake Ingredients:

Chocolate Mousse Layer:

  • 2 cups (440 g) thick coconut cream or canned
  • 1 cup (222 g) cold espresso coffee
  • 1/2 cup (150 g) maple syrup
  • 1 tsp (5 g) vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp (2 g) Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/4 cup (25 g) raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup (105 g) raw coconut oil, warmed to liquid
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp lecithin powder (optional)
  •  1 Tbsp (7 g)  agar powder

Vanilla Mousse Layer:

  • 2 cups thick coconut cream  or canned
  • 1/2 cup (150 g) maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp (15 g) vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp (2 g) Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/2 cup raw coconut oil, warmed to liquid
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp lecithin powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp (2 g)  agar powder


  • A dusting of cacao powder
  • 1 Green and Blacks Espresso Chocolate Bar, shaved into curls (optional)


To Make the Cake:

  1. Place the date paste, espresso, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt in a food processor and process till creamy.
  2. Slowly add the almond pulp and process for several minutes, until it becomes light and fluffy.  Stop and scrape the sides down if needed.
  3. Divide and spread batter in half (roughly 2 cups / 600 g) of the cake batter evenly on the bottom of an 8 x 8-inch square springform pan.
  4. Chill while making the chocolate mousse. Cover and refrigerate the remainder of the cake batter until ready to use.

To Make the Chocolate Mousse:

  1. First off, let’s bloom the agar. Whisk together the agar powder and 1/2 cup (115 g) water in the pan. Let it sit while you combine the rest of the filling batter in the blender.
  2. In the blender combine the coconut cream, espresso coffee,  maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, salt, and cacao powder. Blend until smooth.
  3. Now bring the agar and water to a slight boil, whisk constantly until the agar is dissolved.
  4. With the blender running, add the agar slurry and lecithin (if using) and blend until incorporated.
    • It will have a thick liquid consistency.  If the agar is jello stiff like, return to heat and warm to soften. Blend until everything is well mixed.
  5. Pour a layer of the chocolate mousse evenly over the top of the cake (roughly 3/5″ ) and chill for approximately 1-2 hours, or until firm.
    • I had too much of the chocolate filling for my pan so I poured the extra into some small single-serving containers.
  6. Carefully spread the remainder of the cake mixture over the top of the firm chocolate mousse. Chill while making the vanilla mousse.

To Make the Vanilla Mousse:

  1. As above, bloom the agar by whisking together the agar powder and 1/2 cup (115 g) water in the pan. Let it sit while you combine the rest of the filling batter in the blender.
  2. Place the coconut cream, maple syrup, water, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt in the blender, and blend to a smooth cream.
  3. Now bring the agar and water to a slight boil, whisk constantly until the agar is dissolved.
  4. With the blender running, add the agar slurry and lecithin (if using) and blend until incorporated.
    • It will have a thick liquid consistency.  If the agar is jello stiff like, return to heat and warm to soften. Blend until everything is well mixed.
  5. Pour the vanilla mousse evenly over the top of the cake and chill for approx. 4 hours, or until firm.
  6. Dust with raw cacao powder and decorate with chocolate curls.
  7. If you must freeze the cake and allow it to thaw for 1-2 hours before serving and plan on enjoying the whole cake. Agar doesn’t hold it’s structure all that well after it has been frozen.

48 thoughts on “Tiramisu – using Agar Agar

  1. chris says:

    Wow! I know where I am making my next dinner reservations :)

    Instead of making the coconut cream in the traditional way, can you thin out (with coconut milk) So Delicious Greek Style Coconut Milk Yogurt?

    Thanks, Amie Sue!

    • amie-sue says:

      Hi Chris… I haven’t tried it. I haven’t used that product so I am not sure of the flavor or consistency. There is a unique quality with Young Thai coconut that causes it to firm once blended. I have often taken the meat and blended it a with a little water and then chilled it. I was a heavenly thick pudding all on it’s own. You could always give it a try. Just make the vanilla mousse with it and see how it comes out before assembling the cake. Just in case it didn’t turn out, I would hate to see a whole cake of all those beautiful ingredients be wasted. Have a great day, amie sue

  2. kaya says:

    Good morning dear Amie Sue
    I’m in love with your amazing site.
    I’m in love with your creativity and the unique style of yours!
    You are honestly- the number 1 connoisseur of all the times ever, for me!
    I enjoy your recipes daily,weekly,monthly and yearly.
    Unbelievably gorgeous
    Thank you so much
    God bless your hands

    • amie-sue says:

      Awe gosh Kaya, thank you. hugs! I hope the recipe continue to bring you great inspiration in the kitchen! If you need any guidance, I am happy to help. Blessings, amie sue

  3. ben says:

    Looks astonishing. Tiramisu was one of my favorite sweets, but I don’t eat dairy or eggs anymore. I’m sure your recipe is way superior in taste and texture–and it looks heavenly.

  4. Sara Schechla says:

    I just printed this to make this week, and I noticed that when I click on the PDF link, the ingredient lists for the cake, and vanilla mousse layer don’t transfer over. Only the choc mousse layer does. Is this just me? I noticed it on the pineapple upside down tart too (I had to go back and write the creme filling ingredients down). Just wanted to share that. As a positive- I LOVE your dessert recipes! Everything of yours that I have made is delicious!

    • amie-sue says:

      Hi Sara… I apologize for this. It is a glitch with the plug-in that we use for WordPress. We are trying to get this fixed. This site is becoming like an old car… it continually needs maintenance and a few kicks to the bumper. hehe I hope to have this resolved soon! amie sue

  5. GypsiSky says:

    This looks soooo yummy! My husband’s birthday is this month and he has already informed me that he wants me to make this for him, lol.

  6. E. Sara says:

    I will have to try this out for sure! thanks

  7. Meg Latham says:

    I have just read an article on Irish Moss and how bad it is for you! Can I use Agar as a substitute in all of the recipes for Moss? I am new to this raw food business and am on a pension so have to save up and buy a bit at a time!!

    • amie-sue says:

      Hi Meg,

      If you google it, there is a lot of information that backs both sides. Very frustrating how this information circulates. Agar can often be used, it will always depend on the recipe though. Have a great evening, amie sue

  8. Courtney says:

    We made this for Mother’s Day this year – my mom sticks to vegan eating (and raw as much as possible) & I have Celiac disease and haven’t had Tiramisu in YEARS!
    I have got to say that this recipe is TO DIE FOR!!! The mousse layers are ULTRA-creamy and the cake layers are decadent and moist beyond belief!
    The best part is that since it’s made 1000% with things that are good for you, you feel GOOD after having it!
    UTTER PERFECTION! Hats off to you!

    • amie-sue says:

      Thank you Courtney, waking up to such a message really blessed me. I appreciate that you took the time to share with me. I am just tickled pink. Have a blessed day, amie sue :)

  9. Carolina says:

    I just discovered your site thanks to this recipe, and I already bookmarked a few more. Many thanks to you for finding a delicious way to make well known dishes raw/vegan and then taking the time to share them with us.

    I look forward to the next one!

  10. Jimmy says:

    I just discovered your website whiles browsing for my sisters birthday cake ideas, OH My God! I cannot believe how amazing and talented you are!
    I have a question, as young coconuts are harder for me to get, can I use can coconut cream ( the top thick layer after refrigerating the can)? Or would it not solidify?

    Thank you in advance,


  11. Annabel says:

    Ahh it’s ok I think I just realized the problem. I’m pretty sure I did 1 CUP of Irish moss gel instead of 1 tablespoon! Woops. Back to the drawing board I go!

    • amie-sue says:


      This recipe is using agar agar not Irish moss. Are you trying to substitute the agar with Irish moss? amie sue

  12. Jacob Carstens says:

    Hi Amie-Sue,
    I just LOVE your site :-)
    And that TIRAMISU looks SO NICE – gonna make it soon.
    However I have a Q – im having trouble finding fresh young thai coconuts in Copenhagen and also I dont want it to taste too much of coconut. Thus im thinking of making at least 1 or both of the mousses using avocado or maybe tofu (though i guess thats not RAW) – do you think that would work ? Or perhaps you have other suitable substitutions for the coconut cream. Looking forward to your reply :-)
    Love Jacob

    • amie-sue says:

      Good evening Jacob,

      Thank you. I really enjoyed making that cake. I understand that it can be a real challenge to find young Thai coconuts. I can’t answer the tofu question only because I haven’t tried it. I can’t eat soy so I haven’t ever dabbled much with it. As far as avocado goes… I often don’t care for it in recipes like these due to the flavor it adds, but that could just be my taste buds. Personally, I would try using soaked cashews. To get the same 2 cup measurement of the coconut, soak about 1 1/2 cup of cashews in water for 2+ hours. Drain and rinse. Then put them in the blender and then add enough water to get to two cups. Blend until creamy and you don’t feel any grit in the batter. Add more water if it seems to thick. You don’t want a paste but you want it thick and creamy.

      What do you think of this idea?

  13. Nicole says:

    Just tried this recipe for mother’s day (for me and my mum) – it tasted great, but didn’t have anywhere near the firm texture of your photos above. I ended up substituting egg yolk for the lecithin (I’m avoiding soy), and think I may have accidentally used the smaller amount of agar agar from the vanilla layer for the chocolate layer. I also ground soaked almonds rather than using almond milk pulp (I usually make cashew milk), which may have made it softer than above. Any tips to get that firm looking tiramisu you have above?

    Everyone still loved it (hubby, mum and dad both ate this over the store bought banana cake bought for the kids!)

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Nicole. Great job on testing out the recipe. I find that if I want to experiment with a recipe, that I first make it as the instructions indicate, then if I want to make changes I do so one ingredient at a time so I can see how different ingredients effect the outcome of the recipe. I avoid soy too, but they do make a sunflower lecithin which is what I now use. It sounds like you found a creative and yummy way to enjoy the softer cake in the end. :) Have a blessed weekend, amie sue

  14. Irm says:

    Hi Amie-Sue,

    This was one of my favorites back in the days when I still used eggs. I really want to make this one. Is it also possible to use psyllium husk in this recipe and how much?


    • amie-sue says:

      Good question Irm. I can’t really answer that question because I haven’t tried it myself. If you do try it, make sure to use it in a fine powder form. I would think no more than 2 Tbsp. But you will have to experiment. Sorry, amie sue

  15. Christine says:

    Hi Amie Sue. I made your Tiramisu for dessert for Christmas Day 2014, using Agar. I have made raw desserts before using avocados but really wanted that stiff yet silky texture. This was a learning experience for me but the end result was absolutely delicious and looked fabulous – my family were amazed. I did use more Agar than your recipe as it didn’t stiffen up to begin with, but thankfully with a bit of determination it worked. Thank You so much, I will endeavour to try some of your other desserts. Christine.

    • amie-sue says:

      Good evening Christine,

      I am so proud of you for trying this recipe. People tend to find agar frightening to work with, it just forces a person to step out of their comfort zone to find out that it is REALLY easy to work with. hehe So happy to hear that you all enjoyed the Tiramisu. I really appreciate that you shared this with me, it means a lot. Love and Blessings! amie sue

  16. Karin says:

    For tiramisu without Irish moss, what do you think would work better — using agar agar, as described here, or substituting with kelp noodles as per your other post?

    I made a version once without either and it tasted nice, but was nowhere near as fluffy and light as yours appears to be. Looking forward to to making it! Thank you for sharing all of these beautiful recipes.

    • amie-sue says:

      I haven’t tested it with the kelp noodle paste so I can’t say 100% what the outcome would be. So I would go with the agar if you to get the results shown here. Otherwise you can experiment and let me know how it goes. :)

      Have a blessed and glorious day, amie sue

  17. Alex r says:

    Will this work with agar agar flakes or only powder?

  18. evelien says:

    Hello amie-sue

    I made this tiramisu for the 73th birthday of my mother.
    We absolutely loved it !
    thank you for this wonderful recipe.

    enjoy your day..
    Evelien (Belgium)

    • amie-sue says:

      Good afternoon Evelien,

      Oh that just warms my heart to heart. I am honored that I was part of your mother’s birthday celebration. :) Please be sure to pass my love and birthday wishes on to her. Thanks for sharing and have a blessed evening, amie sue

  19. Glorianne says:

    Hi Amie Sue, This looks fabulous. Since I don’t have any almond pulp, what can I substitute? Almond flour? Or? Thanks!

    • amie-sue says:

      Good afternoon Glorianne,

      You can use fresh ground almonds, it will just be denser in texture. My favorite is with the almond pulp so one day I do recommend trying it that way when you have some almond pulp. :) Let me know how it goes. Blessings, amie sue

  20. sunshine says:

    Hi Amie-sue. I love your recipes and just tried making the tiramisu with agar agar for the first time. I Think I was very carefully with the recipe But some How the cake started melting in the fridge after i took it out of the freezer cut some pieces and let i sit in the fridge overnight. Do you have any idea Why? Is it Because you are not supposed to freeze it when you say “chill”? Could that have any influence. ?? I used the agar agar flakes in the recipe….

    • amie-sue says:

      Good evening Sunshine,

      I am sorry to hear this. Let’s see if we can nail down the issue. First of all, I don’t use agar flakes only because I have read over the years of people having too many variances with the outcome of recipes. I can’t really speak from experience if it was the flakes. How much of the flakes did you use? The powder and the flakes are totally different in the amounts that you use. With flakes, you use about 3x more.

      When you say “melting” which layer is getting watery?

      Freezing should have anything to do with it.

      I look forward to hearing back from you. amie sue

  21. sunshine says:

    Hi amie sue. Im making a tiramisu inspired mousse cake. Is it Best to chill agar agar in the fridge 1-2 (after blending Ofc). Or Can i put directly into the freezer. Does it make a difference for the consistency?

    • amie-sue says:

      Good day Sunshine,

      I haven’t tried taking putting it directly into the freezer. I have frozen agar cheeses and it changes the texture a tad… so I would just follow the directions as presented. If you wish to experiment, go for it and keep me posted. :) Blessings, amie sue

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