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Kulfi Tiramisu – this Indian tiramisu fusion combines creamy, cardamom-scented kulfi Indian ice cream with coffee infused cake to create a show stopping, layered dessert. It’s absolutely epic!

slices of kulfi tiramisu on white plates
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Aren’t Indian fusion cakes fun? I made my Rasmalai tres leches cake, and it has been very popular and it’s super delicious, so I decided to make another traditional cake into an Indian dessert version. This Indian tiramisu fusion recipe uses my tiramisu sheet cake and keeps the coffee in the cake layer.

kulfi tiramisu in the pan before chilling

Then, you top it with this amazing cardamom cream that would remind you of Indian Kulfi. No coming is needed for the cream layer. Just blend and pour. Once it’s chilled, it thickens into an almost ice cream-like texture, called kulfi.

slice of Indian tiramisu on a white plate with a bite taken out

Kulfi is traditionally made by slowly cooking down milk with cardamom and other seasonings, then freezing it. In this recipe, we skip all of that cooking down and use a combination of coconut milk and nuts to thicken the mixture without needing to use the stove at all.

For the kulfi tiramisu, I make the cake and split it into two, so you get these two thin cake layers with two kulfi cream layers. It is a delicious, decadent dessert that you can serve for festivals, like Diwali, or even the holidays and Thanksgiving!

overhead photo of a slice of Indian tiramisu on a white plate with a fork

Why You’ll Love Kulfi Tiramisu

  • two sweet, coffee-flavored cake layers
  • two creamy, cardamom-scented kulfi layers
  • crunchy pistachios on top
  • soy-free recipe. Options for gluten-free, coconut-free, and nut-free

More Vegan Indian Fusion Desserts

close-up of a slice of Indian tiramisu on a white plate with a fork

Kulfi Tiramisu (Indian Cardamom Pistachio Tiramisu)

5 from 4 votes
By: Vegan Richa
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 28 minutes
Chilling Time: 3 hours
Total: 3 hours 38 minutes
Servings: 12
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian Fusion
Kulfi Tiramisu – this Indian tiramisu fusion combines creamy, cardamom-scented kulfi with coffee infused cake to create a showstopping, layered dessert. It’s absolutely epic!
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Equipment

  • 8×8" baking dish or brownie pan
  • parchment paper

Ingredients 
 

Cake Dry Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar, use 2 tablespoons more for sweeter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Cake Wet Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 3 tablespoon oil
  • 2 tablespoon non-dairy yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Espresso Syrup

  • 1/2 cup coffee, or 2 espresso shots and then add hot water until you get 1/2 cup
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar

For the Kulfi Layer

  • 15 ounce can of full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in warm water for 10-15 mins then drained
  • 3 tablespoon raw pistachios
  • 2 green cardamom pods, or use 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

For Topping

  • chopped raw pistachios, or almond slivers or any other topping that you like

Instructions 

Make the cake.

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C) and line an 8×8" baking pan or brownie dish with parchment paper
  • Add all of the dry ingredients to a large bowl, and mix really well. Then, add the wet ingredients — add the milk first, then the oil, yogurt, and vanilla extract — and mix really well until you get a smooth batter. If the batter is too thick, add another tablespoon of milk.
  • Then, pour this batter into the lined baking dish, and bake for 28 to 30 minutes or until the toothpick from the middle comes out clean.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes, then remove it from the pan and let it cool completely. I usually put the cake in the fridge, so that it cools faster. A cool cake is easier to slice in half. Refrigerate for 15 mins or so.

Make the coffee syrup while the cake bakes.

  • Combine the espresso shots with some warm water and the brown sugar, and mix well. If you don’t want the coffee to be too strong, you can add in another tablespoon of water to reduce the strength of the coffee flavor. Set this aside for now.

Make the kulfi cream while the cake cools.

  • Add the coconut milk, cashews, pistachios, green cardamom, sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice to a blender and blend. Blend for about a minute, then let the blender sit for 5 to 10 minutes, so that the broken down cashews can soften more. Blend again for 30 seconds, then let it sit for 2 minutes, then blend again for 30 seconds. Repeat this at least 3 to 4 times until you get a completely smooth cream. Taste and adjust the flavor based on your preference. Adjust sweet with sugar. You can also add in a bit more vanilla or cardamom, if you like. It really depends on your preference and also the age of the spices.
  • Set the cream mixture in the fridge to chill, so that it thickens a little bit. (15 mins in the fridge or 5 mins in the freezer)

Assemble the layers.

  • Once the cake is cool to the touch, slice it in half sideways to get two cake layers. Poke holes in both the cake layers on the cut side using a toothpick or bamboo skewer, then place one of the cake layers back into the baking dish and pour half of the coffee syrup all over this cake layer.
  • Spread half of the chilled kulfi cream mixture over the top, and even it out, then place the next cake layer on top and then drizzle with the remaining coffee syrup. Cover with the remaining chilled cream, and even it out with a spatula.
  • Chop up your pistachios, if you haven’t already, and then sprinkle them on top of the cake. You can just sprinkle them all over, use the pistachios to line just the edge, or however else you like.
  • Chill this cake for at least a few hours before slicing. I usually put it in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours, so that it's easy to slice and get out of the pan. It also is less messy this way. But it tastes great either which way, whether it's somewhat frozen or just chilled in the fridge.
  • Store refrigerated for upto 4 days and. Freeze for upto 3 months

Video

Notes

If the cream layer is too soft, you definitely want to put it in the freezer. The cream layer depends on the fat of the coconut milk, and if the coconut can isn’t full fat or it doesn’t have enough fat, then it won’t set as beautifully in the fridge. You can freeze it for 2 hours and then move it to the fridge. Once it softens in the fridge, it will still be set, because it has chilled really well in the freezer.
Soy-free, be sure that your non-dairy milk and yogurt are soy-free.
Gluten-free, use 1 cup of almond flour, 1/3 cup of oat flour, 1/3 cup of tapioca starch, and use 1 3/4 cup of this flour mixture instead of the all-purpose flour to make your cake. Instead of the 3/4 cup of milk, use 1/2 cup of milk and 1/4 cup of club soda.
Coconut-free, use 1/2 cup more cashews in the kulfi, so a total of 1 1/2 cups of cashews and blend it with the 3/4 cup of non-dairy milk and the rest of the ingredients until it is creamy.
Nut-free omit the cashews and pistachios and use 1/2 cup of coconut cream. You can also add in about 1/2 cup of silken tofu.

Nutrition

Calories: 291kcal, Carbohydrates: 29g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Sodium: 99mg, Potassium: 268mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 12g, Vitamin A: 18IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 64mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this recipe? Rate and comment below!
cake and kulfi ingredients in cups and bowls on a kitchen counter

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • all-purpose flour – makes the dry base of the cake. To make this gluten-free, use 1 cup of almond flour, 1/3 cup of oat flour, 1/3 cup of tapioca starch, and use 1 3/4 cup of this flour mixture instead of the all-purpose flour to make your cake. Instead of the 3/4 cup of milk, use 1/2 cup of milk and 1/4 cup of club soda.
  • sugar – To sweeten the cake and the kulfi cream layer.
  • baking powder, baking soda, and salt – For the perfect cake texture.
  • cardamom – You use ground cardamom to flavor the cake and either seeds from whole green cardamom pods or more ground cardamom in the kulfi.
  • non-dairy milk – Adds moisture to the cake.
  • oil – Gives the cake texture.
  • non-dairy yogurt – For the cake batter. Use soy-free and/or nut-free, if needed.
  • vanilla extract – Flavors the cake and the kulfi.
  • coffee – Use hot coffee or espresso plus hot water.
  • brown sugar – To make the coffee syrup.
  • full fat coconut milk – The fat in the coconut milk is key to getting the kulfi to set up properly, so don’t use light coconut milk or the kind meant for drinking.
  • cashews and pistachios – To thicken the kulfi. You’ll also sprinkle pistachios on top of the Indian tiramisu for garnish.
  • lemon juice – Adds a mild tang to the kulfi.

Tips

  • When making the cream, it’s important that you blend until completely smooth. Follow the blending directions carefully for the best results.
  • If the cream layer is too soft, you definitely want to put it in the freezer. The cream layer depends on the fat of the coconut milk, and if the coconut can isn’t full fat or it doesn’t have enough fat, then it won’t set as beautifully in the fridge. You can freeze it for a couple of hours and then move it to the fridge. Once it softens in the fridge, it will still stay set, because it has chilled really well in the freezer.

How to Make Indian Tiramisu

Make the cake first.

Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C) and line an 8×8″ baking pan or brownie dish with parchment paper.

Add all of the dry ingredients to a large bowl, and mix really well.

adding milk to the mixed dry ingredients

Then, add the wet ingredients — add the milk first, then the oil, yogurt, and vanilla extract — and mix really well until you get a smooth batter. If the batter is too thick, add another tablespoon of milk.

adding the rest of the wet ingredients to the dry
mixing the cake batter in the bowl

Then, pour this batter into the lined baking dish and bake for 28 to 30 minutes or until the cake is cooked when you check in the middle with a toothpick, where the toothpick comes out clean.

tiramisu cake batter in the pan

Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for five minutes, then remove it from the pan and let it cool completely.

I usually put the cake in the fridge after 5 minutes of cooling on the counter, so that it cools faster. A cool cake is easier to slice in half, so you really want the cake to be completely cool. Refrigerate for 15-20 mins

tiramisu cake layer in the pan board after baking
tiramisu cake layer in the pan board after baking

Make the coffee syrup while the cake bakes.

Combine the espresso shots with some warm water and the brown sugar, and mix well. If you don’t want the coffee to be too strong, you can add in another tablespoon of water to reduce the strength of the coffee flavor. Set this aside for now.

espresso syrup in a cup

Also make the kulfi cream while the cake cools.

Add the coconut milk, cashews, pistachios, green cardamom, sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice to a blender and blend.

kulfi cream in the blender after blending

Blend for about a minute, then let the blender sit for five minutes, so that the broken down cashews can soften more. Blend again for 30 seconds, then let it sit for 2 minutes, then blend again for 30 seconds. Repeat this at least 3 to 4 times until you get a completely smooth cream.

Taste and adjust the flavor based on your preference. You might want to add some more sugar, if you like it sweeter, and blend it again. You can also add in a bit more vanilla or cardamom, if you like. It really depends on your preference and also the age of the spices.

Set the cream mixture in the fridge to chill(15 mins in fridge or 5 mins in freezer), so that it thickens a little bit. 

Now, you’re ready to assemble the layers.

Once the cake is cool to the touch, slice it in half sideways to get two cake layers. Poke holes in both the cake layers on the cut side using a toothpick or bamboo skewer, then place one of the cake layers back into the baking dish and pour half of the coffee syrup all over this cake layer. 

tiramisu cake layer after slicing in half and poking holes, placed into the baking pan
drizzling espresso syrup over the first cake layer

Spread half of the chilled cream mixture over the top, and even it out, then place the next cake layer on top and then drizzle with the remaining coffee syrup. Cover with the remaining chilled cream, and even it out with a spatula. 

adding the first layer of kulfi cream
first kulfi cream layer, after evening it out with a spatula
adding the second cake layer to the pan
second cake layer covered in espresso syrup
adding the second kulfi cream layer to the pan

Chop up your pistachios, if you haven’t already, and then sprinkle them on top of the cake. You can just sprinkle them all over, use the pistachios to line just the edge, or however else you like.

chopping pistachios
adding the pistachios to the cake before chilling

Chill this cake for at least a few hours before slicing. I usually put it in the freezer for two to three hours, so that it’s easy to slice and get out of the pan. It also is less messy this way. But it tastes great either which way, whether it’s somewhat frozen or just chilled in the fridge. 

close-up of a slice of Indian tiramisu on a white plate with a bite taken out

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this recipe allergy friendly?

You can make this Indian tiramisu allergy friendly! It is naturally dairy-free and egg-less already.

To make this soy-free, just be sure that your non-dairy milk and yogurt are soy-free.

To make this gluten-free, use 1 cup of almond flour, 1/3 cup of oat flour, 1/3 cup of tapioca starch, and use 1 3/4 cup of this flour mixture instead of the all-purpose flour to make your cake. Instead of the 3/4 cup of milk, use 1/2 cup of milk and 1/4 cup of club soda.

To make this coconut-free, use 1/2 cup more cashews in the kulfi, so a total of 1 1/2 cups of cashews and blend it with the 3/4 cup of non-dairy milk and the rest of the ingredients until it is creamy.

To make this without nuts, omit the cashews and pistachios and use 1/2 cup of coconut cream instead of cashews. You can also add in about 1/2 cup of silken tofu.

Does tiramisu contain alcohol?

Traditional tiramisu uses amaretto or other alcohol to soak the ladyfingers. In this fusion recipe, we are making a cake and soaking it in espresso syrup, so it is alcohol-free.

What nationality is tiramisu?

Tiramisu originated in Italy.

Can I make this ahead?

Yes, make ahead and refrigerate for upto 4 days. Or freeze for upto 3 months. Thaw on the counter for an hour or refrigerate overnight before serving.

About Richa

Hi, I'm Richa! I create flavorful plant based recipes that are inspired by my Indian upbringing, including many gluten-free, soy-free, and oil-free options.

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14 Comments

  1. Angie says:

    5 stars
    Made this for a picnic potluck and it was fantastic. Following the directions I froze the finished product. Two hours before the picnic I removed the cake from the pan and cut it into 16 pieces and then returned it to the freezer until we left for the picnic. The semi frozen pieces looked classy amongst many other drooping desserts.

    1. Vegan Richa Support says:

      That’s awesome! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Rubab says:

    5 stars
    I just made this today! Tastes just like kulfi!!! Definitely should be enjoyed frozen.

    I also learnt that if you make this cake and put it on low like 160 for about an hour in the airfryer it will make vegan cake rusk 🙂 those came out super nice too!

    1. Richa says:

      Yay!

      Ooh great idea!

  3. Julie says:

    Could I use maple syrup throughout instead of white or brown sugar?

    1. Richa says:

      The cake won’t bake witb the added moisture. Reduce the amount of the milk if using maple.

      You can use maple in the soak and the cream layer. Maple will add a color to the cream layer

  4. Leo says:

    I’ve never made tiramisu because I don’t like coffee. Do you think coffee could be subbed for something else in this recipe? Maybe black tea? or Teeccino?

    1. Vegan Richa Support says:

      I think black tea would work, but I’ve never tried it.

  5. Claudia L says:

    Can you make this cake entirely ahead of time? Like a couple days ahead.

    1. Richa says:

      Yes!you can Freeze it for months! Take it out of the freezer and keep on the counter for an hour before serving or move to the fridge the day you want to serve

  6. Kelly says:

    Hi Richa, can we make the Tiramasu sugar free ?

    1. Richa says:

      You mean completely sugar free or use natural sugars like dates. You can use stevia or monkfruit and make it.

  7. A Lila Stonehouse says:

    Hello in your instructions ..no soaking cashews but in the picture displaying all ingredients the cashews are in a bowl of water???

    1. Richa says:

      Oops good catch. Either will work!