An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Pick Me Up


Worn down by demanding schedules and life in general, we could all use a little pick-me-up now and then, be it in the form of a stiff drink, a jolt of caffeine, or a pleasant little sugar buzz. Or, as some forward-thinking Italians realized so many years ago, all of the above. Enter the tiramisu, so aptly named and translated to just that, “pick me up” or “pull me up;” a dessert designed to awaken the senses. Traditionally combining espresso, coffee liqueur, and of course a decent dose of the sweet stuff, even the smallest helping sounds potent enough to fuel the most grueling of all-nighters. Perhaps the Daring Bakers were feeling my study blues as of late, because a more perfect challenge couldn’t have been chosen for this homework heavy month.

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

Tiramisu and I are no strangers, having romanced briefly in the pages of My Sweet Vegan, in the form of a Japanese-fusion, green tea version. Although back then I used what amounted to a sponge cake for the lady fingers, I had already planned to revisit this approach in my next book, and had thus developed bona fide vegan lady fingers for my latest creation.

Already halfway to the finish line, it was only a matter of choosing flavors from there. Opting to take advantage of the abundant citrus, a pinch of lemon zest went into those lovely lady fingers. A perfect highlight to brighten up the whole dessert, and making a pairing of limoncello only natural. To add depth, a rich chocolate mousse seemed the only thing that would do. Instead of a paltry topping of cocoa powder, I grated on a thick, crunchy topping of chocolate shavings, lending both texture and flavor in one fell swoop.

My only regret for this month’s challenge was that I reduced the recipes to make a tiny batch of only two individual servings- I could have used a pick me up like this every day!

Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

58 thoughts on “Pick Me Up

  1. i LOVE tiramisu, your version looks so beautiful! i’m sure it was delicious

  2. ooooh i love tiramisu and that looks amazing. oh, and speaking of your second book, any details on it? i can’t wait to see what kind of treats are going into it!

  3. Lady fingers with a pinch of lemon zest and limoncello..The perfect couple!!Delicious!!!

  4. Oh Cute ! I make cookies, they look so close to true. You could send us the recipe?

    Bravo, good challenge.

  5. That is GORGEOUS! Lemoncello!

  6. Oh…….. I already love the matcha tiramisu from your book, but now this one looks just as fantastic! How long will you make us wait for the recipe?

  7. Looks gorgeous Hannah! I even thought the serving was small as it was… lol… You know how people hear about you having to do another challenge and sort of volunteer to help finish it all of… It was gone in a heartbeat!

  8. Well done Hannah ! Vegan tiramisu is not stranger to me either. I already made one last July, which became one of my best recipe as the vegan mascarpone I made came entirely from my imagination : cashews mixed with coconut milk and soy lecithin. You should make a try once. You won’t be disappointed ! Your tiramisu sounds very yummy with that pinch of citrus, just love it ! Wouldn’t stay very long on my plate !

  9. That looks so beautiful, I love all the different flavors you’ve got in there, I think they would complement each other perfectly. The lemon would brighten up the heavy richness of the coffee flavor just wonderfully. Another beautiful inspiration from you, Hannah! Thank you!

  10. Wow, a fantastic flavour twist. I really hope it finds its way into your next book. I was writing my DB post when I saw your tweet. I love seeing all the creative departures the Daring Bakers take from the challenge.

  11. This looks fabulous! The lady fingers look so moist and the chocolate looks decadent – I too hope this finds it’s way into a book :)

  12. Tiramisu is basically my favorite dessert. I love that you did a vegan version of it. I kind of regret that you only made two servings as well…I totally would have flown to wherever you live just to have a bite!

  13. That looks amazing! I wish I had the patience to make Tiramisu!

  14. Oooh, you’re writing a next book? Exciting!!

  15. This looks beautiful–I’m glad the link works now! Your ladyfingers are gorgeous and I can’t even imagine how you did it. Fantastic!

  16. OMG- I´ve been on the kick of having choclatey things with lime lately- love, love, love it! I can taste your tiramisu through my screen… mmmh, some more please :)

  17. Ooo, what a great combo! Gorgeous!

  18. Mmmmmm, lemon and chocolate mousse sounds so yummy! Great looking photos!

  19. This looks amazing!!!!!

  20. Yummm… that last picture has me so wanting a taste!! Beautiful job!!

  21. I loved this challenge. The taste was fantastic. You did a great job here. It looks absolutely perfect.

  22. Ooh, wonderful! When you said “citrus” I felt a little sad because so often citrus + chocolate = orange, which is simply a flavour combination I can’t get into. But I love lemon desserts, so hurrah! Yumminess all around!

  23. yum, these look lovely – the chocolate mousse sounds like a delicious addition.

  24. Love the look of the servings and adding lemon zest sounds like a real good idea!

  25. Looks absolutely amazing! Great job!

  26. I remember that green tea tiramisu, and now this! Looks stunning!

  27. Lovely tiramisu. Very nicely done.

  28. I love the lemon/coffee combination!

  29. Wonderful job on your tiramisu. I love the flavor combinations you chose…limoncello…Yum!

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

  30. Your Tiramisu is lovely. :) Great job on this challenge!

  31. Would love to know how to make those ladyfingers! Looks so good and decadent.

  32. Hannah, it looks delicious. I could you that kind of pick me up right now… or any other day.

  33. Looks good, Hannah. Wouldn’t mind one of them now. :)
    Thanks for baking with us.

  34. Yum! I have never tried Tirimisu, can you believe it! Yours looks just amazing, as does everything else you make.


  35. Wait, did you say next book? That would be awesome! I’d love to bake vegan ladyfingers and make your tiramisu version, which looks so gorgeous.

  36. OMG! You have beautiful photos! Your food is amazing!

  37. This looks so yummy!

  38. Thank you for this beautiful post Hannah. Your Tiramisu is absolutely singing to me. It’s gorgeous. Just saw it on FG & thought I MUST stop by.

  39. You blew this challenge out of the water! It looks sooo yummy!

  40. YUM! I’m dyeing to get the recipe!

  41. oh yum.. Great idea adding citrus in to the creamy dessert. I like the different textures on offer, definitely gives the traditional tiramisu a greta face lift.

  42. Good lord, that looks amazing. I’ll bet citrus was the perfect touch. I would love a slice of that!

  43. Dude, I want! When does your next book come out again?

  44. Tiramisu is my husband’s absolute favorite dessert and yet I have never tried to make it! I thought a vegan version would be impossible, but you’ve given me hope.

  45. Oh, yes, that would definitely pick up my spirits, all right! The combo of lemon and chocolate sounds incredible. That mousse is begging to be eaten!

  46. That square is a beautiful, beautiful thing. And only two servings! Oh man that’s tragic. Bittersweet even? ;)

  47. Limoncello, lemon zest and choclate mousse? YUM..and it looks gorgeous! Well done as always!

  48. Thank you for putting such a refreshing spin on one of my favorite desserts! I’ve never actually had limoncello, but you make the combination sound wonderful.

  49. So true, I made mine for a friend’s birthday, and I only had 1 slice, I wish I made more for later consumption =(. Yours look gorgeous.

  50. wow looks amazing. How inspirational to use lemoncello and proper chocolate shavings.

  51. Your ladyfingers are gorgeous! I have never eaten tiramisu and found this to be a difficult challenge. Yours is beautiful!

  52. What a gorgeous tiramisu!

  53. I could use one of these pick me ups today. I am soooo tired and cranky.

  54. I love all these challenge variations. Yours looks great!

  55. yummmmm your tiramisu looks delicious!
    What a great version for this challenge.
    I love the flavors combination and the pictures are great
    Beautifully done!
    (also a DB)

  56. I am so impressed with your lady finger cookies! I haven’t been able to find a good vegan version of those just yet.
    The finished plate of tiramisu looks great, too :)

  57. Heyy, this looks amazing!
    Could I have the recipe by any chance??

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