What Makes Costco's Tiramisu Cake So Good

Whether you're a serious Italian dessert afficionado or you're just looking for a light dessert for summertime that won't leave you with a rock in your stomach on a hot and balmy night, tiramisu is an airy option that especially appeals to those whose sweet tooth also craves a bit of grown-up flavor. For those with some proven prowess in the home kitchen, Giada de Laurentiis dropped a viral tiramisu recipe on TikTok that sent bakers abuzz, but not everyone is prepared to take on this multi-step dessert on their own. If you find that you are a tiramisu lover who is in that very boat, then there's a Costco bakery item you need to know about, and that's the Costco tiramisu cake.

Resembling a classic tiramisu that is larger that a single serving, Costco's tiramisu cake is a fan favorite for easy access to this beloved Italian treat. While there's no substitute for heading to Italy and digging into a serving of tempting tiramisu in the land where it was invented, Costco's tiramisu cake can certainly provide the flavors you're looking for without forking over the fare for an international plane ticket or even turning on the oven. Twitter user @jyumulll claims that the Costco tiramisu cake is "so good for no reason," and we totally get it, but we've actually found plenty of good reasons, and here they are.

They don't add any bizarre flavors

Choice and variety aren't always the positives they seem to be. Sometimes, having too many choices can not only present a challenge in decision-making, but also offer up some pretty horrific options that will leave you scratching your head in confusion, especially where food is concerned. Consider bizarre candy cane flavors like ketchup and ham, or candy-corn-flavored foods like bratwurst. Did anyone even ask for these abominations? Fortunately, while Costco does play with ratios a bit, the store's take on tiramisu doesn't abandon the core flavors of the authentic Italian dessert.

Beyond a handful of baking staples like eggs and sugar, a classic tiramisu recipe requires ladyfingers, cocoa powder, mascarpone, rum, and espresso. Purists and the less adventurous, or simply those of us who appreciate an original, will be relieved to learn that Costco's tiramisu cake contains coffee soaked ladyfingers, mascarpone cheese frosting, and a cocoa dusting, as reported by TikTok fan account costcobuys. There's no need to worry about accidentally picking up a package of licorice or salmon tiramisu at Costco — they've stuck to the tried and true flavor profiles of the original, and that's part of what it makes so good to so many people.

Ladyfingers are light and flavorful

There are always contrarians for everything, but it's safe to say that few people enjoy a dense and heavy cake for dessert, or any other time. One of the key elements that draws fans to tiramisu time and time again is how light and airy it is, and that's largely thanks to the ladyfingers that form its base. 

As MasterClass describes, ladyfingers are made from sponge cake batter and are delightfully light when baked properly, making it all too easy for bites of tiramisu to go down the hatch without a second thought. Even better, Baking Bites states that the consistency of ladyfingers makes them perfect for soaking up flavors when immersed in liquids, and this is where the coffee and rum flavors make their way to a perfect tiramisu.

Light bites that are full of flavor are a rarity in the dessert world, and tiramisu owes much of its culinary success to the ladyfingers that comprise its core and give it is this fabulous consistency. Costco incorporate these traditionally soaked ladyfingers in its tiramisu cakes (via Pasta) but also surrounds them with additional sponge cake, in order to provide a larger cake format in an ingenious method of sizing up without sacrificing the essential ladyfingers that make tiramisu so good.

Mascarpone is a great dessert cheese

Before you read any further, allow us to inform you that mascarpone is one of those foods you might be pronouncing wrong, so take a moment to get it right before reading this aloud to anyone. Next up, it's important to understand that mascarpone and cream cheese are different, though both are used frequently in dessert recipes, particularly in frostings. From pronunciation to cream cheese confusion, there seems to be quite a bit about mascarpone that stymies the average eater, but one thing is for sure: It's a great dessert cheese.

As Real Simple reports, mascarpone is an Italian cheese that can be whipped into mascarpone cream, which is how it's traditionally used in tiramisu. Costco's tiramisu cake is no exception. Mascarpone is sweeter than cream cheese, and comes with a hint of acidity that partners well with the acidic profile of the espresso used to flavor the ladyfingers within tiramisu. Its luxuriously creamy texture is almost irresistible, too, making it the perfect addition to many desserts — and certainly enhancing any good tiramisu experience, including Costco's tiramisu cake.

Almost everyone loves chocolate

Do you personally know many people who hate chocolate? We didn't think so. While it may not be everyone's first choice of ice cream flavor or candy, it's tough to find someone who actually dislikes chocolate. And even if you do know one or two such naysayers, a survey by Shopkick reveals that 90% of Americans actually do rank chocolate as their top confection preference.

As it turns out, it may not be entirely our own weak decision-making that draws us back to the vice of chocolate over and over. BBC News reports that chocolate contains a handful of psychoactive chemicals that stimulate our brains in the same ways as cannabis and amphetamines. The amounts of these chemicals found in chocolate are significantly less (so you won't get high from chocolate or experience any sort of notable mind alteration), but they're still there, and they're likely triggering our brains to want more. Plus, the fat-to-sugar ratio of chocolate is almost non-existent in the natural world, with the exception of the human breastmilk that many of us experiences as newborns. Hence, we may be hardwired to recognize that formula and find it hard to resist, no matter how we were fed at birth. 

Whatever the real reason is that so many of us have a hard time walking away from chocolate, it's clear that most of us love it — and as Restaurant Clicks says, the chocolate flavor of Costco's tiramisu cake is just right.

No single flavor is overwhelming

As we've learned from the traditional recipe above, tiramisu is far from a one-note wonder. There's a lot going on in that fluffy little cloud of cake — and that's part of what many of us love about it — but this abundance of flavorful ingredients also adds the potential for seriously misjudging just how much of each component brings the right balance of final flavor. Classic tiramisu recipes have been honed in Italian kitchens over generations, but it's fair to be cautious when someone puts a new spin on a classic. Fortunately, one of the reasons fans find the Costco tiramisu cake so good is that it still maintains the right balance of flavors.

On Chick Advisor, user Txmom raves that Costco's tiramisu cake doesn't go overboard with any of the potentially overwhelming flavors like coffee or alcohol, but is still a rich overall combination. In other words, Costco mixed and matched its abundant ingredients just right. YouTube reviewer Chef T agrees that Costco tiramisu cake offers the ideal balance, praising its subtle coffee taste, ideal cake-to-cream ratio, and appropriate level of sweetness. Balancing so many powerful ingredients in a single dessert is no easy feat, but Costco tiramisu fans report that they've definitely pulled it off in a way that leaves little room for disappointment.

It's affordable

Okay, flavor and taste are a lot of what we're looking for in a great dessert, but most of us aren't heading to Costco because we love overpaying. Costco is the spot for low prices (even if that usually means buying in bulk, or at least larger sizes than we otherwise may have), and that means we typically expect most Costco buys to be a great deal. Fortunately, the Costco tiramisu cake is yet another affordable purchase offered by the megastore, and that certainly makes it even better in our opinion.

Pasta claims that the price isn't just good, but it's actually the best reason to buy a box of Costco's tiramisu cake, further noting that it even goes on sale occasionally, making it an even better buy. And, while Honolulu Magazine wasn't the biggest fan of the cake itself, they did admit that it was an extreme value for the money, especially when sliced into seven slices equivalent to sizes found at restaurants. It can even be sliced further without drawing strange glances to seriously maximize the dollars per serving. If you're wondering whether it wouldn't be cheaper to whip up a tiramisu cake yourself, Rather-Be-Shopping reports that it's definitely not, in this case. With the number and volume of ingredients you'd need, this is a rare case of a finished recipe being cheaper to purchase than to make yourself (if you even know how).

It's big

Exaggerated size is a signature trait of Costco goods that helps create the affordability we all love from this warehouse retailer. And, as the Costco tiramisu cake is surprisingly affordable, it logically follows that it should be considerably larger than a traditional tiramisu. And it certainly is.

CostCuisine reports that Costco's tiramisu cake is large enough to feed up to 15 people if needed, but you're probably still wondering exactly how big it is, since anyone can slice a cake as small as they choose. According to Hip2Save, the Costco tiramisu cake is more than two pounds, and if you check the label in the provided images of their report, you'll find the exact weight to be precisely 2.38 pounds. That may not sound like a ton, but when you consider how light and airy a slice of tiramisu is, you'll begin to fathom just how much tiramisu cake this 2.38-pound treat really packs.

It's age appropriate for anyone

By now, you've probably noticed that there have been several mentions of alcohol in this list of reasons that people find the Costco tiramisu cake to be so good. If so, you may be wondering if you'll need photo identification in order to purchase one of these cakes, and if it's safe or legal to serve some to friends and family under the age of 21. If you are hoping to serve to this at an event that would include younger guests, there's good news for you: Costco tiramisu cake is age appropriate for anyone.

According to CostCuisine, there's no real alcohol in Costco tiramisu cake. Thus, there are no legal or moral issues to consider no matter whom is present when you serve this cake, and anyone with a Costco membership can purchase it. That said, you may now be wondering if this tiramisu cake really delivers on authentic tiramisu flavor without any actual alcohol included in its preparation, but CostCuisine again confirms that it does taste as if there is alcohol included, even though there isn't. Exactly how Costco accomplishes this feat is unclear, but suffice it to say that anyone can enjoy Costco tiramisu cake without worry of alcohol content, yet this doesn't detract from the dessert's target taste.

It's sturdy

Let's face it: Sometimes our eyes are bigger than our stomachs and we take more than we need, whether at the grocery store or the dining room table. That can certainly be the case with desserts like cakes, but there's also that familiar phenomenon called the impulse buy. And if you feel like Costco tricked you into spending more money by scooping up a giant tiramisu cake that you can't possibly eat before it goes bad, don't fret. This cake holds up to all sorts of adversity, including changed appetites.

If you purchase a Costco tiramisu cake and later decide you're not quite ready for it, Pasta reports that you can simply freeze the cake without worry, and it'll be ready for you when you find yourself craving tiramisu again later. Redditor bwinney, who presumably works for Costco, confirms that the cake arrives at Costco bakeries frozen, so it's made to withstand freezing temperatures and come out the other end just as light and fluffy as if it were freshly made. Further, it's not just cravings and impulse errors that can pose problems for delicious desserts like the Costco tiramisu cake; you may be planning to bring it to a special event and wondering if such an airy cake can hold up to transport. Once again, Pasta confirms this cake is remarkably sturdy enough to withstand travel despite its delicate composition, making it an especially worry-free purchase. This is also a bonus for singles needing to store leftovers.

It's pretty

Logically, taste is a critical component for just about anything we plan to eat, but the rise of cooking competition shows and viral culinary TikToks have put presentation and plating toward the top of the must list for any bite we encounter today. Even before modern entertainment, perhaps no course has relied on beauty and wow factor more than the decadence of dessert, so if a cake is going to be deemed worthwhile, you can expect that it better be beautiful. In the case of the Costco tiramisu cake, fans say it's every bit as lovely as you'd hope.

While it appears from the reports we've already seen that the Costco tiramisu cake slightly changes appearance either through time or through location, it remains true that fans love the presentation regardless. When CostCuisine reviewed the tiramisu cake, they applauded its lovely appearance, specifically appreciating the decorative coffee bean flourishes atop extra dollops of frosting on the cake's top surface. While Yahoo seems to have reported on a different presentation of the Costco tiramisu cake, they were equally impressed with its appearance, calling it "gorgeous." If you'll be serving this at your own party or presenting it as a hostess gift for someone else's get-together, rest assured that your guests or fellow merrymakers are just as likely to be impressed by how lovely the Costco tiramisu appears.

It actually tastes good

If you've made it all the way to the end of the list, reading reason after reason why the Costco tiramisu cake is a worthwhile purchase, you're may still find yourself wondering about one very important question, and that's how this new take on tiramisu tastes. Okay, here's the most important answer you're looking for: It actually tastes good. Reviewers of the Costco tiramisu cake aren't just gaga for the balance, the flavor profiles, the consistency, the size, and the price — they actually love eating it.

YouTube taste tester Knock One Out tried the Costo tiramisu cake and, while he did actually note some areas for improvement that you may or may not agree with, he rated the tiramisu cake as quite good overall, particularly praising the use of real cream in the frosting. More emphatically, Instagram stan account @costcobuys raves about the tiramisu cake, calling it a "little slice of Italy" and deeming it one of their all-time favorite Costco bakery buys. If that's not enough to encourage you to take the plunge and try one for yourself, we're not really sure what it would take.