Icebox Cake and Tiramisu is Having a Moment

Icebox Cake and Tiramisu is Having a Moment

Tiramisu is a staple in Italian bakeries and restaurants, but I remember my disappointment when I heard Bar Mezzana had taken theirs off the menu (fear not it is now back I think.) These layers of cream and cookie are having a little moment right now and I am here for the original and every variation.

Tiramisu literally means “pick me up” and we could all use a little pick me up now and again. The dessert is layers of lady fingers dipped on a mix of coffee and liqueur, layered with a rich , sweetened, creamy, egg and mascarpone mixture and dusted with cocoa powder.

The best one I have had in Boston was the original one made for two and served in a large bowl at Bar Mezzana manybyears ago It seems a tiramisu did make an appearance on Bar Mezzana’s supper club menu recently. Just down the road on Newbury Street, Faccia e Faccia has a gluten free tiramisu with ladyfingers, cardamom cream, coffee liqueur, espresso. For a classic North End experience, I like an espresso and tiramisu at Caffé Vittoria.

The icebox cake became popular in America in the 1920’s and 30’s. It is cookies layered with cream much like a tiramisu, but often with chocolate or graham cookies. Growing up, our Israeli friends taught my mom a version of their icebox cake called Oogat Biscuitim. It is made with what I always knew as Lu petit beurre cookie in France and the Israeli version is typically Osem brand petit beurre cookies.

If you are ready to explore beyond tiramisu, here are some options available now.


Spoke Wine Bar, in Davis Square, has an icebox cake tiramisu on the menu right now and it is dreamy. It also happens to be gluten free. The icebox cake tiramisu has the lovely vanilla notes of tonka bean as well as a coffee anglaise and a dark chocolatey layer of cookie which takes on that tender cake-like texture, which is the magic of an icebox cake.

Broadsheet Coffee

Broadsheet Coffee Roasters recently had a gingersnap tiramisu on offer in their coffee shop. Their treats change often so you may not be able to get it on any given day.


Maprang in Union Square has a banoffee which I feel like may be a slight tangent but has that same cream forward layering so I’m including it too. Banoffee has to have the two essential flavours merged in the name: banana and toffee.

Asaro Bakery and Café

Asaro Bakery and Café have their biscuit cake. It is made with butter biscuits and creamy layers. Their version is drizzled with dulce de leche and sprinkled with little chocolate pearls that offer a nice chocolatey crunch.

Banana Pudding

I feel like banana pudding belongs here too. Magnolia Bakery may no longer be in Boston, but you can still find some good layers of vanilla wafers, bananas and cream. Pick one up at Little Pecan Bistro in Brighton. Mia’s Brooklyn Bakery in Chestnut Hill has tiramisu and banana pudding.


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