- Espresso Syrup:
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso/ strong coffee powder
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 cup (125ml) boiling water
- 1 tablespoon Marsala (I used Baileys Irish Cream)
- 250 g mascarpone cheese
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons Marsala (I used Baileys Irish Cream)
- 1 cup (250 ml) heavy/whipping cream
- 24 about 24 sponge fingers (savoiardi)
- 50 g dark chocolate
- cocoa powder, to dust
- dark and white chocolate shavings (optional)
- strawberries for decoration (optional)
To make the Espresso Syrup:
Dissolve instant espresso coffee powder, sugar in boiling water. Leave to cool. Stir in 1 tablespoon Baileys Irish Cream. Set aside.
To make the Filling:
In a mixing bowl, with a manual whisk, whisk mascarpone cheese with icing sugar, vanilla extract, Baileys Irish Cream and 3 tablespoons of the espresso syrup until blended.
With an electric mixer whisk the whipping cream until soft peak (do not over whip). With a spatula, fold in 1/4 of the whipped cream to the mascarpone mixture. Fold in the remaining whipped cream to the mascarpone mixture.
To assemble the cake:
Cut off one end of the sponge fingers so that each one is about 3" in length. Line the sides of a 7" round baking pan* (with a removable base or use a springform pan) with the sponge fingers (do not dip them in the espresso syrup). You will need about 17 sponge fingers (depending on the type/brand). If the last sponge finger cannot fit in nicely, trim away part of it to fit it in. Save the leftover small pieces.
One at a time, gently dip (do not soak) sponge fingers in the espresso syrup and use them to line the base of the pan. Cut the sponge fingers into shorter lengths if necessary. Use the leftover pieces to fill the gaps.
Spoon over half of the filling. Spread evenly. Grate the dark chocolates over the filling. Repeat with another layer of sponge fingers and spoon over the remaining filling. Spread and smooth the top. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, best left overnight.
Just before serving, unmold the cake and dust the top with cocoa powder. Decorate with dark and white chocolate shavings and strawberries (as desired).
(*Note: If you do not have a springform pan or a pan with a removable base, you can improvise by lining a normal round pan with a large sheet of aluminium foil. Give allowance of about 1~2 inches for the foil to hang over the rim of the pan. Place a cake board inside the lined pan. Follow the steps above. To unmold, simply lift up the cake from the pan by gripping the foil. Transfer the cake onto a serving plate and carefully remove the foil. )