The classic Italian dessert. A layer of creamy custard set atop espresso-soaked ladyfingers.
1 sponge cake, (10 to 12?)
3 ounces strong brewed black coffee or espresso
3 ounces brandy or rum
1 1/2 pound cream cheese or mascarpone, room temperature
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
unsweetened cocoa powder
Cut across middle of sponge cake forming two layers, each about 1 1/2 inches high.
Blend coffee and brandy. Sprinkle enough of mixture over bottom half of cake to flavor it strongly. Don’t moisten cake too much or it may collapse on serving. Beat room-temperature cheese and 1 cup sugar until sugar is completely dissolved and cheese is light and spreadable. Test for sweetness during beating, adding more sugar if needed.
Spread cut surface of bottom layer with half of the cheese mixture. Replace second layer and top this with remaining cheese mixture. Sprinkle top liberally with sifted cocoa.
Refrigerate cake for at least 2 hours before cutting and serving.