Mascarpone cream:
1/4 cup Kahlua (coffee liqueur)
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 pound mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Espresso syrup:
1 cup hot brewed espresso or strong coffee
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Store-bought sponge or pound cake
Semisweet or bittersweet chocolate for grating


1. Make mascarpone cream: Heat Kahlua in either microwave or on top of stove until hot. Dissolve espresso powder in hot Kahlua.

2. In bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together egg yolks and sugar by hand until combined. Place bowl over a pot of barely simmering water and whisk until mixture is hot to touch. Transfer bowl to mixer stand and beat at high speed until thick and glossy, about 3 minutes. Beat in Kahlua mixture.

3. Place mascarpone in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Gradually beat mascarpone into egg mixture, mixing just until blended and smooth.

4. In another bowl, either by hand or with mixer, beat heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar to medium peaks. Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture. Cover bowl and chill mixture for at least 2 hours.

5. Make espresso syrup: Stir sugar into hot espresso until dissolved. Set aside.

6. Assemble dessert: Cut sponge cake into eight discs that are 1/4" thick and 11/2" in diameter and eight discs that are 1/4" thick and 2" in diameter. Spoon a dollop of mascarpone cream into bottom of martini glass. Dunk small sponge round in espresso syrup and place on top of cream. Grate some chocolate over cake. Spoon another layer of mascarpone cream over chocolate. Dunk large sponge round in espresso syrup and arrange on top. Grate another layer of chocolate over cake. Spoon another layer of mascarpone cream on top and cover with another layer of grated chocolate. Repeat to make 8 desserts. Cover and refrigerate desserts for at least 2 hours before serving.

Earth & Ocean at the W Hotel, 1112 Fourth Ave., Seattle, WA 98101; 206-264-6060.

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