• 16 ladyfinger cookies
  • 1 1/2 cups warm milk
  • 3 tablespoons coffee powder
  • 4 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder or instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons coffee liqueur
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream


  1. Pour the warm milk into a wide, shallow dish. Mix in coffee powder and 2 tablespoons sugar until dissolved. Dip ladyfingers into the milk to soften them so that they will roll without breaking. (The ladyfingers should be thoroughly soaked through, but not to the point of falling apart or becoming soggy.)
  2. Lay a long piece of plastic wrap out on the counter. (It should be large enough to fit two rows of 8 ladyfingers, with a couple of extra inches of plastic wrap on each side.) Place two rows of ladyfingers, side by side, on the plastic wrap. Cover the ladyfingers with a second piece of plastic wrap, and place them in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.
  3. While they are chilling, prepare filling ingredients. In a mixing bowl, combine mascarpone cheese, remaining sugar, vanilla extract, coffee liquor and salt until well homogenized. In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream until it holds stiff peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture until combined.
  4. After 4 hours, remove the soaked and chilled ladyfingers from the refrigerator. Check to see if the ladyfingers have softened enough to become rollable. If some of the ladyfingers are still slightly crunchy, use a pastry brush to add a little extra milk to the ladyfingers, checking all sides and edges, and return the them to the fridge for an additional hour.
  5. Once the ladyfingers are pliable, take the top layer of plastic wrap off. Spread the filling in a thin, even layer over the surface of the ladyfingers, leaving a 1/2-inch border along one of the long sides.
  6. Carefully lifting the bottom piece of plastic wrap on the side closest to you, roll the ladyfingers away from you, curling the bottom ends into the center of the ladyfinger row until a swirl is seen on the sides of the roll cake.
  7. Refrigerate the roll cake, covered in plastic wrap, for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours to help the cake hold its shape.
  8. Remove the plastic wrap from the roll cake, and place the roll cake on the tray.
  9. Fill a pastry piping bag with whipped cream, or put the whipped cream into a plastic baggy and cut a small hole in one of the bottom corners to make your own pastry bag. Pipe the whipped cream on top of the roll cake to cover the seam between the two rows of ladyfingers.
  10. Dust the top of the roll cake with cocoa powder and cut the cake into slices. Serve chilled.