Whew! That was a lot of instructions! But I promise it comes together relatively quick and easy when you consider the totally delicious outcome. Ok, let’s assemble this!
Make an assembly line as follows: Ladyfingers, espresso, serving platter.
This is a layered dessert. The layers are cacao powder, ladyfingers dipped in espresso, mascarpone custard. Repeat, ending with cacao powder. (Don’t go higher than 3 layers or it may fall. I did 2 layers and actually served it on a half sheet cake pan lined with parchment. I began forming a rectangle with each ladyfinger about 2 inches from each side of the pan. A 9×13 pan will work.)
Start by sprinkling some of the Cacao mixture on the bottom of the serving platter.
The cake/ladyfingers are delicate so be sure to handle with care. (I was able to hold 4 in my hand at once then dip each one into the espresso mixture one at a time. Still, some of them broke in half but I still used them.)
Dip each ladyfinger into the espresso mixture. Be careful here. This cake is surprisingly absorbent, so, barely dip each piece of cake into the mixture on the cut side where it’s most absorbent and layer them on top of the cacao.
Spoon dollops of the custard onto the ladyfingers and gently spread out over top being careful not to move the ladyfingers or drag up a bunch of crumbs. Using an offset spatula works well, here.
Sprinkle more cacao powder and repeat the next two layers as above. End with the cacao powder mixture. Place in the refrigerator to chill at least 8-9 hours. Overnight is best.