Nonna’s Dolce di Marie

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Limoncello and Linen Water

Limoncello and Linen Water

By Tessa Kiros

Published 2012

  • About

I was surprised when various friends told me of this cake that their nonnas made. And when I made it I was surprised to find everyone still likes it, even if they haven’t had it for years. It would have been the kind of thing that was thrown together with simple ingredients always on hand. It reminds me of the Marie biscuits we used to have as children — one with a layer of butter, another with a layer of jam and sandwiched together.


  • 160 g ( oz) sugar
  • 120 ml (4 fl oz) strong espresso coffee, cooled
  • 200 g (7 oz) butter, softened
  • 300 g (10½ oz) rectangular marie (petit beurre) biscuits
  • 30 g (1 oz) dark unsweetened chocolate, grated
  • about 1 teaspoon ground coffee beans


Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar to the espresso coffee and stir until it dissolves. Pour into a flat bowl. Using electric beaters, cream the remaining sugar and the butter together until smooth and pale.

You will need a rectangular dish close to 25 x 18 cm (10 x 7 inches). Start with a single layer of biscuits. Dip the biscuits one by one in the coffee, making sure they are bathed on both sides but not so much that they go soggy or fall apart. Lay them on the bottom of the dish to completely cover it. Spatula one-quarter of the butter cream over, spreading it evenly. Next, scatter one-quarter of the chocolate over the top. Take a pinch of the ground coffee and scatter that over the chocolate.

Repeat the procession three more times, finishing with a final scattering of chocolate and ground coffee. Your work is done. Put it in the fridge for an hour or two before cutting off a small square for a snack. It’s rather rich, so you judge how big you want the squares to be.