- 165g/5½oz soft butter
- 100g/3½oz light brown sugar
- 100g/3½oz caster sugar
- 4 free-range eggs
- 260g/9oz self-raising flour
- 80g/3oz ricotta cheese
- 3 tbsp coffee essence or 2 tbsp coffee dissolved in 4 tbsp water
- 12 amaretti biscuits, roughly crumbled
- icing sugar and cocoa powder, for dusting
For the filling
- 500g/1lb 2oz mascarpone
- 1 vanilla pod, seeds only (or 2 drops vanilla extract)
- 4 tbsp icing sugar
- 4 tbsp Marsala wine
- 8 amaretti biscuits, roughly crumbled
For the sugar syrup
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line a muffin tin with 12 muffin cases.
Put the butter and sugars in a large bowl and cream together until light and fluffy. Add half of the eggs, then tip in half of the flour and stir well. Repeat with the rest of the eggs, then sift in the remaining flour. Add the ricotta, coffee and biscuits and mix well.
Using an ice-cream scoop or two dessertspoons, divide the mixture among the muffin cases. Spread the mixture flat with the back of a spoon. Bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cupcake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
The filling and syrup can be made while the cakes are baking. Mix together all the filling ingredients in a bowl and set aside in the fridge.
Put all the syrup ingredients in a pan over a low heat and let the sugar dissolve. Turn up the heat and boil for a couple of minutes or until thick, then remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool.
Once the cakes are cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. Once you can handle them, remove each cake from the case and slice in half horizontally. Put the halves cut-side up on a large plate. Brush each liberally with the sugar syrup. Go mad here, the cakes should be really, really moist. Keep the rest of the syrup to pour over the cakes at the table.
Sandwich the halves back together with a generous dollop of the mascarpone cream, dust the tops with icing sugar and cocoa powder and serve straightaway.