Cassata alia Siciliana (Cannoli Cake)

Cassata alia Siciliana (Cannoli Cake)

Photo by Cathy T.


  • Prep Time

    minutes

  • Total Time

    minutes

  • Servings

    servings


Ingredients

  • FOR THE SPONGE CAKES:

  • 2

    cups bleached cake flour, sifted

  • 2

    teaspoons baking powder

  • 1

    teaspoon kosher salt, plus a pinch

  • 8

    large eggs, separated

  • cups granulated sugar

  • 2

    teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • ½

    cup (1 stick/4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

  • FOR THE RUM SYRUP

  • 2

    cups granulated sugary

  • ¾

    cup cold water

  • ½

    cup rum

  • FOR THE FILLING:

  • 3

    ounces bittersweet chocolate

  • ¾

    cup shelled whole unsalted pistachios

  • 3

    cups fresh, whole-milk ricotta

  • 1

    cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

  • ½

    teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • Freshly grated zest of 2 medium oranges

  • FOR THE ICING:

  • 2

    cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

  • 1

    large egg white

  • 2

    tablespoons water

  • ¼

    teaspoon pure almond extract

  • ½

    cup sliced blanched almonds, toasted and

  • cooled, for garnish

  • Maraschino or amarena cherries, for garnish(optional)

  • Candied orange zest, for garnish (optional)

  • Whipped Cream/Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1.5

    cups of heavy cream

  • 1

    tsp gelatin dissolved in 2 TBS water

  • 1

    cup 10X sugar (confectioners' sugar)

  • tsp salt

  • 1

    tsp vanilla

  • 8

    oz of cream cheese, softened

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F and position a rack in the center. Lightly grease two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans with butter or nonstick cooking spray, line them with parchment paper, then grease the parchment. To make the sponge cakes: Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt into a medium bowl and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, use the whisk attachment to beat the egg yolks with the sugar on medium speed until very light and pale yellow in color and doubled in volume, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract, followed by the melted burte: Transfer the egg mixture to a large, clean mixing bowl. Fold in the dry ingredient-quickly and lightly, using a rubber spatula, stopping just before they are fully incorporated. Clean the whisk attachment and mixing bowl. Place the egg whites and the pinch of salt in the cleaned bowl of the electric mixer. Using the whisk attachment on medium-high speed, beat the egg whites until the-form firm peaks. Fold the egg whites into the batter quickly and lightly; this will also incorporate any streaks of dry ingredients that remain. Evenly divide the batter between the prepared pans, smoothing the tops with a spatula. Bake the cakes for 35 to 40 minutes, or until they are golden brown, a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, and the cakes have begun to pull away from the sides of the pan. Allow the cakes to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then carefully rum them out onto a wire rack to cool completely. While the cakes are cooling, prepare the rum syrup: In a medium saucepan, stir together the sugar, water, and rum. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring the contents to a boil, then lower the heat slightly and allow the syrup to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool. Next, prepare the filling: Using a microplane or box grater, grate the chocolate into fine, feathery shreds. Using a sharp knife, finely chop the pistachios. Place the ricotta, confectioners' sugar, and cinnamon in the bowl of an electric mixer and, using the paddle attachment, beat until the ricotta is creamy and soft. Add the grated chocolate, chopped pistachios, and orange zest and beat just until combined. To assemble the cassata: Have ready a 9-inch springform pan. Using a serrated knife, carefully split each cake layer in half horizontally to make four layers. Place one of the layers in the bottom of the pan and, using a pastry brush, moisten it generously and evenly with some of the rum syrup. Spread the cake layer evenly with one third of the ricotta mixture. Repeat twice with another cake layer, more of the rum syrup, and another third of the ricotta mixture. Place the final cake layer on top and generously brush with the rum syrup. Wrap the springform pan tightly in plastic wrap; this helps the layers fit snugly on top of each other. Chill the cake in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. To prepare the icing: Place the sifted confectioners' sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the egg white and water and beat the ingredients together with the paddle attachment on medium speed until the mixture is smooth. Beat in the almond extract. To finish the cassata: Remove the cassata from the refrigerator and carefully remove the sides of the pan. You may need to run a hot knife around the sides first. You may leave the cake on the bottom of the springform pan, or carefully transfer it to a cardboard cake circle with an offset spatula. Place the cake on a wire rack to ice it; you can place some parchment or wax paper underneath to catch any drips. Spread the icing over the top and sides of the cake, spreading it evenly with a spatula. Scatter the toasted almonds over the top and let the cake sit until the icing sets. Return the cake to the refrigerator to chill until you are ready to serve it, at least 3 hours. Before serving, carefully transfer the cake to a platter or cake stand, and, if desired, decorate the cassata with maraschino or amarena cherries and some strips of candied orange zest. Leftovers should be wrapped and stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 additional day. Whipped Cream/Cream Cheese Frosting: Combine cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla. beat until smooth. Melt gelatin in water and add to whipped cream at soft peak stage. Continue to whip until stiff and then gently fold into cream cheese mixture. I took about 1/3 of the whipped cream and stirred it into the cream cheese mixture to loosen the cream cheese up and then I folded the rest of the whipped cream in gently in two additions.


Nutrition

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