Cannoli Cake 4

Cannoli cake is a take on the beloved Italian cannoli pastry. The best part is the luscious, velvety filling. I used a foolproof sponge cake recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, brushing each layer with a chocolate liqueur syrup. The filling is made with ricotta cheese, cream cheese and mascarpone cheese. Smooth and creamy, this filling is the perfect texture and combination to complement the tender sponge cake.

Cannoli Cake 4

Photo by Cathy T.


  • Prep Time

    minutes

  • Total Time

    minutes

  • Servings

    servings


Ingredients

  • For the cake: (makes 2 (8 or 9 inch) sponge cakes)

  • ½

    cup cake flour

  • ¼

    cup all purpose flour

  • 1

    teaspoon baking powder

  • ¼

    teaspoon salt

  • 3

    Tablespoons milk

  • 2

    Tablespoons butter

  • 1

    teaspoon vanilla

  • 5

    eggs, separated and at room temperature

  • 10

    Tablespoons sugar

  • Syrup:

  • ½

    cup water

  • ¼

    cup sugar

  • ¼

    cup chocolate liqueur

  • Filling and Frosting:

  • 12

    oz. cream cheese (1½ packages), softened

  • 8

    oz. mascarpone cheese

  • ½

    – ⅔ cup powdered sugar

  • 1

    cup ricotta cheese

  • 2

    teaspoons vanilla

  • ½

    cup heavy cream

Directions

Almonds, toasted and chopped, for decorating (To toast nuts, cook on a dry skillet on medium heat until golden brown, stirring frequently. You can also do this in the oven at 400 degrees, in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, for about 5-10 minutes, until golden and fragrant, stirring halfway through.) Mini chocolate chips, for decorating Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 (8 or 9 inch) round cake pans with baking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. Whisk the flours, baking powder and salt in a small bowl to combine and set aside. In a liquid measuring cup or mug place heat the milk and butter in the microwave until the butter is completely melted. Add vanilla, cover and set aside. Meanwhile, using a whisk attachment on a standing mizer or using a medium bowl and and hand mixer, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form, adding 5 Tablespoons of sugar gradually. Set aside. Repeat with the egg yolks and the remaining 5 Tablespoons of sugar, until pale yellow and thick. Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the egg yolks, being careful not to deflate the batter as much as possible. Sift the flour mixture over the folded eggs and gently fold in the flour also. When there are still some remaining streaks of flour, pour in the warm milk and butter by the side of the bowl. Continue gently folding until evenly distributed. Divide the batter in half, pouring into the prepared cake pans. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Make a simple sugar: by heating the sugar and water in a small pot until sugar dissolves and add the chocolate liqueur. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile make the filling and frosting: In a standing mixer with a paddle attachment or using a hand mixer, cream the cream cheese and powdered sugar. Add the mascarpone cheese and vanilla. You can just fold in the mascarpone cheese with a rubber spatula, since it’s soft enough or mix with the mixer just until combined, about 30 seconds. Set aside half of the mixture in a medium bowl. One part will be the filling and one part will be the frosting. Add 1 cup ricotta cheese to the first part. This is the filling. Set aside. For the frosting: whip the heavy cream with 1-2 Tablespoons of powdered sugar. (You can put the mixing bowl and the whisk attachment in the freezer to chill before adding the cold heavy cream to make whipped cream.) Gently fold in the whipped cream into the second part of the cream cheese/mascarpone cheese mixture. This will be the frosting. To assemble: Cut each cake in half horizontally. Using a serrated knife, make a small incision all around the outside of the cake. This will keep your knife on the same level as you are cutting across. Continue cutting deeper into the cake until you have cut all the way through. Simple and works perfectly every time. Using a pastry brush, brush the top and bottom of each layer with the chocolate liqueur syrup. (A trick when decorating cakes is to line the serving plate all around the edge with aluminum foil or wax paper, so that the edge of the cake is overlapping the aluminum foil by about 1/2 inch. This will catch all the drips and crumbs, leaving your serving plate neat and clean. When you’re done decorating just carefully pull the aluminum foil out.) Top the cake with 1/3 of the ricotta cheese filling and repeat with the the other 2 cake layers. Use the frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake. You should have enough to pipe some shells or rosettes around the cake. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips around the border of the cake, and shaved some chocolate to decorate. Cup a handful of almonds in your palm with one hand and holding the cake with the other hand, slightly turn it, press the almonds all around the sides of the cake. Variations: You can use freshly squeezed orange juice and some zest in place of the simple syrup (water and sugar) to brush the cake layers with. You can use orange liqueur instead of the chocolate and also add some orange zest to the cake batter. You can also add fresh fruit to the cake in the filling and to decorate the top of the cake. You could also add mini chocolate chips to the filling in between two of the layers.


Nutrition

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