6oz(1 ½ sticks or 170 grams) unsalted butter(softened)
1⅔cup(340 grams) superfine (castor) sugar
¼cup(60mls) oil(see notes)
1½cups(185 grams) all purpose flour
1½cups(185 grams) cake flour
3¾cups(2 pounds/ 900 grams) fresh ricotta(use dry ricotta or must be strained overnight - see notes)
¾cup(90 grams) powdered (icing) sugar
3teaspoonsfinely grated orange zest
1cup (approx 250 grams) mascarpone
½cup(62 grams) powdered (icing) sugar
To assemble and decorate
2cupsmini chocolate chips
6small cannoli shells(optional)
Before beginning this Cannoli Cake, please read the recipe fully including all the all the tips for success.
Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC. Grease two 8-inch/20cm round deep cake pans and line the base with non stick paper. Then flour the sides.
Whisk or sift together flours, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Set aside
In an electric mixer, beat together butter, sugar and oil for 2 minutes on medium speed.
Scrape sides of the bowl then add eggs, one at a time until well combined. Stir in vanilla.
Add dry ingredients. Then combine on low speed until just moistened. Add buttermilk and beat for 1 minute on medium until well combined and smooth.
Pour evenly into prepared pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Check at 30 minutes.
When done the cake will come away from the side and settle down a little on the edges. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out to cool on a wire rack.
Cool completely before filling and decorating.
In a food processor, combine ricotta, ¾ cup powdered sugar, orange zest, and cinnamon until creamy.
Fold in mascarpone. Refrigerate until needed.
Combine ½ cup powdered sugar with dark rum. Stir to dissolve sugar. Set aside.
Assembly and decorating
Cut and level off tops of cakes and cut each cake in half horizontally.
Brush one cut side of each layer with rum glaze.
Place one layer on a cake plate and spread 1 cup of ricotta filling evenly over the cake.
Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips.
Continue layering and filling with ricotta cream and chocolate chips finishing with the fourth layer of cake.
If you are using mini cannoli, fill with a teaspoon or a piping bag and press chocolate chips onto the ends. Keep refrigerated until needed.
Reserve ⅓ cup of ricotta cream. Then spread the rest of the cream all over the cake beginning with the sides then covering the top.
Press more chocolate chips onto the side of the cake and arranged filled cannoli shells on top spacing apart evenly.
Fill a piping bag fitted with a star tube with remaining ricotta cream and pipe 6 stars in between the cannoli on top of the cake.
Serve immediately or refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving. See notes for preparing ahead.
The cake recipe has been adapted from this Vanilla CakeTips for successUse the BEST quality ingredients - this is very important! Particularly the ricotta and mascarpone cheeses.For the cake:-
Have ingredients at cool room temperature. This will ensure the butter creams well and the eggs incorporate thoroughly.
Use light flavored oil like sunflower or grapeseed.
If measuring the flour with cups, stir the flour first then spoon into the cup so that it is not overpacked.
For the frosting:-
Ricotta cheese and mascarpone cheese varies greatly from brand to brand, country to country. It's very important that both cheeses are thick, almost like cream cheese otherwise the frosting will be runny. I can't stress this enough. If you are in any doubt, drain both cheeses overnight in a muslin lined sieve. Keep them separated so that you can measure correctly when drained.
When making the frosting, fold in the mascarpone because over beating will cause it to split.
Taste the frosting and add more powdered sugar if you prefer it sweeter.
Cinnamon and orange zest can be omitted if not to your taste.
Cakes must be cold before frosting.
use orange juice instead of rum to make it alcohol free
substitute ¼ cup finely chopped candied fruit for the orange zest
if you have no buttermilk try this - to a measuring cup, add 1 tablespoons white vinegar or lemon juice. Add milk to the 1 ½ mark, stir. Wait 5 minutes before using
use store bought vanilla pound cake or sponge for a quick cannoli cake