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Cassata Cake

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Cassata Cake
Edsel L/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
Instead of the usual choice of a Red Velvet Cake for his birthday, this year my husband choose a Cassata Cake. The filling on this Cassata Cake reminds me of the filling in Cannoli, another tasty Italian dessert. The filling is made with whole-milk ricotta and mini chocolate chips, which is what I think makes the filling so special.

Ingredients:

  • Filling:
  • 30 ounces whole-milk ricotta
  • 2-1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
    zest of 2 lemons
    Cake:
  • 2 cake layers, white, yellow or your favorite
  • 1/2 cup rum or Marsala
  • 2 tablespoons water
    Frosting
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon rum or Marsala

Preparation:

Filling:
Combine filling ingredients, except chips and lemon zest, with an electric mixer. Once smooth (it won't totally be smooth due to the natural texture of the ricotta) hand stir in the chips and zest. Cover and refrigerate. You could refrigerate the filling overnight, if needed.
Cake:
Make your favorite flavor 2-layer cake. Once cake layers are cool, slice them horizontally into 4 total layers. Next, combine the rum (or Marsala) with the water. Use a pastry brush to brush tops of the cake layers with the liquor mixture.
Build the Cassata Cake:
Place a single layer in the bottom of a cheesecake (9-inch springform) pan and spread with 1/3 of filling mixture. Repeat with the other 3 layers. Wrap the unfrosted cake in plastic and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Overnight is best. The next day, unwrap cake and carefully move it to serving plate using two strong spatulas. Frost the cake with the whipped cream mixture and decorate, if desired.
Frosting:
Whip the cream, powdered sugar and liquor until firm peaks are formed.

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