Cannoli Cake


For the filling

500g ricotta

160g cream

¼ tsp sea salt

½ tsp cinnamon

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

75g icing sugar

100g finely chopped chocolate, 70%

100g candied orange peel, cut into tiny cubes

For the cake

250g unsalted pistachios, lightly roasted (reserve 100g for later)

200g caster sugar

200g butter, softened

4 free range eggs

zest of an half an orange

1 tsp vanilla extract

100g plain white all-purpose flour

1 tsp sea salt

60ml milk

For the decorations

4 tbsp of good quality apricot jam

100g ground pistachios (from above)

Icing sugar, to dust

150g mascarpone

5 candied orange slices (optional)

Cannoli are Sicilian pastries, which take the shape of little tubes filled with ricotta and sometimes chocolate, candied fruit and/or pistachios. I LOVE them and so created this cake recipe as an ode to this divine treat. You could make it in 2 slightly larger cake tins if you prefer.

Prep time: 1 hr 30 mins
Bake time: 35 mins
Ready in time: 3 hours

Serves 12

First, make the filling. Place the ricotta and cream in a food processor and blend until smooth. By hand fold in the remaining ingredients. Refrigerate for at least an hour until thickened.
Next, make the cake. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius on fan bake. Line 3 x 20cm cake tins with baking paper.
In a food processor, blitz the pistachios with 3 tbsp of the caster sugar until finely ground - you want it to look like a coarse flour. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, rest of the sugar, orange zest and vanilla until pale, light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.
Gradually add the flour, along with the salt and 150g of the ground pistachios. Stop once just combined, being careful not to overmix. Finally, by hand fold through the milk.
Evenly divide the batter between the 3 tins and bake for about 35 minutes or until golden in colour, springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
Once baked, leave the cakes in their tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
Lay down a sheet of baking paper and scatter over the remaining 100g of blitzed pistachios.
Heat the apricot jam with ½ a tbsp of water in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Using a pastry brush, brush the sides of each cake layer with the hot jam and then roll each layer in the ground pistachios.
Once the cake layers are completely cool, take one layer and spread over ½ of the ricotta filling. Repeat until you’ve placed the third layer on top, and finish with a dusting of icing sugar, 5 piped mounds of mascarpone, and 5 candied orange slices if using.
Refrigerate in an airtight container for 3 days.