Cannoli Cake

By • March 15, 2011 42 Comments

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Author Notes: My husband is not a fan of ricotta cheese. But he loves cannoli. So in his honor, I wanted to make a cake that had the components of a cannoli without the mess of deep-frying. Most cannoli cake recipes are simple yellow cakes with sweetened ricotta cheese as the filling, but I wanted a cake in which the ricotta cheese was part of the cake. I borrowed the pudding cake technique of folding beaten egg whites into the cake batter. The result is a light and airy cake with crispy edges, shot through with orange zest and chocolate chips. And he won’t let me take it to work tomorrow, so I call that a success. - drbabsdrbabs

Food52 Review: This recipe really solves the dilemma of the leaden cannoli shell. The pleasing creaminess of a great ricotta filling is front and center, with just enough structure to hold the cake together. As drbabs mentions, it becomes dense and custard-like after some time in the fridge, which I enjoyed. Next time, I will reduce the amount of orange zest and almond extract, but this is strictly personal preference, and fans of chocolate & orange in combination should proceed exactly as directed. I look forward to making this for Easter dinner in a few weeks. An excellent, well-written recipe! - SorrySuriSorrySuri


Serves 8

  • 4 eggs (room temperature), separated
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese, drained for a couple of hours till it's fairly dry
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips (plus more for serving)
  • zest of two medium-sized oranges
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and place a rack in the middle of the oven. Generously butter a 9” springform pan and wrap the bottom well to prevent leaking. (You could use a large soufflé dish and serve it from the dish if you prefer.) Put water on to boil for the water bath.
  2. Stir together ricotta cheese, milk and egg yolks till well blended. Fold in flour till blended. Pour in melted butter, sugar, orange zest and almond extract and stir till blended. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, beat the egg whites with the salt till stiff but not dry. This will go quickly.Gently fold in the beaten egg whites till the mixture is well blended and there are little or no streaks of egg white visible.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place it in a large roasting pan inside the oven. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan to about 2 inches high. Bake for one hour until the top is brown and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  5. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for about 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge and release the springform. Serve at room temperature with chocolate chips sprinkled over it. (A little whipped cream would be lovely, too.)
  6. The cake is best (in my opinion) on the day it is baked. After overnight refrigeration, it is more like a custard (and moist, like the filling of a cannoli). Not that there's anything wrong with that! (Turns out, my husband liked it even more the second day. Go figure!)

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