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All the Creamy Goodness of a Cannoli, In a Cake

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Every so often, we scour the site for cool recipes from our community that we then test, photograph, and feature—this one comes from longtime Food52er drbabs.


A cake to keep in your back pocket.
A cake to keep in your back pocket. Photo by Ty Mecham

When I think about recipes I'm proudest of, I also realize how fortunate I've been. A lot of what I consider to be my best are regularly featured by Food52—in contests and cookbooks, or are popular in their own right. It's almost as if they don't belong to me as much as they do to the world, and I really appreciate that.

My favorite things to bake are simple cakes, usually in a bundt pan. They’re much easier than pie or cookies and come together quickly. Plus almost everyone likes cake.

But I also like to experiment with big baking projects, including this recipe I developed for my husband, who isn’t a fan of ricotta, but loves cannoli. Most cannoli cake recipes are simple yellow cakes with sweetened ricotta cheese as the filling, but I wanted the ricotta cheese to be part of the cake.

Grab a Spoon: This Brownie Pudding / Giant Lava Cake Awaits

Grab a Spoon: This Brownie Pudding / Giant Lava Cake Awaits by Grant Melton

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And the Award for Squishiest Cake Goes To...

And the Award for Squishiest Cake Goes To... by Sarah Jampel

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I borrowed the pudding cake technique from Shirley Corriher's BakeWise—folding beaten egg whites into the cake batter. The result was a light, airy cake with crispy edges, shot through with orange zest and chocolate chips. I think I only made a couple of tweaks to the first version before I was happy with the recipe.

If, like me, you only have one bowl for your mixer, beat the egg whites first, set them aside, and then use the mixer to blend the egg yolks with the cheese mixture before folding it all together. Also make sure to fold very gently so the egg whites retain their loft.

I think the cake is best on the day it’s baked, making it an ideal dinner party dessert. After overnight refrigeration, it is more like a custard, 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!)

Cannoli Cake

Cannoli Cake

drbabs drbabs
Serves 8
  • 4 eggs (room temperature), separated
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese, drained for a couple of hours till it's fairly dry
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (plus more for serving)
  • zest of two medium-sized oranges
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or vanilla extract if you prefer)
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Do you have a recipe that's been passed down in your family? Or one you want to make sure your future generations make? Let us know in the comments and it might be featured as one of our heirloom recipes!

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Community, Heirloom Recipes