Cannoli Cake is the answer for anyone craving a delicious dessert that tastes like its Italian namesake. Only this dolce is better, much better. Rich creamy ricotta cheese with mini-chocolate chips fills the three layers of sponge cake. Sweetened whipped cream frosts the cake. And finally, a chocolate glaze with chocolate dipped strawberries embellish this sumptuous dessert.
An ultimate cannoli request
"I'm looking for the ultimate cannoli," says our daughter, Shelley.
"What are you going to do when you find it?" I ask.
She smiles and says, "Savor every bite."
Well, we certainly can't resist that request. Honey and I find a "5-star" recipe and we order some cannoli tubes from Amazon. On cannoli day we're ready to roll, the dough that is.
A dough problem
Everything goes along smoothly until we're ready to fry.
It's the dough ends. They just won't hold together around the tubes. When we put them in the hot oil they pop apart.
To make matters worse, the shells don't fry up crispy and blistered. They come out misshapen with huge boils under the crust.
They are downright ugly. Our one and only attempt at making cannoli turns out an abysmal failure.
Sponge cake is a breeze
This year Easter dinner is at our house. We have the menu but we don't have a dessert. I start looking at magazines and cookbooks for inspiration.
We want a little bit of traditional with the excitement of non-traditional, like our Flatbread and Baba Ghanoush.
It hits me! What's more Italian than cannoli? How about a sponge cake with a ricotta cheese chocolate filling?
Classic sponge cake is an easy dessert to make, it's almost fail-proof. This type of cake is a versatile base that you can dress up with a fancy filling or serve it sliced with fresh berries and topped with whipped cream.
Putting the cannoli cake together
The sponge cake bakes in a 10-inch tube pan with a removable bottom. You have to invert the tube pan over a the neck of a glass bottle so that the cake can cool.
We think the filling should be sweetened ricotta with mini chocolate chips and the frosting be sweetened whipped cream.
At this point, the cake looks pretty good but a bit plain. Aha!! The cake needs chocolate on top, and chocolate dipped strawberries. Perfect!
The cannoli cake with whipped cream frosting and chocolate dipped strawberries was a huge success. This is a special dessert for a special occasion.
Tutti a tavola è pronto!
Un caro saluto e alla prossima.
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A double boiler is a handy pan to have especially when you can't heat ingredients directly over heat. Chocolate is especially sensitive to direct heat as well as eggs. The nice part about a double boiler is you can use both pans individually.
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Cannoli Cake With Chocolate Strawberries Recipe
Cannoli Cake with Whipped Cream and Chocolate Covered Strawberries
- 7 egg whites at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups sugar 300 grams
- ½ teaspoon cream tartar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 7 egg yolks 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups cake flour 201 ½ grams
- ¼ cup cold water 59 ⅛ ml.
- CANNOLI FILLING:
- 3 cups whole milk ricotta
- ½ cup sugar 100 grams
- 2 teaspoons lemon extract
- ½ cup mini chocolate chips
- STABILIZED WHIPPED CREAM WITH INSTANT JELL-0 PUDDING
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream 480 ml
- ½ package 14g Sugar free Instant Jell-O Pudding Mix (If you use regular instant pudding the weight will be 48 grams for ½ package.) I used vanilla but you could also use lemon.
- CHOCOLATE GLAZE AND DIPPING SAUCE
- 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips a good brand
- 2 Tablespoons shortening like Crisco - don't use butter because it has water in it. It will make the chocolate seize up.
- Fresh strawberries with stems - washed and let dry.
- SPONGE CAKE:
- Preheat oven to 325 F.
- In an electric mixer with wire whisk attachment, beat egg whites, ¼ cup of the sugar, cream of tartar, and salt. Start on medium speed, then use high speed until stiff peaks form, 4 to 5 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat egg yolks, 1 ¼ cups sugar, and vanilla. Beat until light in color, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add flour and water to egg mixture alternately. Start and end with the flour. Mix just until blended.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold egg yolk mixture into egg whites. When blended, spoon batter into an uncreased 10-inch tube pan with removable bottom. Spread batter evenly.
- Bake for 60 to 65 minutes, or until top is golden brown. Remove pan from the oven.
- Invert tube pan onto the neck of a glass bottle to cool, about 1 hour.
- When cool, carefully remove cake from the pan. Use a sharp knife to loosen the outside of the cake from the sides of the pan.
- CANNOLI FILLING:
- Combine drained ricotta, sugar, and lemon extract in a mixing bowl. Stir with a rubber spatula until blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Store covered in refrigerator until ready to use.
- ASSEMBLE CAKE:
- Cut sponge cake into thirds, horizontally. Place the bottom layer, cut side up, on a serving dish.
- Spread half the filling over the bottom layer of the cake. Place middle layer on top of the filled bottom layer. Spread remaining filling over this layer and top with third layer, cut side down. Anchor the layers with wooden skewers. Refrigerate until set, 15 to 20 minutes.
- STABILIZED WHIPPED CREAM WITH INSTANT PUDDING:
- Combine the heavy cream and the instant Jell-O Pudding and mix together and whip to desired peaked consistency.
- Frost the top and sides of the cakes with whipped cream frosting. Using a metal spatula, start at the top and continue to spread frosting down to cover cake sides. Refrigerate until ready to finish garnishing.
- CHOCOLATE-DIPPED STRAWBERRIES AND GLAZE:
- Melt the chocolate chips with the shortening in the top of a double boiler or place the ingredients in a metal bowl and place it over a saucepan of simmering water. The chocolate will melt slowly. Once the chocolate is completely melted you are ready to dip the strawberries.
- Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Working with one strawberry at a time, grasp the strawberry by the top leaves and dip it into the chocolate. Lift the strawberry out and shake gently to remove excess chocolate.
- Lay dipped strawberry on the baking sheet on its side. Repeat with the rest of the strawberries.
- Let the chocolate set on the strawberries.
- Remove the cake from the refrigerator, remove the wooden skewers anchoring the cake layers. Glaze the cake with the excess chocolate and then garnish the cake with the dipped strawberries.
- Serve chilled.
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