Take a trip to Little Italy in your own home with this cake that reinvents the beloved cannoli–mascarpone cream and chocolate morsels combined with moist cake layers and a whipped cream frosting. Now that’s amore!
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon fresh orange zest
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cup milk
- 1 tub (10 ounces) ricotta cheese drained if needed, (see note below)
- 1 tub (16 ounces) mascarpone cheese drained if needed
- 3 cups powdered sugar (possibly more if needed to thicken frosting)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon fresh orange juice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 bag (10 ounces) mini chocolate chips divided (if you want a lot of chocolate chips on the outside, you may want to have another bag on hand)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter and flour 2 9-inch round baking pans (or can substitute 8-inch round baking pans).
Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt in medium mixing bowl until well combined.
Beat together butter and granulated sugar in large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Then beat in fresh orange zest and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract until well combined.
Alternate adding the dry ingredients and milk into the butter and sugar mixture, beating after each addition until just combined.
Pour cake batter into prepared pans, spread to form even layers. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean. (If using 8 inch pans, baking time will be about 30-35 minutes.)
Cool cakes slightly then remove from pans and finish cooling completely on wire racks. When cakes are completely cool, split each layer in half horizontally with a long serrated knife to form 4 layers.
For frosting, beat together ricotta and mascarpone in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined. Beat in powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, orange juice, cinnamon, and salt until well combined.
To assemble cake, place one layer on cake dish. Top with frosting then sprinkle about 2-3 tablespoons of mini chocolate chips on top. Repeat with remaining layers. Frost outside of cake and add remaining chocolate chips to outside of cake or as desired. Use remaining frosting to decorate or pipe as desired.
Tools To Bake: The Complete Cake Decorating Kit
SNAPPY TIPS: You can omit the orange zest and juice if you don’t like citrus. You can also add chopped pecans, walnuts, or pistachios with the chocolate chips. If your frosting is too soft you may need to add extra sugar to thicken or more mascarpone or cream cheese.
SNAPPY SUBSTITUTIONS: Instead of vanilla extract you could use almond extract or Fiori di Sicilia.
RICOTTA/MASCARPONE: For BEST results please use full-fat cheeses AND drain your ricotta overnight. It’s not always necessary, but since there are many types and brands of ricotta, I strongly recommend draining it to be on the safe side so you don’t have a runny frosting. I didn’t need to drain mine, but others have. Place the ricotta in a strainer lined with cheesecloth (or you could try paper towels) over a bowl and drain in the fridge overnight. Squeeze out all the liquid and make sure the cheese is thick before making the filling/frosting. If you can find it in your area, you can also try ricotta impastata (pastry ricotta).