Cannoli Cake

"This delicious Cannoli Cake has a thick layer filled with ricotta and cream cheese flavored with orange and liqueur and iced with Vanilla-Cream Frosting."
photo by Alina25 photo by Alina25
photo by Alina25
photo by JelliCelli photo by JelliCelli
photo by JelliCelli photo by JelliCelli
photo by comet614 photo by comet614
photo by crunch914 photo by crunch914
Ready In:
1hr 5mins




  • FOR THE CAKE: Begin early in day or day ahead to make Cannoli Cake.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F In small bowl, with mixer at high speed, beat egg whites until soft peaks form; gradually sprinkle in 1/2 cup sugar, beating until sugar completely dissolves and whites stand in stiff peaks.
  • In large bowl, using same beaters and with mixer at low speed, beat egg yolks, flour, baking powder, salt, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 2 Tablespoons water until blended. With rubber spatula, gently fold beaten egg whites into egg-yolk mixture, one-third at a time.
  • Spoon batter into UNGREASED 10 inch by 3 inch springform pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until cake is golden and top springs back when lightly touched.
  • Invert cake in pan on wire rack; cool completely in pan.
  • FOR BRUSHING CAKE LAYERS: From oranges, grate 2 teaspoons peel (use the rest of peel for the filling) and squeeze 1/3 cup juice (IF NOT USING LIQUEUR, INCREASE JUICE TO 1/2 CUP). Stir liqueur into 1/3 cup juice; set aside.
  • FOR THE FILLING: In large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat ricotta, cream cheese, rest of the grated orange peel, confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract until smooth. Stir in 1/4 cup semisweet-chocolate mini pieces.
  • With metal spatula, loosen cake from edge of pan; remove pan side. Loosen cake from pan bottom; remove pan bottom. With serrated knife, cut cake horizontally into 2 layers. Brush orange-juice mixture evenly over cut side of both layers.
  • Place bottom cake layer, cut-side up, on cake plate. Spoon ricotta-cheese filling on center of cake layer. Spread some filling out to edge, leaving a center rounded to achieve a dome effect.
  • Cut a small wedge out of remaining cake layer; and gently rest cake layer over filling. (Cutting wedge will allow cake layer to bend, without cracking, to fit over dome shape.).
  • PREPARE VANILLA-CREAM FROSTING: In small bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat 3 Tablespoons margarine or butter, softened, 3 Tablespoons milk, 1 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, and 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract until smooth, adding more milk if necessary until mixture has an easy spreading consistency. In large bowl, using same beaters and with mixer at medium speed, beat 2 cups heavy or whipping cream until stiff peaks form; fold confectioners’-sugar mixture into whipped cream. Spread over top and down side of cake.
  • In a heavy small saucepan over low heat, heat remaining 1/3 cup mini pieces, stirring frequently, until melted and smooth.
  • Into waxed-paper cone, spoon melted chocolate. (Or, use small decorating bag with small writing tube.) With chocolate, make feather design.
  • Refrigerate cake until filling is firm for easier cutting, about 3 hours.
  • TO MAKE WAXED-PAPER CONE: Cut square of waxed paper; fold in half into triangle. Lay triangle on flat surface so wide side is at top. Fold left-hand corner down to center point. Take right-hand corner; wrap it completely around folded left-hand corner, forming cone. Both corners meet at center point of original triangle. Fold in these ends twice to hold together. Fill cone two thirds full; fold top over.
  • MAKING FEATHER DESIGN: Piping circles on Cake: Using paper cone with tip cup to make 1/8 inch diameter hole, pipe melted chocolate on top of cake in concentric circles, starting in center and moving to edge of cake. Start with small circle in the middle of cake and go around each circle to the edge. This should be 6 circles.
  • Drawing spokes towards center: Before chocolate hardens, quickly with tip of toothpick or small knife, draw lines in spoke fashion, about 1 1/2 inches apart around edge of cake; alternate direction of each spoke, first from edge to center of cake, then from center to edge.
  • Completing feather design: Continue around top of cake, alternating direction of each spoke to make attractive feather design. 16 servings.
  • The Good Housekeeping Book of Desserts.

Questions & Replies

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  1. This recipe is absolutely fantastic! I actually made this cake twice over the weekend, the first was for a company party where everyone could bring their own dish, and it was such a huge hit with everybody that I made it again for my family reunion on Sunday. At both events, people couldn't stop talking about how great the cake was! It really was delicious, and I'm saving this recipe in a special place for the next time I make a cake.<br/><br/>I will note that I followed the recipe, and the ingredients, to the letter. It couldn't have turned out better either time.<br/><br/>Regarding using less ricotta cheese, this is absolutely not necessary. If you have any sort of experience with ricotta cheese, then you know that different brands have differing levels of wetness. For a recipe like this, where you need the mixture to be firm, you need to use a drier ricotta cheese.<br/><br/>Also, you shouldn't have extra filling, it is all meant to be used. The entirety of the filling mixture is supposed to be put on the bottom cake layer, with most of it being in the center, creating a thick dome-shaped layer of filling. If there is more left in the bowl, then you haven't put enough on. If your filling is not thick enough to hold its shape at all, then either you haven't made it properly or the ricotta you've used is too wet.<br/><br/>For the part where it says to cut a wedge out of the top cake layer, the wedge should be about 1/6 of the total size. This stops the cake from breaking when you lay it on the dome-shaped filling. You then reinsert the wedge after setting it down.<br/><br/>Thanks to the person who mentioned what cookbook this is from, I'm definitely going to be purchasing it in the near future.
  2. This is a great recipe from one of the best dessert books ever... The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Book of Desserts. If you buy this book, you won't be disappointed. I have no affiliation, just love the book and have gotten raves from every recipe I've made from it.
  3. I made a few small changes, but overall thrilled with the results! I did have leftover filling, but that is always welcome at our house. Great new dessert for family get-togethers! Closest thing to actual cannoli at home without the shells!
  4. Well, I read all the reviews AFTER I made the cake...and I'm not sure what the big deal was. My ricotta filling was NOT runny at all. I used all 32 oz and it came out perfect. It tasted fantastic, too - JUST like cannoli filling! I was afraid it would be a little too orangy with the zest, juice and liquer. I sampled a crumb of the cake with the juice - it was fine! I lightly brushed the cake with the juice, so maybe that's why. Anyway, I say to all those wondering if they should try this recipe...GO FOR IT! You shouldn't be dissapointed!
  5. My boyfriend is cannoli-obsessed. So, I decided to make this cake for him for his birthday. I am by no means culinarily inclined. So, I was nervous. But, I decided to do it anyway. I made the cake and the filling the night before. I used a little less orange zest in the filling and none in the mixture for brusing the cake because my boyfriend had previously commented that he doesn't like an overly-orangey cannoli. The morning of his birthday, I made the icing (I was so impressed with how good this was that I will probably use the icing recipe for other desserts in the future) and assembled the cake. For an extra embellishment, I added chopped, unsalted pistachios around the sides of the cake. And, while this looks very pretty, shucking this many pistachios is not fun! It was a big hit! Everyone thought I bought it already made (not sure if that was a compliment or not). I would definitely recommend this cake, especially when you're looking for something a little different from the norm.


  1. A very special, unusual and delicious cake that was well-loved by all the baby shower guests. I made a few changes, tho!<br/><br/>I wanted to fully appreciate the creamy ricotta with less orange flavor, so I used a bit less than half of the orange zest called for in the cannoli cream - and less than half the zest for brushing the cake layers. I used the same amount of orange juice, but substituted Disaronno Amaretto for the orange liqueur. I achieved my desired result & would definitely do that again. <br/><br/>I used 'Grande' Brand Sopraffina (superfine) ricotta cheese. It has a smoother consistency than regular ricotta & is perfect for cannoli cream. I did 'hang' the cheese in a sieve for several hours to drain off a bit of the moisture - I highly recommend doing this even tho the recipe doesn't say to.<br/><br/>Also, I didn't use a 10" spring form pan. Since I was making an artisan cake (in the shape of a baby monster!) I made the recipe twice using 2 - 9" layer cake pans per batch. (2 cakes=4 layers total.) I greased & floured the bottoms only, lowered the baking temperature to 350 and left them in a little longer. Use your best judgement or consult the internet if you alter the pan. In retrospect, I may have been alright taking them out at the prescribed time. (One of my layers was a bit browner than I would have liked.) My oven may be a little hot - I should have used an accurate oven thermometer.<br/><br/>This may very well be the best cake I ever made or tasted. (I usually am not a big fan of cake.) Wonderful ~ try it!
  2. Excellent cake. Here is a tip for those having textural issues. Firstly, one of the reasons this cake could come out very chewy is because it calls for AP flour. I replaced the AP flour with cake flour and the cake came out with a fabulous, light, airy texture. When switching AP flour for cake flour 1 cup AP = 1.125 (1 c. 2 Tbs) cups cake flour so in the case of this recipe you would use 3/4 cup 1.5 Tbs cake flour. However, I actually halved the cake recipe as it was just far too much cake for me. This meant halving the cake part, orange juice, filling part, and using 2/3 of the original frosting recipe. (Surface area only decreases by approximately 35%). I baked it in a standard 9" round cake pan which I greased. Perfect!<br/>This also gave me the idea for anyone who wants to shake it up a bit that you could probably bake the original recipe in 2 - 9" cake pans, then cut each in half so you end up with four cake layers and spread the cannoli filling equally between them (in three parts). I know some people seemed to feel that it was too much filling, but by splitting it up in a multi-layer cake it might work better. FYI I can say from doing half recipe/1 - 9" cake pan my cake ended up being 1.25" thick so when cut each layer was about 5/8" thick. I also did not spread the filling as a dome since it did not seem like an overwhelming amount and as a result did not have to cut a wedge in my top cake layer.



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