Cannoli loaf cakes

Whenever I think of cannoli, I am immediately taken back to my time in Boston, where we had one of the most famous cannoli bakeries in Mike’s Pastry. Oh, Mike’s. It was controlled chaos. Crowds and crowds of people, lined up along the street, waiting to get into a cramped store with display cases filled with a variety of Italian pastries, but most notably, their cannoli. I still remember going there all the time, just because it was far away from campus and I hated people, and because dessert will always be my getaway from anything and everything that stressed me out(in that specific time period, mostly exams and midterms). Anyways, that little anecdote aside, I wanted to make the cannoli a bit more accessible for a general audience. Those little tubes of cream are deep fried and require a specific tube shaped mold, or dried canneloni pasta tubes, and between deep frying and needing a specific piece of equipment, it might not be the easiest thing to make. So these baked loaves were my solution!

Now if you do not have a cake loaf pan, use cupcake molds or whatever you have! I just wanted to use the loaves because the shape is great for holding in the filling. For the actual cake, we have a brown sugar, marsala, and cinnamon-infused ricotta cake. Ricotta cheese is the star ingredient in a cannoli in that it is used for that delicious filling. I wanted to use it in the cake as well, just to give it a soft, spongy texture. Cinnamon and marsala are typically used in cannoli dough to give it that characteristically brown color. For the filling, we are going with a more traditional cannoli cream filling made with whipped ricotta, blood orange zest, and chocolate. I also infused the cake with a blood orange and marsala soak, since you never want to risk serving a dry cake to anyone. To top the cake, crushed pistachios and chocolate shards, to echo how cannoli are typically finished with a dipping of chocolate and crushed pistachios as well.

Makes 3 to 4 cake loafs:
For the cake batter:
8 oz ricotta cheese
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
8 oz ricotta cheese
2 teaspoons marsala wine
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
a pinch of salt
oil for lining

Start by creaming together the ricotta, sugar, wine, balsamic, vanilla, and eggs. In another bowl, sift together the other ingredients. Line 3 or 4 mini loaf tins with a thin layer of oil and flour. Fold your ingredients together and divide evenly into the loaf tins. If you are baking 3, bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes. If you are baking 4, then do the same temperature, but for 25 minutes instead. Allow the cakes to cool before removing from the oven.

For the marsala-blood orange soak:
1 teaspoon marsala wine
a pinch of salt
Juice from 2 blood oranges

Start by heating up the marsala wine with the salt. Once the alcohol has cooked off, add in the blood orange liquid and reduce to about 1/3 a cup of liquid. Allow that to cool down before using.

For the cannoli cream:
8 oz ricotta cheese
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon marsala wine
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons blood orange zest
1g ground cinnamon
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup chocolate chips, finely chopped

Heavily wring the ricotta cheese with a cheese cloth to remove as much excess liquid as you can. If you do not own cheese cloths, press the ricotta between four layers of paper towels. Swap out the towels and repeat. This step is highly important, as the cheese will not whip properly if there are is too much liquid inside of it. Combine the cheese with sugar, marsala, vanilla, blood orange zest, cinnamon, and salt and whip together until light and fluffy in texture. It should also be relatively smooth at this point. Optionally, you can pass it through a sieve to remove any lumpier pieces of the ricotta. Fold the chocolate pieces into the cream, making absolutely certain that they are chopped as finely as possible(if they are not, the cream will not pipe properly). Transfer into a piping bag with a star shaped tip and refrigerate until time to assemble.

For garnish:
Dark chocolate
Pistachios, shelled and chopped

Partially melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Take off heat and stir until fully melted and the chocolate reaches about 88 degrees F. Pour onto either parchment or acetate and spread into a thin layer. Freeze for 10 minutes and shatter into smaller pieces.

To assemble:
Make a slit in the middle of each unmolded loaf. Pour the soak into each cake. Pipe a generous amount of the ricotta cannoli cream filling into the slip. Then pipe more of the ricotta filling on top. Garnish with the pistachios and chocolate pieces to finish.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. These look very tasty! And the ingredients list is very interesting. I have never used marsala wine
    nor have I every put balsamic vinegar into a cake 🙂 But I am sure that is what adds to the flavour. Thank you for sharing 🙂 The pictures are very enticing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Freddy says:

      Thank you! Yeah, those ingredients are just to give the cake that “cannoli dough” flavor that just rounds out the experience! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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