Cannoli Cake

Hit the kitchen and make this gorgeous four-layer cake inspired by the traditional Italian dessert, cannoli.


3/4 c. unsalted butter
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
6 large eggs
1 tsp. Almond Extract
1 1/2 c. half-and-half
1 c. mini chocolate chips
1/2 c. chopped shelled pistachios
2 large cannoli shells

3 1/2 c. whole-milk ricotta
2 1/2 tsp. orange zest
2 tsp. lemon zest
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 c. confectioners’ sugar
3/4 c. heavy cream


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat two 8-inch round cake pans with butter, then dust with flour; shake out any excess.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the almond extract (if using). Reduce the mixer speed to medium and gradually add the flour mixture, alternating with the half-and-half, mixing just until combined; fold in 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips.
  4. Divide the batter between the prepared pans (about 3 1/2 cups each) and bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cakes cool in pans for 5 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. While the cakes cool, make the frosting. Using an electric mixer, beat the ricotta in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in the zests, cinnamon, and salt. Mix in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Add the heavy cream and, using the whisk attachment, beat on medium-high speed until thick and stiff, 3 to 4 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  6. Cut the cakes in half horizontally to create 4 layers. Arrange four 3-inch-wide strips of parchment or wax paper in a square around the edge of a serving plate (this will help keep the plate clean) and place 1 cake layer on the plate. Spread 1 cup frosting on top. Sandwich another layer of cake and repeat with the remaining layers, then frost the top and sides of the cake.
  7. Gently press the pistachios, cannoli shells, and remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips onto the sides of the cake (use the parchment paper to help pat them on). Refrigerate until ready to serve (up to 2 days).

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