I don’t often post cakes on A Beautiful Bite. Of course I bake cakes. Actually, pretty regularly. But rarely do they make it to the blog. Sure I shared an especially lovely Guinness Chocolate Cake with Bailey’s Irish Cream Frosting a ways back, but if you take a look at that cake, you’ll notice it’s super simple. No complicated designs. No fancy frosting. A simple cake that does what it’s supposed to do. It tastes good.
So why do I not post cakes if I do indeed make them?
Because I’m intimidated.
I have friends who are food bloggers who make the most spectacular cakes. Truly works of art. You may know Amanda from I Am Baker.
If you don’t, you need to go right to her blog after this post and read everything she’s ever written. Not only is she an artful baker, she is an incredibly lovely person.
Amanda is just one example of many talented food bloggers that I am privileged to call my friends. And while they would never in a million years judge my work, I still feel like I have no business sharing a cake recipe when I have no luck in using a decorating bag.
But recently I got to thinking…
Life is sort of like a cake. Or at least like one of my cakes.
There have been bumps and cracks in my life. My journey has been full of potholes and flat tires along the way. And while it hasn’t always been pretty, it has been filled with unexpected surprises and joy.
Much like my cakes, my life has been uneven and sometimes not what I had envisioned in my mind. As a child I pictured a Pinterest worthy life filled with love, beauty and peace. But what I ended up with is a life that has forced me to rethink what beauty truly is. What matters the most.
And what I’ve learned is that I have to throw away my expectations of perfection. Not only in my life, but here on A Beautiful Bite. While I do strive to share beautiful food with you, I need to share recipes that taste wonderful. Beautiful or not.
So that brings me to this cake. A cake I would never have shared previously because the layers are not sliced evenly and the icing job is not the best.
But you know what? It’s the best cake I’ve had in a good long time. So enough blabbering. Let’s check it out…
Naming this cake The Best Cannoli Cake is quite a claim, don’t you think? It takes guts to call anything the best of something on the internet. Actually, this is the first time I’ve ever declared one of my recipes as the best.
What makes it the best is that it’s easy to make, looks like a million bucks and tastes like Little Italy at its very best. Decadent chocolate chip cannoli cream sandwiched between layers of rich chocolate cake and then topped with a mound of freshly filled cannolis.
Yup, this is the best.
It will have lumps and bumps. Cannoli cream is reliable that way. When you spread the cannoli filling onto the cake and place the layers on top, there will be some ooze. That’s just how it is. There will be bumps.
You will have to reach a zen place of acceptance here.
Leave your Type A at the door. Put your perfection on the shelf.
And forge ahead knowing that this cake is going to be killer and everyone will faint upon looking at it. Embrace the cake in all its bumpy glory. It will be worth it in the end.
When I said this cake was easy to make, I’m so not kidding. The cannoli cream is a cinch to make and the cake layers can be any chocolate cake (or vanilla) recipe that you prefer. If you choose to use a box mix I promise not to tell a soul.
Oh, and those cannoli shells? I bought them from Amazon. The shells are minis and I didn’t have a mini cannoli form, so Amazon to the rescue! And if you’re worried that the shells will crack during delivery, you’ll be happy to know that only one of my thirty-six shells arrived cracked.
And that broken shell? I dunked him in chocolate and ate him. He was broken but he still tasted very very good. It’s part of my new zen approach to life and food. It might be bumpy, broken or cracked, but by God it can still taste good.
- 2 9" Chocolate cake layers split in half (see note for a link to the recipe I used)
- 36 Mini cannoli shells (link to shells in post above)
- 1 cup Chocolate morsels if you'd like to dip your cannoli ends
- 32 oz Ricotta cheese, drained overnight (see notes)
- 1 cup Confectioners sugar
- 1 cup Granulated sugar
- 1 cup Heavy cream
- 6 oz Mini chocolate morsels
- 3 cups Confectioners sugar
- 1 cup softened butter
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp heavy cream
- 2 cups Mini chocolate morsels for coating exterior of cake
- Prepare ricotta the night prior to assembling the cake. Place ricotta in a cheesecloth lined strainer and pull cheesecloth over ricotta to make a sack. Secure the ends and place a small plate overtop the sack and top with a heavy can. (I used a 28oz can of tomatoes) Place in fridge and allow the excess water to drain off overnight. This is a CRUCIAL step.
- If dunking cannoli shells in chocolate, heat morsels over medium heat in a double boiler until melted and smooth. Dunk cannoli ends in chocolate, shake excess off and place on parchment paper to harden. You can speed this up by placing the cannolis in the fridge.
- For the filling, mix together the drained ricotta and both sugars. Using a stand or hand mixer, beat cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the cream into the cheese/sugar mixture. Gently mix in the chocolate morsels. Place in fridge while you make the buttercream frosting.
- For the buttercream, using a hand or stand mixer, beat the sugar and butter until smooth. Add vanilla extract and cream. Beat until fluffy. If too stiff, add a little more cream.
- For assembly:
- Place one halved cake layer on a cake plate. Smooth about one cup of filling overtop. Place another cake layer on top of filling and repeat until all layers are in place. Set aside remaining filling to use for mini cannolis.
- Scrape any filling that has oozed off the sides of the cake. Place in fridge for at least two hours.
- After it sets for two hours, frost the tops and sides of the cake. Press chocolate morsels around the exterior of the cake to coat.
- Using a piping bag, fill cannolis with leftover filling. Place filled cannolis on top of the cake in a large pile.
Please be sure to read my instructions on draining the ricotta. It will make or break this cake. You must drain it overnight. I used Sorrento ricotta that you can find in most grocery stores but it still had to be drained overnight.