Eric’s Cassata Cake

white table runner with bees embroidered on it, a wire tree with colorful egg ornaments, and a cake with white icing and chocolate shavings on top on a square white platter

I’ve talked before about the cassata cake that I make for Eric that took a good bit of trial and error before I finally hit on something that was pretty close to the cake he remembered that his grandmother used to get at the Italian bakery in Florida. But, when I was making it for Easter this year, I realized I’ve never actually shared my recipe.

slice of cake with layers of cannoli filling between the pound cake layers and white frosting on a plate with a fork

This cake is essentially a pound cake, split into layers, and brushed with rum. It has cannoli filling between the layers and a whipped cream frosting. Both the cannoli filling recipe and the whipped cream frosting recipe came from Eric’s mom.

bottle of Bacardi rum with pound cake in the background

I make the cake one day ahead so that it has plenty of time for all the layers to meld together and chill in the refrigerator.


For the cake:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoons water
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • 1 ½ cups cake flour
  • Rum

For the filling:

  • 15 oz. small container ricotta
  • 3/8 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/8 cup semisweet chocolate chips

For the frosting:

  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 3/8 cup granulated sugar


Directions for the Pound Cake:

  1. Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. Grease a 9x5x3 ½-inch loaf pan with vegetable shortening or spray.
  3. Beat butter in bowl of electric mixer set at medium-high speed until smooth and shiny, about 15 seconds.
  4. With machine still on, take about 30 seconds to sprinkle in sugar. Beat mixture until light, fluffy and almost white, 4 to 5 minutes, stopping mixer once or twice to scrape down sides of bowl.
  5. Mix eggs, yolks, vanilla and water in a 2-cup glass measuring cup and set in a pan of tepid water until mixture is about 70 F.
  6. With mixer set at medium-high speed, take 3 to 5 minutes to add egg mixture to butter-sugar mixture in a very slow, thin stream. Finally, beat in salt.
  7. Remove bowl from mixer stand. Turn ½ cup flour into sieve or shaker; sprinkle it over batter.
  8. Fold gently with rubber spatula, scraping up from bottom of the bowl, until flour is incorporated. Repeat twice more, adding flour in 1/2-cup increments.
  9. Scrape batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with a spatula or wooden spoon. Bake until cake tester inserted into crack running along top comes out clean, 70 to 80 minutes.
  10. Let cake rest in pan for 5 minutes, then invert onto wire rack. Place second wire rack on bottom, then turn cake top side up.
  11. Cool to room temperature, wrap cake in plastic, then in foil. Store cake at room temperature.
  12. Makes 8 to 10 servings.
pile of mini chocolate chips

Directions for the Filling:

  1. Add the granulated sugar and beat with a wooden spoon until creamy.
  2. Add the chocolate and stir to combine.

Directions for the Frosting:

  1. Place the whole amount of cold cream in a clean bowl. Whip with electric mixers on high till it starts to turn into whipped cream.
  2. Add 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar.
  3. Add granulated sugar to taste. Add the sugar a little at a time because it goes far. For a quart of cream I usually use about 3/4 cup sugar. You can start with a half and it mixes almost immediately so you can tell if you need more.
  4. Keep whipping till it is as thick as you like it. Watch it carefully so it does not get over whipped once you put the sugar and tartar in.
mixer with beaters covered in whipped cream frosting and frosting in the bowl

Assembling the Cake:

  1. Cut the cake horizontally with a long thin-bladed knife into 3 equal layers. Place the bottom layer of cake, cut side up, on a serving plate. Brush the cake with rum.
  2. Spoon the ricotta filling over the bottom cake layer and smooth the top.
  3. Repeat for the next layer.
  4. Lightly press the last cake layer, cut side down, onto the filling. Brush the top with rum. Refrigerate until cold, several hours or overnight.
  5. Once the cake is cold and the filling has set, frost the cake with the whipped cream frosting.
  6. Serve and enjoy.

If you make this, I’d love to hear what you think!

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