Italian Ricotta Cassata Cake Recipe

How to make Ricotta Cassata Cake

Cassata cake is a traditional Italian dessert that originates from Sicily. It is a layered cake made with sponge cake soaked in liqueur or fruit juice, filled with sweetened ricotta cheese, and often adorned with candied fruit, chocolate, and nuts. The cake is typically shaped into a round or rectangular form and chilled before serving. It is a popular dessert during special occasions and celebrations in Italy, known for its rich flavors and beautiful presentation.


For the Sponge Cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Ricotta Filling:

  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied fruits
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

For the Soaking Syrup:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup liqueur (such as Marsala or rum)

For the Garnish:

  • Candied fruits
  • Chocolate shavings


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour a round cake pan.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk. Mix until just combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the ricotta filling by combining the ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in a bowl. Stir until well combined. Fold in the chopped candied fruits and mini chocolate chips.
  6. Once the cake has cooled, slice it horizontally into three even layers. Place one layer on a serving platter and brush it with the soaking syrup made by combining water, sugar, and liqueur in a small saucepan and heating until the sugar dissolves. Repeat this process with the remaining layers.
  7. Spread a generous amount of the ricotta filling on top of the bottom layer. Place the second layer on top and repeat the filling process. Finish with the third layer.
  8. Frost the sides of the cake with the remaining ricotta filling, ensuring an even and smooth layer. Decorate the top with candied fruits and chocolate shavings.
  9. Refrigerate the cassata cake for at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld together and the filling to set.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

  • Calories: 340
  • Total Fat: 14g
  • Saturated Fat: 8g
  • Cholesterol: 95mg
  • Sodium: 150mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 45g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1g
  • Sugars: 30g
  • Protein: 8g
what is a cassata cake
cassata cake recipe sicilian

Health Benefits:

While cassata cake is undoubtedly a treat that should be enjoyed in moderation, it does offer a few potential health benefits. Ricotta cheese, a key component of the filling, is a good source of protein and calcium, which are important for muscle and bone health. However, it’s worth noting that cassata cake is also high in sugar and saturated fat, so it’s best enjoyed

Tips for Making Cassata Cake

Making cassata cake requires some preparation and attention to detail. Here are some tips to help you create a delicious and visually stunning cake:

  • Use quality ingredients: Since cassata cake has relatively few components, it’s important to use high-quality ingredients, such as fresh ricotta cheese, flavorful liqueur, and ripe fruits, to ensure the best taste.
  • Prepare the sponge cake: A light and fluffy sponge cake serve as the base for cassata cake. Make sure to follow the recipe instructions carefully to achieve the perfect texture.
  • Soak the sponge cake: To add moisture and flavor to the cake, soak the sponge cake layers with a combination of liqueur and fruit juice. This step enhances the overall taste and texture of the dessert.
  • Sweeten the ricotta filling: Ricotta cheese is a key component of cassata cake. Sweeten the ricotta filling with sugar, vanilla extract, and perhaps a touch of citrus zest for added flavor.
  • Layer and assemble carefully: As you layer the sponge cake and ricotta filling, take care to spread each component evenly and create neat, uniform layers. This will ensure that every slice of cake is visually appealing.
  • Decorate creatively: Cassata cake offers endless possibilities for decoration. Arrange vibrant fruits, candied cherries, chocolate shavings, or chopped nuts on top of the cake to create a beautiful and enticing presentation.

What To Serve with Cassata Cake

  • Whipped cream: Serve a dollop of freshly whipped cream alongside each slice of cassata cake. The creamy texture and slightly sweet flavor of the whipped cream pair wonderfully with the cake’s richness.
  • Fresh berries: Garnish the cake platter or individual slices with a selection of fresh berries like strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries. The natural sweetness and vibrant colors of the berries complement the flavors of the cake.
  • Gelato or sorbet: For a refreshing twist, serve a scoop of gelato or sorbet alongside the cake. Opt for flavors like vanilla, strawberry, or lemon to harmonize with the cassata cake’s taste.
  • Espresso or coffee: Enjoy a cup of espresso or coffee alongside a slice of cassata cake. The rich and bold flavors of the coffee help balance the sweetness of the dessert.

More Options for Cassata Cake

Mixed Berry Cassata Cake: Instead of using only strawberries, incorporate a mix of fresh berries such as raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. The combination of different flavors and colors adds a delightful twist to the traditional cake.

Tropical Cassata Cake: Give your cassata cake a tropical flair by using exotic fruits such as mangoes, pineapples, and kiwis. The vibrant colors and sweet, tangy flavors of tropical fruits will transport you to a sunny paradise with every bite.

Nutty Cassata Cake: Add some crunch and richness to your cassata cake by incorporating chopped nuts, such as almonds, pistachios, or hazelnuts, between the layers. The nutty texture and flavor provide a delightful contrast to the creamy ricotta filling.

Lemon Cassata Cake: Infuse your cassata cake with a zesty and refreshing lemon flavor by adding lemon zest and juice to the ricotta filling. This variation adds a bright citrusy note to the cake, making it a perfect choice for those who enjoy tangy desserts.

Mocha Cassata Cake: Coffee lovers will appreciate this twist on the classic recipe. Add a layer of coffee-flavored cream or a drizzle of espresso syrup between the sponge cake layers for a delightful mocha twist.

Pistachio Cassata Cake: Incorporate ground pistachios into the ricotta filling or sprinkle them on top for a unique and nutty flavor. The vibrant green color of the pistachios also adds visual appeal to the cake.

Matcha Green Tea Cassata Cake: For a trendy and flavorful twist, incorporate matcha green tea powder into the ricotta filling. The earthy and slightly bitter notes of matcha pair beautifully with the sweet components of the cake.

Remember, these variations are just a starting point, and you can get creative with your own combinations and flavors. Adapt the cassata cake recipe to suit your preferences and experiment with different fruits, flavors, and toppings to create a personalized and unique dessert.

In conclusion

The Cassata Cake is a delightful Italian dessert that brings joy and indulgence to any occasion. Its layers of moist sponge cake, sweet ricotta filling, and vibrant garnishes create a visually appealing and delicious treat. While it may not be the healthiest dessert option, it can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Whether you choose to make the traditional version or explore variations with different flavors and decorations, cassata cake is sure to delight your taste buds and impress your guests. So, gather your ingredients, follow the recipe, and indulge in the heavenly delight of cassata cake. Happy baking!

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