italian cannoli cake with rum

Italian Cannoli Cake with Rum and Chocolate Ganache

  • Author: Tiffany La Forge
  • Prep Time: 25 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 10-12
  • Category: cake


Italian Cannoli Cake is composed of layers of rum-soaked vanilla buttermilk cake, creamy ricotta and mascarpone cannoli filling, rich chocolate ganache, and a cinnamon and citrus kissed buttercream.


For the Cake:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature

For the Filling:

  • 3/4 cup drained ricotta*
  • 3/4 cup mascarpone
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dark chocolate
  • Pinch salt

For the Buttercream:

  • 1/2 cup room temperature butter
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
  • 2 tablespoons Half + Half

For the Rum Soak:

  • 3 tablespoons simple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract

For the Ganache:

  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


Make the Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and spray two 6″ cake pans with baking spray or coat with butter and flour.
  2. In a standing mixer, beat the room temperature butter with the sugar until light and creamy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, combine well. Beat in vanilla.
  3. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.Add in the flour mixture and the buttermilk in alternating additions, flour – buttermilk – flour – buttermilk – flour. Scrape down the bowl between each addition. Do not overmix.
  4. Divide the batter between the two 6″ pans and bake until the tops are springy and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 22-30 minutes. Let cool.

Make the Filling:

  1. Beat the ricotta with the mascarpone until smooth. Add in the sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, orange zest, and salt. Beat until combined. Fold in the chocolate, and refrigerate, covered with plastic, until ready to use.

Make the Buttercream:

  1. Beat the butter and sugar until creamy and light, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, cinnamon, and orange. Beat in the Half and Half and mix until creamy and combined.

Make the Ganache and Syrup:

  1. Meanwhile, make the ganache. Heat the cream until hot but not boiling and pour over the chopped chocolate. Let sit for a minute and whisk until combined. Let the ganache sit at room temperature until cool and pour-able consistency. It will thicken as it cools. If you use it while it is still warm, it will be too thin. Whisk the simple syrup, rum, and orange extract to make the rum syrup.

Assemble the Cake:

  1. Slice each 6″ layer in half, evenly. With a pastry brush, soak each half generously with the rum syrup, poking several holes with a toothpick in the cake beforehand.
  2. Using a pastry bag filled with the buttercream, make a “ring” around each cake layer before you fill them to ensure the cannoli filling does not ooze out.
  3. Fill each layer with the cannoli filling and layer 4 layers of cake high.
  4. Frost the outside in the buttercream. You can frost a “crumb coat” and refrigerate before frosting it again.
  5. When the cake is frosted, chill until cold. When the buttercream frosting is very cold, pour the ganache on top. You can either cover the entire cake in ganache, or cover the top and allow the ganache to drip down while still exposing the cake.
  6. Decorate the cake with the rest of the filling, piped into rosettes, and chopped roasted almonds or pistachios. Enjoy!


It’s important that everything is room temperature for this cake recipe to ensure that your batter does not break.
*Drain the ricotta in some cheesecloth before adding to the cannoli filling to get rid of excess water.