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.
As an Italian growing up in New Jersey, cannolis had a quintessential role in my life. They were a prominent part of any dessert table or special occasion, happily placed next to a colorful cookie tray and sfogliatella (“lobster tails,” another cream-filled pastry).
My family would debate about what local Italian bakery made the best cannoli, each having their passionate opinion. And when a bakery they loved had an off day or put out an inferior product, they weren’t afraid of expressing their disapproval with fiery Italian fever. They’d give them a second or even third chance, sure, but if they didn’t redeem themselves the bakery would become per me sei morto (“dead to me”).
As a kid, I didn’t care much for cannoli filling. It wasn’t sweet enough for my overly sugar-favored palate. I would lick the chocolate chips off the edges and sneak the cannoli back into the pile, chocolate-less. I never dare touched the pistachio ones, not trusting a nut that was bright green; true to my skeptical and questioning nature.
As an adult, I grew to love cannolis. Although, moving out of New Jersey and to the West Coast at 21 has made it impossible to find a good cannoli for the past 10+ years. Or, at least, what I was raised and trained to define a good cannoli as.
A few years ago, I was working at an Italian-themed hotel and restaurant in downtown Portland as a Pastry Chef. I was in charge of all of the desserts for the bakery, restaurant, and catering, in addition to wedding cakes. I would talk to the brides, set up the tastings, design the cake. I got a phone call one day from a sweet, lovely Italian woman who kept me on the phone for a half hour.
“I heard you are from New York,” was the first thing she said to me.
“Well, I’m from New Jersey.”
“No, no. Listen. I heard that you’re the Pastry Chef and that the Pastry Chef is from New York,” she replied, sweetly yet sternly, as if I was lying. Trust me, I’d rather tell people I’m from New York than tell people I’m from New Jersey, lady, I thought.
“Well. I grew up and was raised in northern New Jersey, right outside of Manhattan. I did go to culinary school in New York and worked at restaurants and bakeries there for several years. Maybe that’s why you heard that.” Wait… why was this woman even questioning my birthplace? “Why?”
She proceeded to tell me that her anniversary party was coming up and that her favorite cake was a Cannoli Cake, but that she couldn’t find a decent one in all of the Pacific Northwest. She also proceeded to tell me her strict requirements for a cannoli cake — how it must be soaked with rum, filled with mascarpone, include orange, and be speckled with chocolate bits and almonds. In between all of this, I also heard this sweet woman’s entire life story, putting her on hold every so often to check on my cheesecake in the oven, and feeling too bad to tell her that I really should be getting off the phone and attending to my catering order.
Thankfully, she was happy with her cannoli cake tasting, and she hired me. She drove me crazy for the next month, to be perfectly honest, but it was worth it to make her so happy. I created a 5-tier cake for her party, decorated with edible, hand-formed red and pink sugar roses. This same exact cake.
Now, to her, a proper cannoli cake had to be frosted in whipped cream. But, I’m sorry — that wasn’t able to happen with a huge, 5-tier version, in the middle of summer, being transported an hour and a half away. She got a buttercream exterior, but she fought me on it every step of the way. I made her a small, whipped cream-frosted version just for her at no charge, and told her that she’d been warned if it melted. She told me she’d eat it on the drive there, and we were both happy.
How to Make Cannoli Cake
This delicious Cannoli Cake is composed of layers of a rich, vanilla-scented buttermilk cake that I’ve adapted from Nick Malgeri. It’s then soaked with a rum simple syrup and filled with a mascarpone and ricotta cannoli cream that’s spotted with dark chocolate.
An orange and cinnamon buttercream ices the outside, before being glazed with a rich chocolate ganache and studded with almonds.
Is it just me, or does rum and chocolate make any cake that much better?
Are you a fan of Cannoli Cake? What are your favorite Italian desserts? Let us know in the comments below!
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Italian Cannoli Cake
- Prep Time: 25 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 10-12 1x
- 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 butter, room temperature
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
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:
- Preheat the oven to 350° and spray two deep 6″ cake pans with baking spray or coat with butter and flour.
- 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, until well combined. Beat in vanilla.
- Mix the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add in the flour mixture and the buttermilk in alternating additions, beginning and ending with the flour: flour – buttermilk – flour – buttermilk – flour. Scrape down the bowl between each addition. Do not overmix.
- 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:
- 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. Refrigerate, covered with plastic, until ready to use.
Make the Buttercream:
- Beat the butter and sugar until creamy and light, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, cinnamon, and orange. Beat in the cream and mix until creamy and combined.
Make the Ganache and Syrup:
- 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:
- Slice each 6″ layer in half, evenly. Using a pastry brush, soak each half generously with the rum syrup, poking several holes with a toothpick in the cake beforehand.
- 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.
- Fill each layer with the cannoli filling and layer 4 layers of cake high.
- Frost the outside in the buttercream. You can frost a “crumb coat” and refrigerate before frosting it again.
- 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.
- 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.
I made this for a co-workers birthday and shared it at our staff meeting. I live in the South and a few people had never even heard of a cannoli, but everyone loved it! I doubled the cake recipe to make three 8” layer cakes and four cupcakes (I saved those for my daughter who just likes vanilla things), made the regular amount of filling, and used an ermine frosting (I like the one in Midwest Made) for a super light and not too sweet accompaniment. This was seriously one of the best things I’ve eaten in a long time. Thanks so much for the great recipe!
Denise Silk says
Well written recipe and absolutely wonderful. The whole family loved it. I will definitely keep this recipe.
This recipe looks amazing! I’m planning on making it for my dad’s 70th birthday and was wondering what would you recommend the cooking time to be if I bake the cakes in 8 in pans?
Sue did you get a time for 8” cake plate, wondering the same myself
I made this for my (half) Italian partner for his birthday. It was *perfect*. Texture, moisture, flavor, it was great! It even held together well enough to wrap individual slices to send home with friends.
I’m going to attempt to scale it up and make either a taller 6” or a 9” cake to serve at his Very Italian family reunion this summer…this recipe is so good that I’m willing to risk their critiques! Thank you for sharing it!
So glad you liked it, Taylor! I have a very Italian family too, I am sure they will approve! 😉
Rebecca turner says
I made this for Valentines Day and thought it was worth the effort; however, the buttercream icing was too sweet and the cake quite dry. Still I made another one for a birthday, but I used a stabilized whipped cream for frosting. This tasted wonderful and everyone loved it. Will definitely make this for another special occasion.
This cake was a lot of work. I followed all directions and it was not good, not any part of it. Very disappointing. Dried out and hard all of it. What did do wrong, didn’t like the orange or the rum either
Hello Jan, I am not sure what went wrong here without more information. Since you mentioned it was dry, I would assume that it might have been over-baked. I am sorry to hear you didn’t like the orange and rum combination, that is a classic combination for a cannoli cake but can certainly be left out next time!
Everyone loved this cake. A week later I received a request to make a chocolate one. I wanted to add a pic of this beauty to the post but I couldn’t figure it out lol
Hi Tanya, wonderful! You can always tag me on the photo on Instagram! 🙂
I have a question as do a few others that are trying your recepie. If you want people to follow you it would be good business to answer their questions!!!!!!
Carol Endres-Ng says
I would like to make this for a special friends birthday. What is the depth of the 6″ pan? they come in 2”, 3″ or 4″ Thank You
Cindy Smith says
It doesn’t matter how deep it is because you just need to separate the batter evenly between the two pans.
Meghan S says
Hello! I was wondering how long you recommended draining the ricotta for? If I do it over night will it be too dry?
Lisa Sharpe says
Would a swiss meringue buttercream work with the other buttercream ingredients?
Hi Lisa, you could definitely use a vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream instead of the buttercream used in the recipe.
Hi Tiffany! I’m using regular 8” cake pans because i don’t have 6” pans and I also want the cake to be a little larger to serve more people. My pans aren’t as deep as the 6” x 3” pans you recommended (I think mine are 8” x 2”). How high should I fill my 8” pans and how would you adjust the baking time to ensure they’re cooked through without overdoing the edges? I did a dry run using 3x the recipe and spread the batter among 3 pans (two had a little more batter and those cakes were undercooked in the center even after 30 mins, while the third pan with less batter cooked perfectly in about 26 mins). If I fill two pans with the batter from 3x the recipe (instead of spreading across 3 pans), do you think the two cakes should be big enough to split and create a 4 layer cake? Thanks so much in advance!!
Hi, Is there a specific type of rum I should use?
Hi. I wanted to make this for my friends birthday. It looks and sounds absolutely amazing! I was wondering how it holds up? Can I make it and put it all together the day before?
Stacy L Miller says
Hi. I wanted to make this for my friends birthday. It looks and sounds absolutely amazing! I was wondering how it holds up? Can I make it and put it all together the day before?
Is there a way to make this without alcoholic rum? I’d like to make it for an upcoming birthday, but they cannot have any alcohol . Rum extract maybe? Ty!
Hi Teri, rum extract would be fine or you can just leave it out!
I made this cake for my Dad’s 90th birthday party. I made it in a 13″ oblong pan. I got a little carried away (LOL) and ended up making it 5 layers. It was incredibly heavy (weight) and I thought we’d have a ton of leftover cake. I made the ganache the night before. I wouldn’t do that again. It didn’t melt as much as I would’ve liked so not as elegant as if I’d made it the same day. However, several people said they loved the “fudge” that dripped down the side. Everyone (literally every single guest) LOVED the cake. We had enough for everyone to have a generous slice and for each guest to take a piece home. I barely got a piece for myself. This is definitely a family favorite. I’ve already been asked to make it for several future events. I was so nervous about it being good enough for this very special occasion. No need for worries at all! Thanks for the wonderful recipe.
How many cupcakes would this recipe make?
The batter should make about 1 dozen cupcakes.
I plan to make this as my friend’s wedding cake. I plan to make 3 tall tiers using 3″ high pans in sizes 8″, 6″, and 4″ to accommodate 35 people, with the 4″ top being taken home by the bride & groom to freeze for 1 year anniversary. I need some advice with my questions, please.
– How many cups of cake batter does 1 recipe make?
– How full should I fill the pans with batter?
– I was planning to make 2 of each size cakes to get really tall frosted cakes with 6 cake layers with 5 filling layers. Will this work with this texture cake and filling?
– Will each cake hold up for a hot summer 16 mile drive in an air-conditioned car?
– If the individual frosted cakes will not make the transport, do you have any suggestions for altering the buttercream to be more stable so my decorated cakes don’t melt in the car? I plan to assemble the tiers at the wedding venue.
– Since this cake uses butter in the batter, if the restaurant refrigerates the assembled cake, how long in air-conditioned room temperature does the whole cake need for it to relax and not be hard, so it tastes best?
– May I leave the cinnamon out of the frosting recipe. I’m just thinking for a wedding cake? The flecks in the frosting may not look right for a wedding cake. Any other suggestions?
– I plan to have the restaurant serve the ganache on the side when plating each piece of cake.
– Will the topper freeze well enough for one year and still taste decent enough?
Thank you so much for all of your help with answering my questions. This is a fantastic recipe; I hope it will make a great wedding cake too. I appreciate all of your help and quick response.
I hope your cakes turn out fantastic! Please see below…
– How many cups of cake batter does 1 recipe make? I have not measured the batter in terms of cups, and that will vary based on how much air is incorporated, etc.
– How full should I fill the pans with batter? No more than 3/4 full, depending on how tall you want cake layers and if you are cutting them in half.
– I was planning to make 2 of each size cakes to get really tall frosted cakes with 6 cake layers with 5 filling layers. Will this work with this texture cake and filling? It should be fine, as long as your ricotta is very well drained and the ricotta filling is very sturdy. Definitely put a ring of buttercream frosting around each cake center before filling. To make the filling a bit more sturdy, mix the filling with some buttercream or alternate layers with buttercream only.
– Will each cake hold up for a hot summer 16 mile drive in an air-conditioned car? Most likely yes, as long as it’s air conditioned. The buttercream is very stable. Make sure cakes are well chilled.
– Since this cake uses butter in the batter, if the restaurant refrigerates the assembled cake, how long in air-conditioned room temperature does the whole cake need for it to relax and not be hard, so it tastes best? 1 hour.
– May I leave the cinnamon out of the frosting recipe. I’m just thinking for a wedding cake? The flecks in the frosting may not look right for a wedding cake. Any other suggestions? Yes, the cinnamon is optional.
– I plan to have the restaurant serve the ganache on the side when plating each piece of cake. That’s fine, or you can drizzle the ganache over the cake when plating.
– Will the topper freeze well enough for one year and still taste decent enough? I have never tried freezing this cake for one year and can not say.
Susan Gale says
My friends loved this recipe. I am going to attempt adapting this to cupcakes for work. With Covid restrictions, individual servings are best for sharing.
Thank you for a great recipe!
Glad you enjoyed it, Susan! 🙂
Lisa Kuller says
Hi! I plan to make this cake for my son’s birthday next week. He loves cannoli and bourbon. Do you think I could do a bourbon soak instead of rum? Thank you so much! I’m excited to try this recipe!
Hi, Lisa! I don’t see why not! I think bourbon can go well with the flavors and should be delicious! I hope he enjoys the cake. 🙂
John Park says
I have regular 6″ pans. Will those work or do I need to get deep ones?
Hi John, I would recommend using 6″ x 3″ round pans.
I’d like to make this for my grandpa’s 80th birthday, but he will not tolerate having any alcohol at all. What could I use instead of the rum?
I would like to make this cake in a double layer 9 x 13 pan for my husbands birthday party as I have to travel with it. Should I double or triple this recipe?
Hi Bobbie, I would triple the recipe.
How thin is this batter? Can I get away with using springform pans instead of traditional cake pans?
It looks fantastic and I’m excited to bake it for my best friend’s birthday party this weekend!
Hi, Paige! The cake batter is relatively thick. However, I have never baked this in a springform pan so I can not advise. I would recommend doing a test cake (just do a half recipe) and testing it first.
I need to make this in 9 in pans. I still want a 4 layer. Can I make 2 double batches or triple the batch?. How full should I fill the pans to make them thinner layers so I don’t have to cut them?
Hi Lisa! You can double the recipe for an 8 or 9″ cake. You could make two large cakes and then cut them in half to make 4 cake rounds/layers or you could make 3 cakes to make a 3-layer.
I would recommend cutting them opposed to baking each layer because when you bake thinner cakes there’s more room to overbake them.
Lisa Thorpe says
If making this for home, can whipped cream frosting be used and how would one decorate it?
Anna M Fusco says
I’ve made this many times and it always comes out perfect. My only issue is time. I’ve been at this cake for hours. Between cleaning & draining & chilling….is it only me? I think I’m a pretty good baker but I think these “times” are unrealistic. I even prep all my ingredients (which I don’t include in the time it takes to make cakes). And it’s not just this recipe, it’s almost all cakes.
Is it just me? : (
It won’t stop me from baking/cooking. I’m just asking….thanks! ;}
I agree. The recipe is fantastic, but even as a very experienced baker I find the times to be wildly unrealistic. I would recommend adjusting the times so that people can make better planning.
My husband and sons made me this cake for my birthday. Not only was it beautiful but it was probably the most delicious thing I have ever eaten in my 45 years on this planet.
Could I switch the orange extract with vanilla extract??
I need to make a huge amount of cannoli cake for 30 people. I was going to do an 8” round for a centerpiece cake and an 11×15” sheet cake for serving. Will this work for a sheet cake?? How would I do the filling? Do I just do one ring of buttercream around the whole thing or should I do it differently? Thank you!
Hi, I just made it for 35 people by making 3 2pound 10inch round cakes and a triple filling. I did a ring of frosting to hold the filling in on both filled layers. From bottom up it was cake, filling, cake, filling, cake, frosting, ganache! Everyone loved it.
I made the cannoli filling for the cake – but it looks a little on the thinner side… I added more powdered sugar to see if it will help. Can I omit the simple syrup and hope that the filling will add some moisture to the cake instead? I love the taste of the rum syrup though…
Was thinking of assembling the cake tomorrow, Friday, and then finish the outside on Saturday. The cake is for Sunday. I don’t hope that’s too far in advance to put it together?
Thank you for any advice.
Hi, I’m confused at the instructions for the cake. Are we adding the buttermilk into the wet ingredients? Or are combining dry ingredients with buttermilk first then introducing it to wet ingredients?
Hi Win, the buttermilk stays separate and gets alternated into the batter with the dry ingredients. “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, until well combined. Beat in vanilla.
Mix the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add in the flour mixture and the buttermilk in alternating additions, beginning and ending with the flour: flour – buttermilk – flour – buttermilk – flour. Scrape down the bowl between each addition. Do not overmix” Let me know if you have any questions!
Hi! My family loves this cake but this time I will have to make it bigger to serve more people. Can I double the recipe and use 2 8” pans and after baking cut the layers in 1/2 making 4 layers. Thanks.
Hi Lynn, yes! You can double the recipe for an 8 or 9″ cake. You could make two large cakes and then cut them in half to make 4 cake rounds/layers or you could make 3 cakes to make a 3-layer.
Cher Ianni says
Does the baking time increase if you use 8 or 9” pans?
Will this work with Gluten Free flour?
Hi Jeena, yes, if you use a 1:1 substitute it should work. Let me know how it goes!
Leslie Peery says
I’m making this cake for my daughter’s 18th birthday. I want to make the cake the day before I frost it. Would you recommend that I put the rum syrup on the day before, or wait and do the syrup on the day I frost it?
Hi there Leslie, you should put the syrup on the day you frost it. I hope your daughter has a lovely birthday!
Loved making this cake! It was very easy to follow and came out delicious for my mom’s 70th birthday! Thank you!
So happy to hear, Ashley! 🙂
Yurico chiodi says
Hi Tiffany , I will be making this cake for my dad ‘s birthday and I only have two 9 inch pans, should I double the batter or triple ? I couldn’t find any 6 inch pans.
My other questions is, if simply syrup is only water and sugar.? And what rum would you recommend?
Hope to hear from you !
Hi Yurico, happy to help! Doubling this recipe (technically, 2.2x this recipe) makes two 9″ cakes. However, a lot of readers preferred to triple the recipe and the filling to make taller cakes with more layers. Simple syrup is made by just bringing equal parts of water and sugar to a boil and letting it cool. For the rum, just use your favorite! Both light and dark will work, depending on flavor preference. 🙂
Hi Tiffany- I’m so excited to make this cake! You referenced tripling the recipe to make more layers. Would I still use a 6″ pan? I only have 9″ pans. How many layers are in your cake? (an inside picture of the cake would be lovely)
Lynn Peraino says
Hi I am making this for my daughter she is graduating 5th grade in a drive by so we are trying to make it special for her. I have never made cannoli cream and I was wondering how long do I need to drain the ricotta for.
Hi Lynn, I hope your daughter has a wonderful graduation! Draining the ricotta for 1-2 hours should be fine!
Hi! I am making this cake for my daughters s16 party. I need to make it 2 days ahead? Is that ok and how do I store it in fridge ? Wrap it? I’m worried about ruining the frosting ?
Hi Millie, I think we connected about this on Instagram but let me know how it turned out! 🙂
Hi!! This sounds delicious!! My daughters loves canoli cake and I’m going to attempt to make this for her surprise Sweet 16 at my home. I have about 25 ppl coming. How can I make this into a 13 x9 layered cake is it possible? Or should I just double the recipe and use regular round pans instead? Please help 😊 thanks
Hi Millie, so sorry your comment got lost! Let me know how it turned out! 🙂
Linda Theresa says
Hi, this recipe looks delicious!
I am making for my sister’s birthday!
Thank you for posting
Hi Linda, I hope your sister loved it! 🙂
Linda Theresa says
Hi, This recipe looks delirious.
I going to make it for my sister’s birthday.
Thank you for posting this.
How long should I let the ricotta drain in the cheesecloth? Should I squeeze it in the cheesecloth first? Or just let it sit there over a bowl in the fridge
Hi Amelia, you can refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight in the cheesecloth to drain. Placing something heavy over it (like a bowl) will help, too!
Making this for a surprise to a graduate that had his party cancelled because of the pandemic. I doubled the recipe and put in 4 6” cake pans. They overflowed and then fell. I did use cake flour. I am to tired to re do tonight and am going to bake a new cake in the morning. I am hoping you see this and can help trouble shoot before I start over. The cake is the best thing I have cake I have ever tasted, but it’s a complete mess. I saw the note about having the ingredients at room temp. Wondering if it was the cake flour that did me in….
Hi Amy, oh no! I’m sorry to hear. I definitely don’t use cake flour so that could be the case. It could also be that you over-beated the batter or incorporated too much air. And it’s very important that all ingredients are room temperature. Please let me know how it goes tomorrow!
Not sure if my previous reply helped you! Did it end up turning out?
I made this cake without the rum simple syrup and it was so good!! The filling was amazing it tasted exactly like a cannoli’s and the frosting was also delicious. My family loved it and thought it was super fancy. Would 100% make it again!
Yay! So happy to hear, Maddy!!
I made this cake for Christmas last year for friends. It was just delicious. Today I got a call would I please make this cake again for their adult daughters birthday. And this Italian daughter is picky! Best praise ever. Thank You for this phenomenal recipe,
Wow! Thank you for sharing, Kathy! So happy to hear that! 🙂
This was amazing! My cannoli cream wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked, but delicious. And this is no way near enough frosting to crumb coat first. I did the crumb coat and while it was chilling, I made another batch of frosting. But great cake and tasted so so good!
So glad you enjoyed, Yvette! 🙂
Oh my gosh! We’re in the middle of making this cake now. Every layer we make is delicious. Can’t wait to have a slice later.
Yay! So glad to hear, Debbie! 🙂
Tiffany! This is the best cannoli cake I’ve ever had. Just amazing. My family enjoyed it yesterday. I would love to share this recipe on an Italian FB page if I may.
Debbie, of course! Wow – so happy to hear that! 🙂
I am making individual cannoli filled chocolate cakes with a ganach whipped frosting to cover the whole cake and then a little ganach drizzle. Can I make this the day before and put it in an airtight container in the refrigerator ? Haven’t worked with ganach too much.
For anything with ganache, I recommend making the ganache fresh before using. If you refrigerate your ganache, it will firm and you will need to gently heat it again, but it may separate. For the whipped ganache frosting, you would need to let it come to room temperature and that will take quite a long time. That’s why I would recommend just making both the ganache and frosting the day of.
I made this delicious cake yesterday for a party. Tripled the recipe for two 9 inch layers. Also tripled the filling. Even though my skills were a bit lacking the cake turned out wonderfully. I was told this morning that it was even tastier the next day. Thank you for such a great recipe!!! I will use the buttermilk cake recipe for other applications it is so nice.
What ratio is the simple syrup for this recipe; 1:1, 2:1 or 3:1 ? Thank you.
It is 1:1. 🙂
THANK YOU FOR POSTING THIS RECIPE!! Divine!! I only had 8 inch pans so…I made two cakes and I made a cannoli cheesecake for 3rd layer at the bottom!!
8 inch are too thin to cut in half. Also for icing I doubled it and it was perfect. Used whipping cream instead half and half beat the crap out of it until super fluffy. Ganache I used 1/4 cup cream 1 tbs corn syrup 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1/2 cup dark Ghirardelli chips. I wish I could post pic here I don’t do social media. Great recipe!! Oh! Jic the ricotta wanted to weep on me later I added 3 tsp cornabys EZ Gel instant thickener to filling instead of more sugar I didn’t want to change flavor of filling by adding more sugar and wanted insurance on weeping- I love that stuff!
Love icing LOVE cake and LOVE FILLING!!
Thanks for the thoughtful review, Missy! I am so glad you enjoyed!
How deep is the 6 inch pan for this recipe.
Jodi L Rothstein says
How far in advance can the components be made? I’m making it for my husband’s birthday dinner on friday and want to spread out all of the cooking this week…
The cake can be made well in advance. Just wrap very well in plastic wrap and keep either in the refrigerator for 2 days or frozen (defrost before frosting).
The icing can be made 5 days in advance, the ganache 5 days in advance (slowly reheat over a water bath), and the filling can be made up to 2 days in advance.
I hope you love the cake!
This was my first time making this recipe. It was great so thanks so much for sharing it with all of us!
I used it in a large half sheet for a 75th birthday and everyone raves about how good it was.
I had no issues with the recipe but chose a couple of adaptions…
– I made Italian buttercream which fit very nicely with the cake but used your flavoring and proportionate quantities.
– I made a thicker ganache so that I could actually apply it as a layer overtop the buttercream.
Again, it was wonderful and I definitely recommend this recipe.
Thank you for the thoughtful review, Cathy! I’m so glad that you and your party enjoyed!
I saw your photo on Instagram, and it looked beautiful!
I’m making a two tiered cake (10 inch and 8 inch) with two layers of the cannoli filling in each tier.
How much do you think I should make of the cannoli filling?
Thanks for any help.
You should be good with doing 3x the filling, perhaps even 2.5x. I would do 3 and use any leftovers for stuffing French toast or a cannoli dip! 🙂
Hi Tiffany ~ I am almost finished making this cake. Once I pour the ganache on top and pipe some decorations on top, will refrigerating it cause the ganache to ‘sweat’ once it’s out of the fridge?
I’ve been testing the flavors between each step…. outstanding!
I am glad you’re loving the cake so far! The ganache has never sweat for me, but it really will depend on a few factors. When I refrigerate the cake, I put it in a thick cake box wrapped in plastic wrap. If the ganache does sweat, let it sit out in a cool room or gently dab the ganache right out of the fridge with a paper towel.
Let me know how it goes! 🙂
Tiffany, the cake was fabulous!! The end result was perfect, and no ganache sweating 🙂
Everyone in my family loved the cake. I enjoyed making it and eating it!! Thanks for a wonderful recipe!
Yay, Jo!!! I am so happy that you and your family loved it! 🙂
Hi I just made the filling but the ricotta didn’t come out smooth and it looks a little watery although i left it draining overnight. I don’t have time to make extra what should i do? Please help!
Oh no! You can add more powdered sugar and/or mascarpone to the filling. That should help!
Nancy Hecox says
I just finished making the cake- can’t wait to try it! Question- is it safe for kids to eat? I didnt even put half of the rum mixture on but concerned
Hi Nancy, I think it should be fine!
I’m in the process of making the cake now. I thought 6 inch pans seemed too small and I was right. Divided into 3 6 inch pans maybe or else I got a lot of volume from the mix. The pans are over flowing and making a mess. Are there any errors in your recipe.? I am an experienced baker but you’d never know it if you saw my kitchen right now.
Oh no. I’m sorry to hear this happened to you. How much did the cakes overflow? This recipe fits into the 6″ pans perfectly, but perhaps too much air was incorporated and your batter ended up having more volume than normal. Were you able to save the cakes?
Can I omit buttermilk? If so, what could I sub?
Hi Alexandra, you can use milk instead of buttermilk, or you can make your own buttermilk! Stir 1 tablespoon of lemon juice into 1 cup of whole milk and let stand 10 minutes before using.
This cake looks delicious. If I want to omit the alcohol, should I still be doing some sort of soak? If so, how would you adjust the flavors to account for that?
Hi Lauren, you can definitely still use the simple syrup to soak the cake and just leave out the alcohol. It will help to keep the cake really moist!
Lynda K Jackson-Masulli says
This would be a terrific wedding cake. I anticipate 12″, 9″ and 6″ tiers. How would the recipe be altered for the 9″ and 12″ tiers so all tiers are similar heights?
Hi Lynda, I would just fill all of the cake pans to the exact same heights. I am not sure what kind of standing mixer you have or the capacity, but this recipe makes two 6″ cakes. Doubling this recipe (technically, 2.2x this recipe) makes two 9″ cakes. Making this recipe 3.8x (I would just do 4x) would make two 12″. I then cut each of these cake rounds to have a 4-layer cake with 3 layers of filling. I don’t think your mixer would fit 4x this recipe, though, so I would just do 2x the recipe for each 12″ pan. I hope this helps!
I made this cake for my granddaughter’s birthday. It was a big hit. They said it was the best cake I ever made. I’m just sorry there wasn’t more left over. I did double the cake batter and used 6 inch pans 4 layers.
I will be making this cake again soon.
So happy you and your family loved it, Diane! Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. 🙂
Diane, how tall did your cake run out doubling the recipient and doing four layers and just about how much servings were you able to get? Did you need to use and dowels as I imagine it was near ten inches of cake. Thanks in advance.
Diane, how tall did your cake turn out when doubling the recipie and doing four layers? Also, just about how much servings were you able to get? Did you need to use and dowels, as I imagine it was near ten inches of cake. Thanks in advance.
This cake is currentily in the works in my kitchen! We’re having an Italian themed birthday party for a coworker on Monday and I was put in charge of making the cke . I thought that would be perfect! I’ll let you know how it turns out…but for now I can’t stop sampling the buttercream! So yummy!
Awesome, Erin! Let me know how it goes and tag me in a photo on social media! 🙂
Marie Pollock says
Yum! I made this for my husband’s 40th birthday party! I doubled the recipe and used 9 inch rounds. It turned out beautifully and was delicious. I’ll defin be making this again!
I can’t put a photo in from my phone, but it looked so pretty!
Hi Marie! Awesome! So glad you and your husband enjoyed. And Happy 40th to him! Can you tag me in the photo on social media so I can see your beautiful creation?!
Annette Cantatore says
Can this be altered to a 8 or 9 inch cake to feed more?
Hi Annette, yes! You can double the recipe for an 8 or 9″ cake. You could make two large cakes and then cut them in half to make 4 cake rounds or you could make 3 cakes to make a 3-layer.
I can’t wait to make this…thank you for 8” cake pan info…was wondering same thing…☺️
I made this as the Groom’s cake for a wedding yesterday. I followed the recipe exactly and it was AMAZING! I will definitely make this again, everyone raved. Light, delicious and unique. Thanks for sharing your recipe.
Thank you, Renee! So happy to hear that everyone liked it! 🙂
Hello. I am making a 9×13 cake for a 70th birthday. They want a vanilla cake with cannoli filling. I was going to use a doctored cake mix. For the filling would doubling be the correct amount? And the icing doubling also? ThAnk you.
Hi, Maureen! Doubling the filling should be fine. For the icing, I might triple it and be okay with leftovers (can be used for cupcakes!) just in case. Doubling it would probably be a little skimpy, especially if you want to use the icing to decorate it at all or do some border piping.
Ok thank you. I’ll take a picture when done
How long to drain ricotta. It’s for Saturday. Was going try and make the filling, icing and cake on Thursday and assemble it on Friday for Saturday. I was going to make the cake on Friday but for got about my root canal 🙁 so I’m not sure how I’ll feel. Just wanted to get a jump start. Thank you
Ah, good luck with your root canal! Everything should be fine made on Thursday. Just make sure the ricotta is REALLY well drained because if the filling sits it will continue to drain water if it isn’t. I like to drain the ricotta in a cheesecloth overnight in the fridge. Can’t wait to see photos of your cake! 🙂
Hello. So I made the cake. Icing and filling tasted great. I had tripled the icing then made one extra just in case. The icing didn’t look right. I damned the cake. It looked to soft. So I took it off added more powder sugar. Damned again and filled. Still wasn’t happy so I added more powdered sugar and iced. Look good. Added a little more to make the border. They didn’t want the chocolate so I added a picture. I’m kinda mad at myself for not adding more powder sugar from the beginning. Must of had a senior moment 🙂 because I should have known this. I’m sure my sister in law will still like it. Thanks again.
How did everyone like it Maureen? 🙂
I’m sure they liked it. Went to get a piece and it was gone:). I will definitely make this again
Maria Payer says
This cake proved to be the beautiful and delicious finish for my family’s “Italian” Easter dinner. Following Veal Saltimbocca and Cacio d Pepe pasta only THIS cake would do! According to your suggestion I doubled the recipe and used 8” pans. With the exception of having made too much ganache it worked beautifully. Thank you for the wonderful recipe.
Everyone at the table raved…and not a crumb was left on a plate.
Thanks for taking the time to leave a thoughtful review, Maria! I am so happy you enjoyed this cake. Now I want some Cacio e Pepe!
I don’t have rum but have Grand Manier. Can I substitute and omit the orange extract or reduce the amount?
Yes Maria that should work. I wouldn’t use as much of the Grand Manier so it’s not too much of an overpowering flavor.
This cake is delicious! I have never tried a cannoli because…RICOTTA…I think you have converted me! I did add more chocolate to the ganache so it would be a bit less runny, and I gave it a almond border and some cannoli chips on top. Bravo!
Yay Melissa! Welcome to the cannoli club! So glad you enjoyed.
How would you amend this so that I could bake cake on Thursday then finish up on Friday to be served on Saturday? What are your recommendations?
You can bake the cake on Thursday. Let the cake cool completely and then wrap it in plastic very well and refrigerate. On Thursday, soak, layer, and frost the cake. Keep it in the fridge (wrapped really well… I usually put mine in a cake box and wrap the whole box in plastic). Hope it turns out wonderful!
Oh, and also, it’s best to let the cake sit out for a little bit to take the chill off before serving.
This looks fabulous!! But for her 21st birthday, my daughter wants the cannoli cake as chocolate cake, and buttercream without the citrus or cinnamon..maybe toasted almonds on top of the ganache? Will that work? Or should I just convince her that chocolate cake and vanilla buttercream filled and frosted is a better idea…?
Yes, that will work Mary! The cannoli filling will go well with chocolate cake as well. And you can definitely leave the cinnamon and citrus out of the buttercream, no problem. Let me know how it goes and I hope she has a wonderful birthday! Big 21 🙂
Thanks so much!! The ricotta is draining in the fridge tonight, and cakes are ready to assemble tomorrow…I’ll let you know how it is!
Awesome, Mary! Tag me in a picture of it if you can. Mmmm… now I’m craving an extra chocolate-y Cannoli Cake! haha. Hope she has a fantastic 21st!
So the cake was a huge success!! I made a devils food cake, filled it with the cannoli filling ( including the cinnamon), frosted it with whipped cream ( with the cinnamon) and drizzled some melted chocolate on top, silly-string style: perfect! Because it was already chocolate cake inside, I did the drizzle instead of the ganache over the frosting. Thanks so much for the wonderful recipe and ideas!!!
Hi! I want to make this filling for an upcoming 2-tier cake for a 90th birthday party. How many days in advance do you think I can make the filling? Or could the filling be made in advance and frozen (I’m thinking no because of the moisture in the cheese)? Thank you!
Hi Liz! I wouldn’t recommend freezing the filling. I think the filling would be fine if made two days ahead. I wouldn’t recommend letting it sit longer than that. Cheers!
Kimberly Carmichael says
I would like to make this for a grooms cake (I have to make a replica of his cigar box guitar. Do u think it will be just as tasty with out the ganache and just a little bit of the soak? It has to be covered with fondant?
Hey Kimberly, I think that will be fine! Just make sure the cake is very well-chilled before covering. The filling is actually pretty stable, though, and I believe it will be fine. You can also do the soak as usual. If you want more of a chocolate flavor, you can add the ganache in the layers.
Beginner baker here. I have been freezing my cakes before icing, but should I steer clear of freezing for this cake due to the syrup soak?
Hey there Maggie. I definitely wouldn’t recommend soaking this cake before freezing it. However, it’s fine to freeze the cake if making beforehand and then defrost it the night before you want to ice it in the fridge. You can then soak the defrosted cake and ice from there. Happy baking!
I followed the recipe “to a t” and it turned out absolutely delicious!! Every component was so good…the buttercream was my favorite part. It was for my boyfriend’s birthday, and all seemed to really enjoy it. The only slight problem I encountered was that my cakes sank a little in the middle during baking. Anyway, uploaded a photo of my cake to the “tried it” section of the Pinterest recipe! Thanks for the great recipe!
Yay Maggie!! So happy you liked it. Sorry your cakes sank a little. I don’t see your photo on Pinterest, but please e-mail it to me or tag me if you can so I can see it! 🙂
Can I use dark rum?
Yes Fran, any rum is fine!
Hi! This looks so good, would like to make it in a couple of weeks for an Italian themed dinner party. Cake ingredients says 1 stick of butter..how many cups? I will also be making it on 9″ pans 🙂
Hi Tran! One stick of butter is half a cup. I hope that you enjoy the cake! 🙂
I made this today and I could not have been happier. The perfect size cake. The cake itself was super moist and fantastic.
I spread the ricotta out on paper towels to dry which absolutely was needed. The cheesecloth would have taken way more time than I had.
I also cooked out the alcohol in the rum before adding it to the simple syrup because I wanted my 2 year old to be able to enjoy it.
I will 100% be making this again.
The only change I made was leaving out the almonds and instead of chocolate chunks I used mini chocolate chips because to me that just screams “cannoli” (I’m from NYC, I’ve honestly never seen almonds on a cannoli, only mini chocolate chips and green pistachios)
Hi, Maria! I am so happy that you loved the cake, thank you so much for your feedback. Draining the ricotta on paper towels is a great trick, too. Thank you for sharing. Mini chocolate chips are definitely very cannoli. The cannolis from my favorite Italian bakery in NJ have almonds, and I like the texture the sliced almonds add to the cake. But I also sometimes make it with pistachios, or leave out the nuts and just do chocolate chips (for all the nut haters in my life)! Very versatile indeed. I am so happy that you and your 2-year-old enjoyed the cannoli cake! Cheers!
I’m thinking of making this but in a 9″ version. Can you make this a day ahead of time? Or just make the filling and the frosting a day ahead and then bake the cake the day you’ll serve it? Thank you and look forward to making this.
Hi, Jen! You can absolutely make the cake the day ahead. Just let it cool completely and wrap it in plastic wrap before refrigerating. I hope you love it! 🙂
Italian cannoli cake I would like to make it in 8 or 9 in pans instead of the 6 in. Is that possible without compromising the recipe. Is so could you send the recipe revised for a 9 in pan? Thanks cake sound divine I want to make it for my daughters birthday on Sunday
Hi Rochelle, that should work fine. I would double the recipe for an 8 or 9″ cake. You could make two large cakes and then cut them in half to make 4 cake rounds or you could make 3 cakes to make a 3-layer. Please let me know how it comes out and send me pics!
I was going to use 8″ pans, too. Do you think additional baking time will be needed? Will it be safe to test after 22 minutes? I don’t want it to fall! Thanks for this recipe. I’m going to do it for my son’s graduation party.
Hi Beth! Additional baking time will most likely be needed but will also depend on how tall the cakes are. Definitely test it and rotate it, for even baking. I have not tested doubling the recipe but plan to do so. However, I know a few people on Instagram have doubled the recipe and showed me photos and it came out great! Please let me know how it goes!
Jennifer Hurlburt says
So excited to try this for my grandmother’s birthday next weekend. I think i will do a test run this weekend, and thanks for the tip for 3 8″ pans
Bintu - Recipes From A Pantry says
What an amazing looking cake! So scrumptious! I could eat all this in one go 🙂
Chef Mireille says
now this would definitely make me break my diet!!!
hahaha – it would be worth it!!
Neli @ Delicious Meets Healthy says
Wow, this cake looks stunning! Those layers look perfectly even and the cake is amazing! Can’t imagine how delicious it tasted. Will pin this recipe for later reference. 🙂
Thanks so much, Neli! 🙂
Michelle @ Vitamin Sunshine says
Wow! So much going on in this beautiful cake. It’s truly a work of art!
Thank you, Michelle!
Platter Talk says
OK. I’m in. This is a beautiful, tasty sounding, very special cake. I have a baby shower to bake for and this cake is it!
Yay!! Let me know how it comes out and send me pictures! 🙂
This cake is out of this world! My daughter made this for me on my birthday. It was sooo good my heart rate accelerated and I almost died and went to heaven! My favorite cake! I am so lucky to have such a talented daughter!
lol, thank you momma! <3
So stunning! This is almost too good to eat!!