Thursday, May 29, 2008

A-Z: C is for Cassata

I promise I haven't forgotten about my baking goal. It's just been slow-going. I wanted to challenge myself with this goal, which means using recipes that I would normally shy away from due to their complexity or ingredients. It's been a little difficult just finding recipes that intrigue me and stretch my limits.

This Cassata Cake was definitely intriguing. It's described as a traditional Sicilian dessert, similar in flavor to a cannoli. Cue The Godfather. I made it a couple of weeks ago for a small gathering of friends. Everyone seemed to enjoy it and I thought the flavors worked nicely together. The only problem I had was getting it safely to the party. As you can see, it toppled over in transit. Fortunately, the tumble didn't affect the taste.

Cassata Cake

For the cake:
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 eggs
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 325. Grease 2 9-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Separate the eggs and set the whites aside. Beat the egg yolks on medium speed until very thick, about 4 minutes. Gradually add the cold water. Slowly add the sugar and beat well for another 3 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Sift the flour mixture over the yolk mixture and mix well.

Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together until stiff peaks form. Fold whites into the yolk mixture. Divide batter between the pans. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and then turn cakes out onto rack and cool completely.

For the filling:
2 lbs. whole-milk ricotta cheese
2 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Beat the ricotta cheese well and add the confectioners' sugar and cinnamon. Add the vanilla and stir in the chocolate chips. Chill until ready to use.

For the rum syrup:
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 Tbl light rum

Put sugar and water in small sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil for 1 minute and then remove from heat. Add the rum. Cool to room temperature.

For the whipped cream:
1 pint heavy cream
1 1/2 Tbl confectioners' sugar
1 Tbl cold water
1 tsp unflavored gelatin

Whip cream with confectioners' sugar until soft peaks form. Dissolve gelatin in water over low heat. Remove from heat, cool slightly. Whip gelatin into cream until stiff peaks form.

To assemble:
Cut each cake layer in half. Place one of the 4 halves on a cake board or plate and sprinkle with a little of the rum syrup. Spread a third of the ricotta filling on top. Place the second cake layer on top and repeat these steps. Top with the final layer of cake. Frost with whipped cream and garnish with additional mini chocolate chips. Chill at least four hours.

1 comment:

Jen said...

That looks and sounds WONDERFUL.