Cassata

Indulge in this rich creamy Sicilian classic of candied fruits, ricotta and marsala wine
By Catherine Fulvio
Cassata
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8-10
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes plus 6 hrs chilling
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 375 g caster sugar
  • 1 lemon, finely grated zest only
  • 325 g flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • butter, for greasing

For the filling

  • 350 g ricotta cheese
  • 150 g icing sugar
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 60 g dark chocolate chips
  • 60 g candied pineapples
  • 60 g candied papaya
  • 50 g pine nuts, toasted
  • 100 ml marsala
  • 1 orange, juice only

For the decoration

  • 100 g ricotta cheese
  • 250 g icing sugar
  • toasted flaked almonds
  • candied fruits

Method

1. For the cake: preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line, butter and flour a 23cm spring-form cake tin.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with 100g of the caster sugar and ½ teaspoon salt until stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted from the bowl. Transfer to another large bowl while you beat the egg yolks with the remaining 275g sugar and lemon zest.

3. Fold the meringue into the yolk mixture, then sieve in the flour and baking powder and fold together to give a batter. Pour mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 30-35 minutes. Test for doneness with skewer. Set aside to cool.

4. For the filling: in a mixing bowl combine the ricotta, icing sugar, cinnamon, chocolate chips, candied fruits and pine nuts and set aside.

5. When the cake has cooled, use a long serrated knife to cut it horizontally into two layers.
Lay a sheet of cling film on the work surface and put the base of the cake in the centre.

6. Combine the marsala and orange juice and sprinkle onto each circle of cake. Spread the ricotta fruit mixture over the base and sit the other cake layer on top. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 6 hours.

7. For the decoration: whisk the ricotta and icing sugar together and smooth this mixture over the top and sides of the chilled cake. Arrange the toasted almonds and candied fruits on the cake in your preferred pattern.

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