The gone to heaven cassata siciliana cake. When you see it, all sweet and colorful, you understand that only an island like Sicily they could invent it, and only a city like Palermo could be its ideal showcase.
The cassata cake, a typical Sicilian dessert, is able to pay homage to so many of the best ingredients of the island in just one bite.
Sweetened ricotta (sheep’s milk, by tradition), sponge cake, marzipan and candied fruit: is your mouth watering yet?
- 1.5 kg (3.3 lb) sheep ricotta
- Sponge cake
- Candied fruit to taste
- 200 g (7.05 oz) of chocolate chips
- 500 g (17.64 oz) sugar
- 350 g (12.35 oz) powdered sugar
- Lemon juice to taste
- Apricot jelly to taste
Start with the ricotta: Sift the ricotta cheese and whisk with the sugar to obtain a soft, smooth and frothy cream. Add the diced candied fruit and chocolate chips.
Use sponge cake and marzipan: Cut the sponge cake into thin slices. Roll out the marzipan with a rolling pin to a thickness of around 0.2 inches.
Assemble the cake: Line a fluted cake tin with parchment paper and cover the bottom with slices of sponge cake (don’t leave any empty spaces!). For the sides, use small rectangles of sponge cake and marzipan. It’s best if they are of the same size and alternating colors.
Fill the cake: Sprinkle the sponge cake with the sugar syrup and pour in the ricotta cream. After leveling it, cover the whole surface with slices of sponge cake, then with a disc of parchment paper and finally with a cardboard one.
Put it in the fridge: Press lightly with your free hand to let the cream settle and put the cassata in the fridge. It must firm for a few hours.
Use sugar and lemon: Prepare the glaze: sift the powdered sugar inside a bowl and, still mixing, dilute it with filtered lemon juice. Pay attention to pour the juice a few drops at a time, until the glaze has reached the right density.
Prepare the apricot jelly: Dilute the apricot jelly with a little water and melt it, keeping it on very low heat.
Take the cassata out of the fridge: Take the cake and flip it onto a flat plate, leaving the cardboard disc.
Switch to the frosting: Gently remove the paper and brush the entire surface with a thin layer of diluted jelly, then pour the glaze in the middle: spread it with a spatula, until covering the whole cassata.
Decorate the cassata: The decoration with candied fruit should be done before the glaze dries; this way, the glaze itself will act as a glue!
“The traditional decoration of the cassata is “baroque” and full of bright colors. The strips of candied pumpkin (long, thin and curved) mimic the petals of a flower, while the other candied fruit should be arranged in harmony to cover the spaces.
Your cassata siciliana cake is now ready to served.