Cassata Cake (Sicilian Ricotta Cheesecake)

Source:  Bonnie Stern, Toronto

Cake Base

1 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 eggs
2 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons lemon juice (Brandy, orange liqueur or Amaretto)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter a 9 x 5 loaf pan.
Cream butter until light and add sugar gradually.
Beat eggs in one at a time.
Add vanilla and flavourings
Stir or sift dry ingredients together and stir into egg mixture quickly. Pour into pan and bake 1 1/4 or 1 1/2 hours.

Note:  This cake improves with age and freezes well.

Filling, Icing and Final Assembly

1 pound ricotta cheese
2/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 ounces of liquor (Orange, Cognac, Amaretto, your choice)
2 ounce. semi-sweet chocolate grated
1/4 cup candied fruit


2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup sifted icing sugar
2 ounce liquor (use the same as above)

Beat the sugar into the cheese.  Add vanilla, liquor, fruit and chocolate.

Slice the cake into 3 or 4 layers and spread each with some of the cheese mixture reshaping the cake into a loaf as you proceed.
Finish with a layer of cake. The cake will keep, well wrapped, two days at this point.

A few hours before serving whip the cream until light and add the sugar and liquor.  Continue beating until quite stiff.

Spread a coating of cream over the sides and top of the cake.
Place the remaining cream into a piping bag and decorate the cake.
 It could be garnished with pistachio nuts , chocolate curls or strawberries.  This cake is very rich so serve thin slices.

Notes:   This cake ban also be iced with chocolate icing and it can be made into a round instead of in  a loaf.

My Notes:  I usually add extra chocolate to the filling and leave out the candied fruit.