Cassata Cake (Sicilian Ricotta Cheesecake)
Source: Bonnie Stern, Toronto
1 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
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 flavorings. 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 liqueur (Orange, Cognac, Amaretto, your choice)
2 oz. semisweet chocolate grated
1/4 cup candied fruit
2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup sifted icing sugar
2 oz liqueur (use the same as above)
Beat the sugar into the cheese. Add vanilla, liqueur, 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 liqueur. 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 can 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.