Joined Nov 29, 2001
When I lived in Brooklyn, a bakery called Alba (18th Avenue @ 70th Street) made the most perfect cassata I have ever had. This is the cake by which I find myself judging other cassatas. It had a distinctive shape and was covered in a shiny flat icing (poured) with beautiful candied fruit all over it. Let me also mention, it was round.

Nearly all the cassata recipes I see call for a pound cake split and filled but nothing rivals the cake I used to get from Alba.

Does ANYONE have a recipe for a traditional cassata?

The following is Alba's website and specifically, their catalogue. The cassata is listed but unfortunately the picture isn't great.
Joined Nov 6, 2001
Nick Malgieri's book "Great Italian Desserts" has 3 kinds of cassata ...alla siciliana is the best one there. Its basically cannoli filling surrounded with rum soaked sponge cake and covered with marzipan..its excellent. I make that one and one other at work now and people love them..Hope this helps

Joined Feb 6, 2002
Hey Chiff,

Do you mean this Cassata?

Ill do a thorough Net Hunt to see what I find. I did find a recipe but the darn thing was in Italian. Maybe I should post the link and someone here can translate??

Joined May 26, 2001
I wish I could link to photos the way you can! Even at this late hour, that picture made me HUNGRY!!!!!!
Joined Feb 6, 2002

Actually Isa was the one who told me how to do it.

Posted by Isa

Then all you have to do is copy and paste the link into that box that pops up when you hit the IMG button when posting a reply.



Still looking for that recipe. Was wondering if I posted the one I found in Italian if Pongi could translate. If he doesn't have a recipe for it already. :D

Here it is in Italian:

RICETTA La Cassata alla Siciliana Ingrediente base: una torta di Pan di Spagna di circa gr. 400 (vedi ricetta "Pan di Spagna") Ingredienti per il ripieno zucchero gr. 250; ricotta gr. 700; zucca candita, cedro e scorzette d'arancio gr.200; Cioccolato fondente gr. 100; 1/2 bicchiere d'acqua; liquore semisecco Ingredienti per il bagno zucchero 1 bicchiere; acqua 1 bicchiere; maraschino 1/2 bicchiere ESECUZIONE: passare la ricotta in un setaccio, sciogliere lo zucchero sul fuoco in un minimo di acqua fino a che il liquido diventa filante unire ricotta e sciroppo di zucchero e lavorare velocemente con una frusta per evitare che faccia grumi quando si sarà ottenuta una crema molto fine aggiungere il cioccolato, il cedro, la frutta e la zucca candita ridotti in pezzetti, mescolare bene tutto e porre in frigorifero preparare uno sciroppo al maraschino facendo bollire acqua e zucchero fino a quando incomincia a filare e versandovi il maraschino dopo averlo fatto raffreddare con un coltello a lama lunga dividere il pan di Spagna in due o, meglio (la cassata sarà più morbida) tre dischi dello stesso spessore ed inumidirli con la sciroppo al maraschino spalmate la crema di ricotta sul disco inferiore (pareggiando con la lama di un coltello) e coprire con l'altro disco di pan di Spagna se avete voglia rifinire con una glassa e guarnire con frutta candita
Joined Feb 6, 2002
AHA! I found a Cassata alla Siciliana Recipe that's in ENGLISH!

Pan di Spagna Recipe
six eggs; five spoonfuls of flour; five spoonfuls of sugar; two spoonfuls of potato flour; one dose of yeast


mix well the eggs and the sugar and steam warm the paste
whip the mixture taking care it rest always warm
when the paste will be frothy add very gently the flour, the potato flour and the yeast and mix gently with a wooden spoon
pour the mixture in a baking pan greased with butter and sprinkled with flour and cook forty minutes in the oven at 160-180 °C

Cassata alla Siciliana

basic ingredient
one cake of "Pan di Spagna" gr. 400 heavy (for its preparing see the recipe "Pan di Spagna)

ingredients for the stuffing
sugar gr. 450; buttermilk curd gr. 700; candied pumpkin,citron and orange-peel gr. 200; biter chocolate gr. 100; water half a glass; an half-dry liqueur

ingredients for the syrup
sugar one glass; water one glass; maraschino half a glass


1. Sieve the buttermilk curd, fuse the sugar on the fire in a little of water until the liquid becomes ropy
2. Join the buttermilk curd with the syrup of sugar and work the whole quickly with a whisk to avoid it becomes clotted
3. When you heave obtained a very thin cream add the chocolate, the citron, the fruit and the candied pumpkin cut into small pieces, mix well the whole and put in the refrigerator v boil water and sugar until it becomes ropy, let it cold and put in the maraschino
4. cut the "Pan di Spagna" into two or, better, three disks ( the cake will be more soft) of the same high and moisten with the maraschino-syrup
5. spread the cream of buttermilk curd on the inferior disk and cover with the other disk of Pan di Spagna
6. if You wish, You can give the finishing touch with an icing and garnish with candied fruit

Here is the link to the site case they have another version.

The Nepolitan Cooking

Id still ask Pongi if he has a recipe though.

Joined Mar 6, 2001
My recipe is just like Pmj333 decription but I omit the dried fruits (never have them at work) and my recipe doesn't call for marzipan. Sponge cake, not pound.

Sounds like yours was covered in poured fondant (cheaper then marzipan).

My favorite Italian bakery (the best cannoli in the world, IMHO) claims that they get the best ricotta. That it's much drier then what we get in the stores. I know they fold some whip cream in it to lighted it too. Perhaps that's what you can't reproduce....the same texture of the ricotta? I can't reproduce it with grocery store ricotta.

There's also a similar cake with marachino liquor (like what Shawtycat posted but that's different from the plainer cassata pmj333 and I are mentioning....I think.
Joined Mar 13, 2001
Here's one from Spago Chocolate, and it is rectangular.

Six-layer Cassata

8 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
7 oz (1 3/4) sticks unsalted butted, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup frangelico
Ricotta filling (recipe follows)
chocolate glaze

Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 F. Butter or coat with vegetable spray two loaf pans (8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches). Dust with flour, tapping out any excess flour.

In a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, whisk the eggs. Gradually whisk in the sugar and continue to whisk until the eggs are foamy and thicken slightly.

Transfer to the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle or beaters. Beat on high speed until thick and pale yellow, 7 to 10 minutes (this is very important for the proper volume).

Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the flour, then the melted butter and vanilla. Divide the batter and scrape into the prepared pans, gently tapping the pans on the work surface to level.

Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes, reversing the pans back to the front after 15 minutes. A cake tester inserted into the center of one of the cakes should come out clean.

Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Run the point of a sharp knife around the inside of each pan and turn the cakes out on a foil-lined rack. let cool completely.

Cut out a piece of cardboard that will fit into one of the loaf pans. Then cut a piece of parchment paper into a 7 x 14 inch stirp. Position the cardboard on the parchment paper so that the long ends of the parchment extend out to the side. (This will make it easier to fit the cake back into the pan as well as lift the cake out of the pan.) Set aside.

To assemble, using a long serrated knife, level the tops of the cakes. Cut each cake horizontally into three even layers. Save the best of the six layers for the top. Set the first layer on the cardboard and brush lightly with Frangelico. Then, using a small metal spatula, spread 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the Ricotta filling evenly over the layer. Carefully place the next layer on top and repeat with the Frangelico and the Ricotta Filling. Continue with the remaining layers, Frangelico, and Ricotta filling. You will have six layers of cake and five layeres of filling.

Carefully lift the ends of the parchment paper and fit the cake into one of the pans, the paper extending over the sides of the pan. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Remove the pan from the refrigerator. Holding both ends of the parchment paper, lift the cake from the pan and place on a rack. Slip the paper out from under the cardboard and fit the rack into a baking tray. Drizzle Chocolate glaze over the cake and allow to set completely. Refrigerate until needed, 2 to 3 hours.

To serve, cut into slices and garnish with freesh berries. Or if desired, tiny rosettes of melted white chocolate can be piped around the top, using a piping bag.

Ricotta Filling
16 ounces whole milk or low fat ricotta cheese
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dried sour cherries
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
3 ounces coarsely grated milk chocolate

In the workbowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the ricotta, sugar, cherries and orange zest. Process until well chopped.

Add the chocolate and combine with a few on/off turns.

Scrape into a small bowl and refrigerate, covered, 2 to 3 hours or overnight.
Joined Nov 29, 2001
OMG! What a perfect specimen! Notice the flared bottom on the cake. I don't have Malgeri's Italian desserts book (hmmmm...maybe next purchase? ;) )
Joined Nov 29, 2001
I really want to make one of these...I think it will be my first cake in our new house. It's a real celebration cake - I don't think anyone would ingest that much sugar unless they were celebrating something! It even looks festive. I can't wait to make one. Thanks again :roll:
Joined Jan 11, 2002
Hmmm....Cassata, one of my favourite desserts!:lips:
VERY, very easy to make. Basically, the recipe (and the look) is just the one Shawtycat posted. The cake quoted by Kimmie, although sounding very yummy, has little to do with the typical Cassata Siciliana and reminds more some Cassate made with icecream which are also widely diffused in Italy.

The recipe I use for Cassata is the following:

INGREDIENTS (serve 10-12):
-Pan di Spagna 500 gr (See Shawtycat recipe)
-Apricot jelly
-Icing sugar

For the filling:
-Ricotta 800 gr
-Sugar 250 gr
-Mixed candied fruit (better if they contain cedar and pumpkin which are the most traditional) 200 gr
-Bitter chocolate in bars 150 gr
-Vanilla extract or (better) a whole vanilla pod
-Powdered cinnamon
-Orange Blossom Water

To cover:
-Green marzipan OR Fondant
-Mixed candied fruits

1) Make a syrup with the granulated sugar, vanilla and 3 tbsp water. Cool down. Sieve the Ricotta and work it in a bowl to a cream, then add the syrup, a pinch cinnamon, few drops Orange Blossom Water and work with a spoon until very smooth. Complete with candies and chocolate, both cut in small pieces.
2) Cut the Pandispagna in large slices (about 1 cm thick) and moisten them with a mixture made with Maraschino and the same amount of water.
3) Line with greaseproof paper a round cake mould (10 inch diameter and 2 inch high) then cover the bottom and sides with the Pandispagna slices. Pour the Ricotta filling, level with a knife, cover with other Pandispagna slices. Refrigerate overnight.
4) Put the Cassata out of shape on the serving dish and remove the paper. Melt 3-4 tbsp apricot jelly with the same amount of icing sugar on a low heat to a syrup, cool it down, then brush it on the surface of the cassata.
5)Cover the Cassata with Fondant or with a thin sheet of Marzipan (according to your taste, time and budget). They're both traditional, but MUST be colored with some drops of green color! Garnish with plenty of candied fruits.

The MAIN thing you need to get a good Cassata is a really best quality Ricotta. If you can, look for fresh ricotta as the packed brands aren't so good...and avoid low-fat Ricotta! Cassata isn't made for people on diet, so buy the fattest and tastiest ricotta you can find;)
Chocolate: use bitter chocolate, never milk chocolate as the filling is sweet enough. BTW: although it's the traditional dose, to my taste 450 gr sugar are definitely too much for 700-800 gr ricotta and make the filling too sweet. Sometimes I use even less than 250 gr sugar...
Never forget to keep refrigerated the cassata at least 12 hours to amalgamate the ingredients, before putting it out of shape, decorating and serving.
Being not a pastry chef, I find much more difficult making fondant than Marzipan and always choose this second option, but most pastry shops in Italy cover the cassata with icing (probably due to the budget problems as W.DeBord said)

One thing more: formerly Cassata was a typical Easter cake, but has become so popular that you can find it now all the year and everywhere in Italy there is a true Sicilian pastry shop...



Joined Apr 4, 2000

If you would like the recipes from Malgieri's Italian Dessert, let me know and I'll copy them for you.
Joined Mar 6, 2001
Oops, meant to mention a thanks to Pongi, I appreciate you sharing your knowledge, that was interesting. I never found that info. in my time I'll be sure to add what I've now learned. Thanks!
Joined Jun 28, 2001
I just want to pop my 2 cents in here to stress the importance of using quality ricotta. While I've never had cassatta, I know fresh ricotta makes all the difference in a lemon ricotta cheesecake recipe I have. The original recipe just called for store bought ricotta and I made it that way and it was really good. Then I came across some fresh ricotta and decided to give it a try and words cannot even describe how much better it was. It was just FRESH tasting. It literally created an experiecen in my mouth. I've tried making it again with the regular ricotta b/c it's so much cheaper then I can eat it more regularly and I just can't go back. So this cheesecake is now reserved for special occassions when I've got the extra money to spend on fresh cheese. And it makes it all the more exciting when I do have it instead of eating it all the time.
Joined Mar 3, 2002
LotusCake, I agree that fresh ricotta is superb. But unless there's more than one City of Brotherly Love, why don't you go to DiBruno's at the 9th street market for it: $2.99/lb? (Claudio's is probably the same). They make mozarella & ricotta fresh daily. DB has a great cheese selection and will special order what they don't have. Even if you live way out in the burbs, you can make it a get all sorts of things cheaper trip. If you have kids, it's a great outing. Places in the burbs that carry special foods (like the Source in BrynMawr) are outrageously expensive. I DB''s url below so you can preview what's available there. For the rest of the market you have to just check it out. (fresh fruit, veggies, spice shop, butchers, including game, homemade sausage, goat, etc, fish, and all sorts of kitchen supplies, cheap clothes, etc. There's even a shop that sells what looks to be authentic imports from Africa.

If there is a second CBL, then try draining your commercial ricotta overnight in a lined sieve over a bowl in the fridge. Though it still won't be as good, it will bring you a little closer to the texture of the fresh.

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