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  • The Chopping Blog

When Inspiration Strikes: The Story of the Cannoli Cake

Crystal P.
Posted by Crystal P. on Jan 2, 2019


Have you ever had the urge to create a new and different dish but didn't have the foggiest idea of what to make? Or have you ever wondered how to put the seemingly random ingredients in your kitchen together? That’s what recently happened to me.

Over the course of a week of work at The Chopping Block, I collected some mascarpone cannoli filling, chocolate chip pistachio topping and some butter that was leftover from my classes. I took home the food thinking I could make something with it but had no idea what! I spent the next couple of days looking through cookbooks, watching YouTube and Googling the ingredients trying to find something to make, but nothing was coming to me. Then the light bulb went off. What do I like to do? I like to bake so the cannoli cake was born! The only decision to left to make was what kind of cake and frosting. I decided on a chocolate cake with cream cheese chocolate frosting to complement the pistachio/chocolate mixture. I've included The Chopping Block's recipe for that filling as well. 

Buttermilk Chocolate Layer Cake

(via Dominosugar.com)

½ cup shortening

2 cups Domino sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 (1oz) squares of unsweetened chocolate melted and cooled

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups buttermilk


Now, to bake the cake! I found the best tunes to bake to, turned on the oven, read my recipe twice, positioned my utensils, gathered my ingredients, smiled (because the kitchen is my happy place) and measured out my ingredients. With my butter (I substituted the shortening for butter because butter makes EVERYTHING tastes better) and sugar creaming, I lined up the remaining ingredients in the order that they are to be mixed.


Ten minutes later the cake batter was complete and with the cake in the oven I moved on to my favorite part, the frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

½ cup butter, softened

3 oz. cream cheese

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Dash salt

1 (1 lb) package of domino Confectioners Sugar

1-2 tablespoons of milk

2 (1oz) squares of unsweetened chocolate melted and cooled

I have to say that the frosting came together with ease and to make sure it had a little extra chocolate kick, I added a tad (can you believe that “tad” is an actual measurement?) of chocolate extract. Perfection!


Cannoli Filling

(recipe from The Chopping Block)

3/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese

1/4 cup mascarpone cheese

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon orange zest

1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1/2 cup unsalted pistachios, finely chopped

I checked my cakes and they were ready to be pulled out of the oven and cool.


After the cakes cooled, I studied the three layers to determine which one would be best for the bottom, middle and top layer. I then brushed off the excess crumbs from each round and started frosting, making sure that I preserved enough frosting to make a dam (the ring around the edges of the cake) so my filling didn’t spill over.


Making the dam also helps the edges of the layers stick together. Pause, repeat, add the top layer, frost the sides and decorate. I have to say I knew the final product was going to be a tall one but wowzers, I didn’t think the finished product was going to yield the height it did and while it looked good, it was still missing something. I studied the semi-finished cake and realized I couldn’t call it a cannoli cake without have the cannoli shells somewhere on the cake. In all honesty, I don’t have cannoli shells just stored up for a rainy day – and inspiration struck again. I did have waffle cones, and just like that, my seemingly random ingredients came together.


The only thing left to do was find an audience to taste it. Who better to go to then my culinary comrades at The Chopping Block? So I packed up the cake to surprise my coworkers with a treat. As I unwrapped the cake, I heard “oohhs” and “aaawws.” I explained the cake's origin, sliced, served and held my breath for the first sign of pleasure. It was a grueling 10 seconds but alas, I saw smiles on faces. That's the real treat for me, knowing that I created a pretty, palate pleasing, decadent dessert.


If you happen to have the urge to create something new and different but don't have the foggiest idea of what to make or have seemingly random ingredients and wonder how to put them together head on over to the Chopping Block and we will be happy to show you how “random” ingredients aren’t so random at all. We have classes, videos and recipe ideas just for you!

If you are into baking like me, check out our upcoming Pie and Tart Boot Camp on Saturday, January 26 10am.


Topics: cannoli, baking, cake, Recipes

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