Day 58, Quarantine Kitchen, The Cannoli Cake

I realize that many of you are not celebrating while in quarantine, and I get it; kids home from school, staying home, and facing those 4 walls when you could be out doing what you normally do, wearing a mask to protect yourself and others.  It all gets old pretty fast, we are a society that wants instant gratification....I want this over as much as the next guy, but I also realize that we need to be careful and need to safe.  I'm fine with staying home and following the guidelines. 
That said, I thought it would be fun to share a cake that I love, and one that is a big, bold taste of celebration.  Chocolate cake layered with cannoli filling topped with mascarpone cream and then surrounded by filled cannoli.  The best part of this is that the cake should be made and filled the day before to let the cannoli filling seep into the cake layers, then fill the cannoli just before serving, and stand them around the cake.  When this shelter in place is over, this is the cake to make.  The layers can be made now and then frozen until you are ready. 

Cannoli Cake

For the Ricotta Cream 3 cups heavy cream  2 cups whole milk ricotta  2/3 cup sugar  1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract  2 cups shaved semi-sweet chocolate  1 cup chopped chocolate or sprinkles  1/2 cup chopped pistachios   8 large or 16 small cannoli shells 
1.      Beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.  Add the ricotta, sugar, vanilla and shaved chocolate.  Refrigerate until ready to use. 

For the Cake and Frosting 2 cups granulated sugar 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 3/4 cup Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 2 large eggs 1 cup whole milk 1/2 cup vegetable oil 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 cup boiling water

1.      Preheat the oven to 350° F. Coat two 9-inch baking pans with nonstick cooking spray.  2.      In To make the chocolate cake, in a large bowl, stir whisk together the granulated sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder and soda, and salt. Stir in the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. With an electric mixer, beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Stir in the boiling water and mix until blended, about 2 more minutes. Divide the batter evenly equally between the prepared pans and bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. 3.      Place the pans on a rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and let cool completely on the racks. 4.      Do-Ahead: At this point, you can refrigerate for 2 days or freeze for 6 weeks. Defrost before continuing. Mascarpone Frosting 2 cups heavy cream 1 1/2 cups mascarpone cheese 1/2 cup granulated sugar
To make the filling, in a large bowl, beat the cream until stiff peaks form.  Add the mascarpone and sugar and beat until smooth. 
1.      Lay one layer onto a cake platter and spread a layer of the ricotta cream mixture.  Top with the next layer and frost the top and sides with the mascarpone Frosting.  At this point, the cake can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. 

2.      Before serving, fill the cannoli shells with the remaining ricotta cream, dip one end in crushed pistachios, and the other in chopped chocolate.  Stand them upright around the outside of the cake.  Sprinkle the top of the cake with pistachios or chopped chocolate.  When serving, cut a wedge of cake, and top with a cannolo. 

Looking forward to being able to see our friends, and celebrating coming out of this quarantine safe and well. Stay safe and stay home. #CookingInTheTimeOfQuarantine #CannoliCake #QuarantineKitchen #ChocolateCakeAndCannoliFilling #CelebrationCakes
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