It’s time for another challenge for the month of February. Last month’s challenge was the rare recipe challenge. The topic for this month is Cakes we have to try. The judges for this month’s challenge are Suzanne and Jhuls. I was pretty impressed with the list of cakes Lina came up with for all of us. I chose to do the cassata cake. Funny I never knew cassata was a cake , coz in India it’s quite popular as a layered icecream. And frankly the cake is no different as it’s a layered one too. Let me brief you up on a little about this cake, if you have never heard about it like me.
Cassata is a traditional Italian dessert, specific to its origin in Sicily. Basically it’s made of normal sponge cake, moistened with liquer , layered with ricotta cheese mixture and then frosted with sweetened whipped cream topped with candied fruits, nuts etc The traditional cassata cake has a shell of marzipan as it’s outer covering.
I found a fairly simple version of this cake here , followed it practically to the T. The only changes I did was I used half of the quantity of the whipping cream as I wanted the cake to have a naked sided look. I’m not a fan of heavily frosted cakes, and this much of frosting was just right for me. I baked this in a 7 inch cake pan to give it that tall look.
I used my usual sponge cake recipe, the one that I shared a couple of days back. You can use that as the base, skip the tutti frutti. Or if you aren’t feeling that adventurous to bake a cake from scratch, then use one of those boxed cake mixes. I leave that to you:)
So how did the cake turn out? Well it was really nice, quite an unusual one. I love how the toasted almonds gave the cake such a pretty and contrasting look. It was moist from the all that rum mixture. Basically there are so many layers of texture in one slice of this cake, there’s the moist sponge with a feeble hint of rum, then comes the creamy ricotta cheese mixture that has been flavored with cinnamon & vanilla , you get the crunch from the chocolate chips, and finally that sweet whipped cream frosting along with the toasted almonds to finish it all off! Now isn’t that a big list and reason enough for you to try it as well ??
Recipe adapted from http://www.mrfood.com/
1 (18-1/4-ounce) package yellow cake mix, batter prepared according to the package directions or use this basic sponge cake recipe
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons dark rum
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
2.In a medium mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, chocolate chips, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon, mix well, cover the bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
3. In a small bowl, combine rum and water along with remaining granulated sugar, mix well. For a non alcoholic version, simply use some fruit juice and add sugar accordingly.
4.Drizzle half of the prepared rum / fruit juice mixture over each cake layer until liquid soaks completely. Place one cake layer on a serving platter, spread the ricotta cheese mixture and top it off with the second cake layer.
5. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar on high speed for 5 to 6 minutes, or until stiff peaks form.Do not over beat, or you will end up with butter. Frost top of cake with whipped cream and sprinkle toasted almonds.
6.Cover loosely and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours before serving.