Friday 13 March 2015

Baked Sicilian Cassata cake

45 minutes to prepare Serves 12

Tintu è cu nun mancia a cassata a matina ri Pasqua 


"Poor are those who do not eat Cassata on Easter morning" (Sicilian proverb)


Cassata is a Sicilian cake, based on sweetened ricotta cheese, which was traditionally prepared by nuns during Easter period.

Its recipe is strongly linked to ancient Sicilian history as its composition developed throughout the centuries and incorporated, time by time, new ingredients brought by Sicilian conquerors.

The origin of cassata cake dates back to the Arabic domination of Sicily. Arabs introduced in Palermo cane sugar, agrumes and almonds. Together with ricotta cheese, which was produced in Sicily since Ancient Greek age, these are all the basic ingredients of cassata. Later, Spanish brought to Sicily chocolate and sponge cake. During the Baroque age, candied fruit was finally added to cassata's recipe.


Today we will prepare a baked cassata cake. This version is common in Palermo area and it is pretty much similar to the first version of this cake, without candied fruit, sponge cake and marzipan. 

It is just a marvellous shell of pastry containing creamy sweetened ricotta and chocolate drops...something you would like to try, even before Easter!

ere are ingredients for
a 12-serving recipe (24-cm diameter baking pan):


For the pastry


250 g flour 00
100 g sugar
100 g butter
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup Marsala wine

For the stuffing

350 g  ricotta cheese
150 g sugar
50 g chocolate drops

For the garnish

powdered sugar
cinnamon powder

  1. Cut the cold butter into cubes and knead it quickly with flour and sugar
  2. Stir in egg yolks, one at a time, and add cold Marsala, pouring it slowly in order to prevent the dough from becoming too hard and crumbling
  3. Form a ball, wrap it with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes
  4. Drain ricotta cheese in a colander and store it in the refrigerator. When it is dry, sift it and mix it in a bowl with sugar and chocolate drops
  5. Preheat oven to 180°C
  6. Grease and flour the baking pan, then cover bottom and sides with the pastry cut into a flattened disc-shape, about 5 mm thick
  7. Pour the ricotta cream into the pan, cover it with the remaining pastry sealing well the edges. Drill some small holes to allow air to be released during the cooking from inside the cassata
  8. Bake at 180°C (convection oven, middle shelf ) until the surface of the cake becomes golden (about 60 minutes)
  9. Once cooked, pull out the cassata from the oven and let it cool. When cassata is cold, flip it over on a serving dish and sprinkle it with powdered sugar and a bit of cinnamon

Nutrition Facts are detailed in the table below. Data is provided per serving.

Looks like Easter bunny is going to be particularly generous with you this year...I hope you will enjoy it!