Homemade Cassata Siciliana  


Cassata Siciliana Casalinga


When the special cassata mold is not available, the cassata can be built in layers like a layer cake. The taste will be as good as that of a store brought cake, since the materials used are the same traditional elements utilized in making the cassata Siciliana. 

To make the sponge, use your recipe or our Pan di Spagna recipe otherwise buy it already made.

Do the shopping and preparation ahead of time, it will make the final task easy and simple.

Build the cassata on a dish in layers or use a cardboard cake circle; even better, make it in layers into a round mold, and store in the refrigerator for a few hour or overnight.

To finish the cake, turn it upside down, glace it and finish with candied fruits. 


Serves 8 to 10  


For the Cake     


·   1 ½ lb. Pan di Spagna, a sponge cake made without fat.

·   2 lb. of ricotta

·   1 cup of sugar

·   zest of 1 orange

·   2 drops of cinnamon oil or 3 pinches of cinnamon powder

·   1 drop of vanilla essence

·   ¼ lb. diced candied citron

·   ¼ cup of chocolate chips or bitter-chocolate shavings

·   9” round mold (2” deep)


For the Glaze  

·   1 cup confectionary sugar

·   2 tablespoons of lemon juice

·   zest of 1 medium lemon

·   1 tablespoon of butter


For the Decorations  

·   candied whole fruits

·   12 candied cherries




The Cake 
Day ahead bake or purchase the sponge -Pan di Spagna- and in a large bowl, mix well the ricotta and sugar until smooth. Blend in the zest of orange, cinnamon and the vanilla, store in the refrigerator overnight.
The following day prepare a 9" mold by lining it with a film of plastic wrap, extending it a few inches over the side.
Mix the ricotta cream with a wooden spoon to aerate and make it silky-smooth.
With a sharp serrated knife slice the sponge cake into 3 layers and place one slice at the bottom of the mold, to cover it completely.



  Homemade Cassata



Spread 1/2 of ricotta cream over the sponge, sprinkle over it 1/2 of the citron and 1/2 of the chocolate chips or shavings.
Repeat with the sponge, cream, citron, chocolate and finishing the last layer with the sponge cake.

Lightly press down, cover with a large dish and place some weight on top to compact.
Store overnight in the refrigerator, to allow the ricotta cream and the pan di Spagna to join together their taste and for the cassata to get firm.


The Glaze 
Whisk all the ingredients in a heat resistant bowl to form a thick and uniform paste. Cook it for a few minutes, at a very low heat or in a double boiler, turning continuously, until smooth and soft.


The Cassata 
Place a dish or a cardboard on top of the mold and turn the cake upside down, carefully removing the mold and the plastic wrap.
Pour over some glaze and with the help of a spatula spread a thin layer of it, to cover the cassata completely.
Decorate with candied fruits: place a whole fruit in the center of the cassata, all around make a crown with candied cherries, cut some fruits in four pieces and display using your imagination.


# 1 Variation   

Make the cassata as per above directions; let it rest overnight in the refrigerator and the next day, cover it completely with a thin layer of green marzipan, as for the following illustration.



# 2 Variation

Reserve a full spoon of ricotta cream.     

Finish the cassata with glaze only on the top and spread the ricotta cream all around on the side.     

Make some crumbs with cookies, biscuits or sponge cake or use toasted, chopped pistachios or sliced nuts and coat the side of the cake with it, pressing lightly to make it adhere. Finish with the cassata with candied fruits.


Very Important    

 In Palermo, we rarely use a syrup to drizzle on the sponge; at all times, we store the cassata overnight to allow the ricotta cream and the pan di Spagna to join together their taste and allow the solution from the ricotta cream to be adsorbed by the pan di Spagna. However if the cassata is made and served the same day, it is acceptable to lightly brush or drizzle the sponge with a syrup or fruit juice.    


For the Syrup     

  • ½ cup of water boiled with      
  • 2 tablespoon sugar, coolit and add  
  • 1 teaspoon of orange zest  and
  •  ¼ cup orange juice or maraschino, cherry, orange, mandarin or any other liquor.