The Cassata Siciliana Trifle    


Zuppa di Cassata  - Cassata na' Suppiera  


This delicious and famous Sicilian cake, originally made in Palermo, is classically prepared in a special mold, covered on the sides with green marzipan and sumptuously decorated with colorful candied fruits.   

When the special round mold used to assemble the cassata is not available, the cassata can be built in layers, shaped round or square or as a cassata trifle, a “zuppa di cassata” and prepared in a “suppiera”, a porcelain bowl or in a 3 quart decorative stem glass bowl, for a spectacular presentation; because the trifle is dished out “with a spoon”, in Sicily it is called “un dolce da cucchiara”. 

The sponge could be lightly sprinkled with a syrupy-liquor solution, but use it sparingly, because the fluids content of the ricotta will also blend into the sponge for a soft and aromatic cake. 

The recipes for the syrup are at the end of this page.   


3 Quarts Trifle Bowl  



  • 1 Pan di Spagna, 9 inch round or 1 ½ lb. store brought  
  • 2 lb. of ricotta  
  • 1 cup of sugar  
  • Zest of 1 orange   
  • 2 drops of cinnamon oil or 3 small pinches of cinnamon powder   
  • 1 drop of vanilla essence  
  • ¼ lb. diced candied citron   
  • ¼ cup of chocolate chips or bitter-chocolate shavings  



For the Decorations  

  • candied whole fruits  
  • 12 candied cherries  




The Sponge and the Cream   

Day ahead, prepare 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 Trifle Cassata  

The following day, mix the ricotta cream with a wooden spoon to aerate and make it silky-smooth.  

Lay down the sponge, the Pan di Spagna- in the cutting board and with a sharp, serrated knife cut into slices half inch thick.  

Line the bottom of the bowl with slices of Pan di Spagna. 

If using the syrup lightly brush or drizzle on the sponge and spread 1/3 of the ricotta cream over it; sprinkle on top 1/3 of the citron and some chocolate chips or shavings.  

Repeat as above with a layer of sponge, syrup, ricotta cream, citron and chocolate.   

Repeat again, sponge, syrup and finish with ricotta cream, citron and chocolate on the top. 

Store for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator to allow the ricotta cream and the Pan di Spagna to join together their taste and to get firm.  


The Garnish   

Decorate the cake with candied fruits, placing a whole fruit in the center of the trifle cassata, cut some candied fruits in four pieces and display using your imagination; all around make a crown with candied cherries and rest in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  


For the Syrup (Optional)    

  • 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.