Cassata alla Siciliana (Sicilian Cream Tart)

    1 hour 30 mins

    A beautiful sponge layer cake filled with a delightful ricotta cheese filling.

    5 people made this

    Serves: 12 

    • 6 eggs
    • 1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons orange zest
    • 2 tablespoons (30ml) sherry
    • 1 cup (125g) cake flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 580g ricotta cheese
    • 6 tablespoons (90ml) rum
    • 1/2 cup (60g) icing sugar
    • 2 (30g) squares sweet chocolate, grated
    • 1/4 cup (40g) candied cherries, chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 cup (80g) chopped toasted almonds
    • 1/4 cup (60g) butter
    • 2 1/2 cups (310g) icing sugar
    • 2 egg whites
    • 1 teaspoon almond extract
    • 1/4 cup (30ml) rum
    • 1/4 cup (30g) icing sugar for dusting

    Prep:30min  ›  Cook:1hr  ›  Ready in:1hr30min 

    1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees C (350 degrees F).
    2. To Make Pan di Spagna (Sponge Cake): Have the following ingredients at room temperature for at least one hour before baking; 6 eggs, lemon juice, orange zest, and sherry.
    3. Separate 6 eggs and set the egg whites aside. Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon colored. Beat in sugar, lemon juice, orange zest, and sherry or 1 teaspoon almond extract. Beat until foamy.
    4. Sift flour 3 times and fold into eggs yolks gently but thoroughly. Beat egg whites until foamy, add salt, and beat until stiff but not dry. Fold into yolks. Pour batter into one ungreased 24cm spring form pan.
    5. Bake at 175 degrees C (350 degrees F) for 50 to 60 minutes. Test by pressing lightly with finger tip, if cake springs back at once it is done. Leave cake in pan to cool, and invert on a wire rack.
    6. Once cake is completely cool slice into 3 layers and sprinkle layers with rum.
    7. To Make Filling: Crush ricotta very finely with hands or a potato masher, add 1/2 cup (60g) icing sugar and beat for about 3 minutes until creamy. Stir in 6 tablespoons rum, grated sweet chocolate, chopped candied cherries, cinnamon and toasted almonds.
    8. Spread ricotta filling over sponge cake layers, using 1.5cm of filling on each layer. Leave the top and sides of cake plain.
    9. To Make Frosting: Cream butter with 1 cup sifted (130g) icing sugar. Beat the 2 egg whites until stiff and gradually beat into the egg whites the remaining 1 1/2 cups (180g) icing sugar. Fold egg whites into the butter mixture and add fold in 1 teaspoon almond extract.
    10. Cover sides and top cake evenly with frosting. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve. Serves 10.

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    Reviews in English (3)


    I found this recipe to be written up poorly. I followed it word for word and it didn't turn out. My mother was Sicilian and made these cakes all the time and they were wonderful. This one was a mess. I probably won't waste the money on ingrediants to try this one again. Sorry.  -  11 Mar 2001  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    I came across this recipe almost seven years ago on this website and have been making it each Christmas ever since. I always omit the candied fruit (although this is traditional) to suit the tastes of my family. The cake is very good and is requested by my Sicilian parents every year.I have omitted the almonds on occasion, however we enjoy both versions. Give it a try!  -  17 Nov 2005  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    Very nice dessert for a special occasion. It can be made a day or two ahead of serving and kept in the refrigerator. I have made the frosting with rum, as in this version, or with chocolate and espresso coffee. As Caterina pointed out in her review some years ago, you can change the additions to the filling to suit your tastes. Thank you for the recipe, Traci.  -  22 Dec 2013  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)