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Sicilian Cheese and Chocolate Cake
(Cassata alla Siciliana)

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Sponge Cake

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Confectioners' sugar


  • 1 (16 ounce) container dry ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips, chopped
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped mixed candied fruit

Chocolate Mocha Frosting

  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee
  • 3 tablespoons hot water


  1. Sponge Cake: Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 jellyroll pan with aluminum foil or wax paper; grease generously.
  2. Beat eggs in small mixer bowl on high speed until thick and lemon colored, about 5 minutes.
  3. Pour eggs into large mixer bowl. Beat in granulated sugar gradually.
  4. Beat in water and vanilla extract on low speed.
  5. Add flour, baking powder and salt gradually, beating just until batter is smooth.
  6. Pour into pan.
  7. Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 12 to 15 minutes.
  8. Immediately loosen cake from edges of pan; invert on towel sprinkled generously with confectioners' sugar. Carefully remove foil or wax paper. Trim off stiff edges if necessary.
  9. Cool on wire rack for at least 30 minutes.
  10. Filling: Beat ricotta cheese, sugar, milk, liqueur and salt in small mixer bowl until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.
  11. Stir in chocolate chips and candied fruit. Cut cake into 4 (10 1/2 x 3 3/4 inch) rectangles.
  12. Alternate layers of cake and ricotta filling, beginning and ending with cake.
  13. Frost with Chocolate Mocha Frosting.
  14. Chocolate Mocha Frosting: Beat confectioners' sugar, butter and chocolate in small mixer bowl on low speed.
  15. Dissolve instant coffee in water. Add coffee gradually; beat until smooth and creamy. If necessary, stir in additional water, a few drops at a time.

Yield: 12 to 14 servings