I know, I know. What is a cannoli cake?? I actually wanted to name this post “pistachio cake with whipped ricotta and chocolate chip filling, topped with chocolate ganache.” But that seemed to be a mouthful. But now you know what a cannoli cake is! Man, this is a really great start to this post.
This was yet another installment of my sister’s birthday cake. I have to say, the cake is becoming harder and harder every year. Mostly because she has the exact same criteria every year. Must have some form of chocolate, but not be completely chocolate, must be really, really tasty, must be unique, must not be a repeat of the year before, must not be a repeat of any years before, must be a cake.
I mean, this doesn’t give me much to work with. And after going back through the years, and realizing that I’ve already made cakes with a chocolate coconut combo, a chocolate orange combo, a chocolate chip cake, and a multi layered standard yellow cake with chocolate frosting, I felt a little tapped out this year. I felt old, people. This is the fifth installment of sister’s grand birthday cake extravaganza, and I needed to rest.
Per usual, I rested by looking up recipes, and felt that a pistachio cake would throw her for a loop. It’s not standard (unique!), it has chocolate chips (some, but not all chocolate!), I had never made it before (no repeats!), and, oh man, with the pistachio paste and the pistachio oil, it looked so, so delicious (tasty!). We ended up with an amazing cake, with so many cannoli flavors happening. It was a pistachio party! And, fine, I’ll say it: I can’t wait until next year to do this all again.
Pistachio Cake (recipe from Tartine and Apron Strings)
- 2/3 cup (190 grams) pistachio paste
- 2 tbsp (35 grams) honey
- 6 egg whites
- 1¾ cups (280 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- 1¼ cups(110 grams) blanched almond flour
- 1/2 cup (75 grams) pistachio oil
- 1/4 cup (55 grams) heavy cream
- 1 cup (160 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 1½ tsp salt
- nonstick cooking spray
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Combine the pistachio paste and honey in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-low for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture turns into a sticky green paste. Scrape down the side of the bowl with a spatula.
- On low speed, add the egg whites one at a time, being careful not to add the next egg white until the previous one is completely incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape down the side of the bowl after every 2 to 3 egg whites.
- Add the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour and, on low speed, paddle them in for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture thickens. Stop the mixer and scrape down the side of the bowl.
- Stream in the pistachio oil, followed by the heavy cream while paddling on low speed. Mix for 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides again.
- Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and paddle on low for 2 to 3 minutes, until the batter is smooth and thick.
- Spray an 8 or 9 inch round or springform pan with nonstick cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper cut out to fit the bottom of the pan.
- Pour and spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan. Tap cake pan on counter to knock out any air bubbles. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, checking for doneness starting at 35 minutes.
- To check for doneness, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger: the cake should bounce back (like a sponge cake), and it should be golden brown on the sides and pulling away from the sides of the pan slightly.
- Take the cake out of the oven and cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert cake to a wire rack and remove the parchment paper at the bottom. Turn right side up on the rack and continue cooling.
- Let cake cool completely. With a sharp, serrated knife, split the cake into 3 even layers. Assemble cake.
Whipped Ricotta Filling
- 1 cup fresh ricotta (you can make it yourself, or buy fresh)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips (will use to fill cake when ready to assemble)
- In the bowl of a mixer, whip together sugar, vanilla and ricotta until very smooth – about 2 minutes.
- Remove ricotta from bowl, place into a separate bowl, and add cream to the mixing bowl (no need to clean it out first). Whip cream until soft peaks form.
- Add the ricotta mixture back to the bowl and whip together until stiff peaks form.
- Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Chocolate Ganache and Topping
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup raw shelled pistachios, ground (reserve to top cake after filling and frosting)
- Make after the cake has been assembled, and ready to top with chocolate ganache.
- In a small pot, scald cream until just about ready to boil.
- Pour over chocolate chips and let it sit for 1 minute. Whisk together until smooth.
- Pour right over the top of the cake, letting the ganache drip down the sides of the cake.
- While the chocolate is still warm, scatter pistachios right around the edges of the cake.
To assemble the cake:
- Put the bottom layer of the cooled cake on a serving tray.
- Spread half of the ricotta filling evenly on top of the cake, not spreading all the way to edges of the cake.
- Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips.
- Carefully place middle layer on top of the filling.
- Spread second half of the ricotta filling on top of the middle layer of the cake. Sprinkle with with second half of mini chocolate chips.
- Top with the last layer of cake. Pour chocolate ganache over top of the cake and sprinkle with pistachios.
- This cake is best when it has had a chance to meld together in the refrigerator. Let chocolate ganache cool, wrap with plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator for several hours.