Sunday, May 17, 2015

Cannoli Cake Roll

I have never actually eaten a cannoli before. One of the reasons is that they are hard to find in the U.S.  Also, the cream and candied fruit filling does not really strike up a craving. Upon further research, I have found that chocolate chips can be used and that the fruit can be excluded. That discovery does make me a candidate to seek out and taste a cannoli. However, since they are so scarce here, I decided to have the same flavor in a different format.

This particular recipe puts a spin on traditional cannoli by replacing the cannoli shell with cake and forming a cake roll with the filling inside. This type of creativity has been going on for awhile.  After all, chocolate chip cookies have a countless number of spin offs. There are now versions of this in everything from pie to bar drinks.

For flavor notes, this cake roll uses cinnamon, chocolate chips and orange liqueur in the filling. The cake part is a vanilla sponge. The garnishing with pistachios and chocolate chips is optional, but very traditional.

This was fun and easy to make. It also yielded a stunning and tasty result. If you like the taste of cannoli and are looking for something special for a gathering, this recipe is well worth trying out. Be sure to plan for the 3 hours of cooling steps when you decide to make this. Now, it's time to have some fun in the kitchen with a sweet ending! "Questa torta è squisita!" as they say in Italian.

Cannoli Cake Roll
adapted from All Recipes Cookbook

3/4 cup cake flour
1/2 cup sugar, separated
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
5 eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
confectioners sugar, for dusting

Ingredients/Filling and Frosting
4 tbs orange liqueur, separated
1 tbs water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
4 oz cream cheese
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup plus 3 tbs confectioners sugar
1 tbs white sugar
1/4 tsp gnd cinnamon
1/4 cup and 1 tbs mini semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped pistachios (optional)

Grease a 10x15 inch jelly roll pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

For the cake, start with 2 bowls. Add egg yolks, vanilla and 1/4 cup of sugar to a large bowl.  Fill a second, medium size, bowl with egg whites, cream of tartar and salt.

Both of the mixtures need to be beaten. Start with the egg yolk mixture and beat for 5 minutes. It will thicken up and turn a light lemon, color. After beating, clean and dry your mixer beaters to use for the egg white mixture. Beat the egg white batter until it reaches a soft peak consistency. Continue to beat and sprinkle in 1/4 cup of sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.

Using a spatula, fold 1/3 of the egg white batter into the yolk mixture. Continue with 2 more intervals of adding and folding the egg white batter into the yolk batter. Lastly, fold in the flour in 1/4 cup increments until no dry streaks remain.

Pour batter into the prepared pan, making sure it is smooth and even. Place in oven and bake until cake springs back when lightly touched. Baking time is about 10 minutes.

During the bake time, place a clean towel on a flat surface and dust with confectioner's sugar. Then make a soak mixture by combining 2 tbs of orange liqueur, 1 tbs water and 2 tbs sugar in a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave about 10 seconds. Remove and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Once the cake is done, remove from oven and invert pan onto prepared towel. Peel off parchment paper. Brush cake with soak mixture. The cake, with the towel, should be positioned with the longest side running horizontally in front of you. Then, using the beginning side of the cake closest to you, carfeully rolling it up with the towel to form a jellyroll. With the seam side down, transfer to a cooling rack. Cake will be need to be completely cooled prior to filling. This will take about 1 hour.

As the cake cools, make the filling with the use of a food processor. Fill the bowl of the processor with the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, cinnamon and 1/2 tsp vanilla.  Blend on medium speed until smooth. Fold in 1/4 cup of chocolate chips. Transfer to bowl and cover. Place in refrigerator until cake is completely cooled.

Carefully unroll cooled cake and take bowl of filling out of refrigerator. Empty filling onto the center of the cake. Smooth filling out over cake, leaving 1/4 inch border. Repeat the cake rolling process as done before, except without the towel. Remember to start with the same long side as you began with the first time you rolled the cake. Once rolled, transfer to platter seam side down. The platter will be the one that you intend to use for presentation before slicing and serving.

Now the cake needs to be frosted. For the frosting, add whipping cream and 3 tbs of confectioners sugar to bowl of stand mixer.  Beat ingredients together until you reach the soft peak stage.  Add two tablespoons of orange liqueur and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla to the cream.  Using a spatula, fold the flavor additions into the whipping cream until evenly distributed. Spread frosting over cake, covering all surfaces, including ends and the curves that meet the platter.  If you choose, use a design blade to make designs in the frosting, being careful not to expose any cake as you drag along the sides.

Refrigerate cake for about 2 hours before serving.  Decorate with 1 tbs mini chocolate chips and finely chopped pistachios when ready to serve, if desired.

Tips and Notes:
1. Due to the different batters/components using a lot of the same ingredients, so be sure to use the noted amounts in the paragraphs when creating, not the listed ingredient amount.  The measure values are combined in the listing, instead of listing the same ingredient again with a different vallue. If the measurement it is not noted in the paragraphs, then refer to the ingredient list for the measurement.

2. I know that a lumpy filling can cause issues, however, I feel that there could have been a little bit more mini chocolate chips in the filling.

3. The garnish is missing in the picture, however, I do intend to use it once the cake is served. The missing slice is a taste test.  

4. The biggest flavor in the cake is the cinnamon and orange.  If those are not a favorite, try another liqueur and spice more to your liking.
                                            **LAST YEAR: Buckeye State Ice Cream*