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Cassata Cake

Servings: 10-12
Cassata Cake

Definition: [kah-SAH-tah] A traditional Italian dessert served at celebrations such as weddings. The word cassata means "in a case (or chest)." One version of this dessert has a rich filling of ricotta, candied fruit and grated chocolate encased by thin slices of liqueur-sprinkled sponge cake. The cake and cheese mixture may also be layered. The dessert is chilled, then decorated with whipped cream, ricotta cheese or chocolate frosting. Another version, cassata gelata, is made by lining a mold with layers of ice cream of contrasting colors, then filling the center with a ricotta-whipped cream-candied fruit mixture. The mold is frozen completely before serving.

Copyright (c) 1995 by Barron's Educational Series, from The New Food Lover's Companion, Second Edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst

1 (10-inch) sponge cake

Cheese Filling
2 pounds ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
2/3 cup mixed candied fruit (orange rind, citron, pineapple, cherries) finely chopped
4 ounces sweet chocolate, coarsely grated
2/3 cup brandy
2 pints heavy cream, whipped

1/2 pint heavy cream, whipped
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup maraschino cherries
1/3 cup pistachio nuts

In a large bowl, combine ricotta, confectioners' sugar, candied fruit, chocolate and brandy. Fold in whipped cream and refrigerate. Cut sponge cake into 1/2-inch slices. Grease a 3 1/2 - 4 quart china or ceramic bowl. Line bottom of bowl with cake slices. Cover with some of the cheese mixture alternately until bowl is filled, ending with cake slices on top. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, loosen sides with spatula; invert bowl onto serving plate and frost.

Sweeten whipped cream with confectioners' sugar and use to frost entire cake. Decorate with cherries and pistachio nuts.

Makes 10-12 servings.

Date: May 16, 2003