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Rich, greedy and scenographic, here is the recipe of the Sicilian cassata

Sicilian cassata

Elaborate and full of flavor, the Sicilian cassata is a truly amazing dessert that can also be prepared at home with a little patience.

Impossible not to have ever heard of the Sicilian cassata, a dessert that is able to conquer everyone, absolutely everyone, at the first taste. Luxurious and baroque , it was born in Sicily between the ninth and eleventh centuries during the period of Arab domination and has survived to us with all its sweetness. In fact, the name derives from the Arabic quas’at , referring to a large basin used to mix the ricotta -based filling.

The traditional Sicilian cassata recipe is made up of sponge cake, candied fruit, chocolate drops, sheep’s milk ricotta and marzipan (or royal pasta). The Sicilian cassata cake, we cannot hide it from you, is quite complex, but just follow our suggestions carefully and the result is guaranteed. Don’t be in a hurry and get ready to make one of the best Sicilian desserts ever!

Sicilian cassata
Sicilian cassata

How to make Sicilian cassata with the original recipe

The preparation of the Sicilian cassata is to be followed carefully and in detail: for this reason we have decided to divide the various steps and only at the end close the recipe with the assembly.

Sponge cake for homemade Sicilian cassata

Sponge cake
Sponge cake
  • 3 eggs and 3 yolks
  • 140 g of sugar
  • 80 g of flour 00
  • 70 g of potato starch
  • Lemon peel
  • 1 pinch of salt
  1. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and yolks with an electric whisk, together with 140 g of sugar at maximum speed (you can use the electric whisk or the planetary mixer fitted with a wire whisk) flavoring them with the lemon zest and a pinch of salt .
  2. When the mixture is nice and light and fluffy, add the sifted flour and starch , a little at a time, mixing from the bottom up with a kitchen spatula so as not to ruin the consistency of the dough.
  3. Pour the mixture into a pan lined with parchment paper with a diameter of 22 cm or, even better, into a rectangular pan, and cook at 180 ° C for 35 minutes .
  4. Remove from the oven and let it cool for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan and completing cooling.

The filling (and its secret)

Stuffing for cassata
Stuffing for cassata
  • 800 g of sheep ricotta
  • 180 g of chocolate chips
  • 220 g of powdered sugar
  • Candied orange to taste (optional)
  1. Drain the ricotta for at least in a colander for at least a couple of hours so that it loses all the whey.
  2. At this point mix it with 220 g of powdered sugar and let it rest in the fridge, covered with a cloth, for at least a whole night.
  3. The next day, sift your ricotta 2-3 times to obtain a smooth, lump-free cream.
  4. Add the chocolate chips , to taste the candied orange cut into cubes, and transfer everything to the refrigerator.

If you don’t want to wait, you can also prepare a simple and quick Sicilian cassata without letting the ricotta rest one night, but blending it with the sugar with an immersion blender.

How to prepare green marzipan for cassata

Pistachio marzipan
Pistachio marzipan
  • 200 g of marzipan
  • 30 g of pistachio paste or green food coloring
  1. Use a stick of marzipan of about 200 g and mix it with the pistachio paste.
  2. Knead well until the green of the dough evenly wraps the new marzipan mixture and then, roll it out into a strip about 1 cm thick and 10-11 cm wide .

Alternatively, you can use a few drops of green food coloring. If you want, you can also prepare the royal paste from scratch: the almond paste that will replace your marzipan.

To do this, you will need about 120 g of sugar and 50 ml of water. Put both in a saucepan and turn on the heat over low heat, continue stirring so that it does not stick until all the sugar has dissolved and has reached a temperature of 112 ° C. At this point remove it from the heat and add about 120 g of almond flour (also in this house it will be enough to blend the peeled almonds) and the pistachio paste . Mix well until everything is well blended and pour it on a cold work surface. With a spatula, move and continue to mix the mixture so that it englobes air and cools. At this point you can roll it out as you would have done with marzipan.

Assembly, decoration and final steps of the Palermo (or Sicilian) cassata

If you have used the rectangular pan, which we highly recommend you do, you will have no problem making the real Sicilian cassata. It’s all a matter of assembly and now we’ll tell you how.

  1. Take a cassata pan of about 18-20 cm in diameter (to use a larger one you will have to increase the proportions of the ingredients), sprinkle it all with icing sugar and set it aside.
  2. Cut two strips from the sponge cake so that they are as thick as marzipan, thin them a little with a rolling pin and cut into rectangles of sponge cake with a short side of about 8-9 cm .
  3. Cut the green marzipan in the same way and arrange each rectangle along the edge of the pan, alternating it with the pieces of sponge cake.
  4. With a pastry cutter, take a disc from the sponge cake and place it on the bottom of the pan making sure that it fits perfectly with the rectangles on the edge . Now wet it with a very simple syrup that you will make by mixing 100 ml of water with 50 g of sugar and to which you can also add a liqueur to taste.
  5. Pour the ricotta cream inside, leaving about an inch from the edge.
  6. Then close with the other disc of sponge cake, pressing lightly or, since you will probably only have a few pieces of cake left, reduce them into crumbs or cut them into pieces and let them adhere to the ricotta cream so as to require the filling completely. Also in this case you can help yourself with the syrup for cassata, which will make the sponge cake easier to work, or opt immediately to reduce what remains of the cake into small crumbs .
  7. Cover the cake with cling film and let it rest in the fridge for a few hours, preferably overnight.
  8. After the resting time has elapsed, gently remove the film and turn the cake upside down on a serving dish.
  9. Prepare the dark icing by putting 320 g of icing sugar and a few tablespoons of water in a saucepan. Continue to mix and, if necessary, add more water to obtain a thick and translucent cream . When it touches the boil it will be ready and you can pour it entirely on the cake, covering it and helping yourself with a spatula to reach all the edges.
  10. Then decorate with the whole candied fruit and to taste with royal icing that you will make by beating the egg white and incorporating the icing sugar a little at a time until you get a very thick consistency.
  11. Put the cake in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before cutting.

If you liked our recipe, you cannot fail to try the classic cannoli too! In addition, it is increasingly counted among the traditional Easter sweets .


We recommend, once ready, to taste the cassata at the moment and keep it for a maximum of 1 day in the refrigerator, under a special glass jar for desserts. We do not recommend freezing in the freezer.

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