Why did I make this cake? Was it a birthday, a dinner party, or a pot-luck brunch? Was I testing recipes for a new cookbook or auditioning one that I fell for at a bookstore? Did I see this recipe online and found it irresistible? Was it a Friday treat to relieve the pressure of a long week? For someone who might never run out of “excuses” to make cake in this lifetime, you’d think I’d come up with something more exciting than the truth, which is that I could only find a big tub of ricotta at the store when I made ziti last time, and forced myself to find a clever way to use it up. Alas, I rather enjoy a challenge and so it’s cake o’clock again; rejoice!
But, if I’m being honest, I really wanted a cannoli, I mean, the good kind, the kind that’s in a hand-formed shell that’s been deep-fried to a crackly crisp and is filled only once you order it so the outer crunch remains intact. A proper cannoli, with orange and lemon peel and a whiff of Marsala, chopped pistachios and always, always, always with the miniature chocolate chips.
And so these things happily met up in a loaf pan. If you have my first cookbook, there’s a recipe for a ricotta cake which I created using a French yogurt cake for inspiration, the one that’s classically measured in yogurt cups. Swapping ricotta for yogurt, and olive oil for something more neutral, that one is finished with a concord grape sauce and it’s wonderful this time of year. This might be even better. In a tall pan, it bakes up high and with a cracked top with an excellent crisp to it. Inside, it’s tender and on the second day, even more lush, should it survive so long. It absolutely bursts with cannoli flavor, about as close as you’re going to get in a one-bowl pound cake. And, if you took my hint last time and also “accidentally” bought the big ricotta, you’re definitely going to have enough for two or three cakes, and absolutely no regrets will come of that.
One year ago: Better Chocolate Babka
Two years ago: Miso Sweet Potato and Broccoli Bowl
Three years ago: Quick Chicken Noodle Soup
Four years ago: Apple Pie Cookies
Five years ago: Roasted Eggplant Soup
Six years ago: Breakfast Apple Granola Crisp
Seven years ago: Balsamic-Glazed Sweet-and-Sour Onions, Majestic and Moist Honey Cake and The Best Challah I Know How To Make
Eight years ago: Gazpacho Salad and Hello Dolly Bars
Nine years ago: Winter Squash Soup with Gruyere Croutons
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Wild Mushroom Paté and Obsessively Good Avocado and Cucumber Salad
1.5 Years Ago: Asparagus-Stuffed Eggs
2.5 Years Ago: Spinach and Smashed Egg Toast
3.5 Years Ago: Banana Bread Crepe Cake with Butterscotch
4.5 Years Ago: French Onion Soup
Cannoli Pound Cake
Butter or cooking spray to coat pan
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
Finely grated zest from 1 orange
Finely grated zest from 1 lemon
1/2 cup (120 ml) olive oil
1 tablespoon (15 ml) sweet marsala wine or 2 tablespoons white wine (optional)
1 cup (250 grams) whole-milk ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 or 2 pinches allspice
1 1/2 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (170 grams) mini-chocolate chips or 6 ounces semisweet chocolate bar, chopped into tiny bits
1/2 cup (60 grams) pistachios, chopped small
Heat oven to 350°F (175°C). Coat a standard (8 1/2-x-4 1/4″) loaf pan with butter or a nonstick spray.
Place sugar in a large bowl, and add zest. Use your fingertips to rub the zest into the sugar, scenting it througout. Whisk in olive oil, wine (if using), ricotta and eggs. Sprinkle baking powder, salt, cinnamon and allspice over wet ingredients, then whisk to combine. Gently stir in flour, then chocolate and pistachios until just combined.
Scrape into prepared loaf. Bake oven for 55 to 65 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out-batter free. Let cool on wire rack in pan for 15 minutes, then invert out onto rack to finish cooling. Cake is great the first day, and even more amazingly moist on the second and third, so feel free to plan ahead. Store at room temperature, covered with foil or plastic.
404 comments on cannoli pound cake
First! looks delicious!
Your first cookbook – does that mean there’s another one coming? Please?
I’ve been waiting since Tuesday for the second ricotta recipe! This looks so delicious.
Aw. He’s reading her Elephant and Piggie. I “lost” “Should I Share My Ice Cream?” and am now on to reading the word banana over and over.
Like so many others, I bought a tub of cottage cheese for Passover one year and never opened it. I didn’t think cake, patties, rather, and made savory ones with green onion, dill and parsley. Then I did a sweet batch for Shavuot with lots of vanilla and sugar. But now I want cake. Preferably shmeared with some sweetened marscapone. Right?
Deb, once again you’ve made me smack my head and wonder why I never thought of doing that.
There used to be a bakery in my neighborhood that made cannoli the right way, with ricotta imported from Italy and bronte pistachios, filled to order (and wouldn’t let you take them to go unless you swore up and down you were only taking it like a block). I miss that place.
Holy Moly it is like you know what my favorite things are and put them in cake form. Seems like a giant tub of ricotta is in my future ;)
I’ll have to make my own (lactose-free) ricotta for this, and I wonder how dry the ricotta should be. Grocery store ones vary quite a bit. A picture of the ricotta you used would really help. Thank you!
I’m not even going to pretend I need an excuse to make this beauty!
Oh my gosh, you are brilliant! I want to eat this right now. I actually just bought the small ricotta and am now intensely regretting it. We moved from Brooklyn to Westchester two years ago, and I’m sure biting into a slice of this cake would remind me of my old ‘hood. I can’t wait to try it.
Made this tonight for a little family cheer-up and it totally worked. This cake is delicious. I followed the recipe exactly-very easy, very moist and really tastes like a cannoli! Yum!
YOU always make me want to get in the kitchen….oh this looks….amazingly yum. Those children…yum also….how do you get anything done?
This looks delightful! Do you have any suggestions on substitutions for the pistachios? Or can I just leave them out? My hubby has a nut allergy but would love this otherwise.
WHY do I have to be at work when I see things like this?? It’s exhausting having to push these amazing food cravings out of my head all day long. And yep, I guess I do know what I’m now going to do with some of the 3 pounds of ricotta I bought last weekend. Also? I just reworked my dinner plans to ensure a cannoli pick-up is in order on the way home today. Life is so hard sometimes…
Would this recipe work as mini-loaves? And more importantly: do you know if the cake freezes well?
Do you think greek yogurt in place of the ricotta would be ok? I rarely change up what sounds like an amazing recipe, but I bought way too much yogurt …
I need to know the same thing. I’m snowed in and have yogurt but not ricotta
I’d expect it to work fine.
I love you!!!
This looks lovely! I am a cannoli fiend, but only the good ones. I’m on the hunt for the best, now that I live in the east and such things exist. My favorite so far here in Philly is at Termini Bros. Bakery, although I’m sure others have their favorites. This seems to be an opinionated land.
Anyway, looking forward to making this!
I’m embarrassed. I just LICKED the screen. I need this in my belly so bad!!!!!
What a great twist on a pound cake and it has pistachios in it – my favourites! Not to snub the chocolate and Marsala in any way or form, lovely idea, needs to get baked here soon.
Nicole (making s’mores ice cream tomorrow, then cupcakes, then shopping for a larger pair of pants)
My husband loves cannoli, but I’ve never made it for him. This, I will definitely make!
Thanks for a great looking cake.
Deb, I just wanted to thank you for all the wonderful work you do. I love your recipes–they are so creative, delicious, and reliable. It is wonderful to be able to make them confidently for guests or gifts, without having to try them out first. This looks incredible; I haven’t had a cannoli for ages, so I can’t wait until I can make this cake. Blessings to you and your family!
This looks seriously amazing! This is tantamount to sacrilege, but do you have any suggestions for a non-dairy sub for the ricotta? I’m breastfeeding and the little one has me off dairy. If not I might have to make it and watch my husband eat it.
This looks like a panettone!
Yum! I love cannoli so this is definitely something I’ll try!
I cannot wait to make this! Should the pistachios be unsalted? I having a hard time finding anything but the salted variety in my small town. thanks!
I love your homemade ricotta recipe. If using that recipe for this cake, how long would you suggest letting the ricotta strain – an hour or even longer?
Any tips on how to make this at an altitude? I just moved to Denver from coastal CA (e.g., sea level!) and I’m terrified about baking up here. I think the appeal of this recipe may be enough for me to conquer my fear. I’d be super grateful for any insight you could provide!
So, I’m weird and don’t like pistachios. Would any other type of nut work? Almonds? Pecans?
So, one year for my DH’s birthday I replicated a cannoli cake from the Italian bakery next door to his aunt’s house. This looks like it would beat it hands down. Wow.
Recipes like this are why you are my hero.
Kathleen from Denver — I’ve lived in Boulder for a couple of decades, so I share your altitude. Quick-leavened cakes like this one, and quick breads, work well here, and I’ve seldom had any trouble even if I forget to adjust the recipe. But if you want to adjust, the steps are to decrease the leavening (baking powder or soda) just a bit, like 1/8 teaspoon for every teaspoon required; add a little bit of extra moisture, about 2 tablespoons per cup of liquid; and be aware that the cake might require more time to bake, just as it requires more time to cook pasta and such at high altitude. (Or you can just increase the oven temperature 10-15 degrees.) I also like to buy “high-altitude flour,” which has a higher protein content — seems to keep the cake from sagging in the middle. Don’t worry, though, you’re going to be fine!
Great recipe. When I wanted to make cannoli a few years ago I considered buying a batch of the aluminum tubes the dough gets wrapped around for frying, but decided instead to follow a Lidia Bastianich recipe in which you cut the dough into rectangles (rhombuses? been a while since 6th grade geometry) and fry those, then stack them with the filling between the layers. It was OK but hard to eat (the pastry shatters) and I never made it again. But this is brilliant–bypass the fried dough and make a cake instead. We’re still getting great local apples but in a few weeks they’ll be gone, and this cake will be a lot of comfort. Thanks, Deb.
When my great-aunt taught me how to make cannoli 40 yrs ago, she used small wooden dowels. Your post brought back a wonderful memory. Thank you.
This is going to the top of my list for the next time I feel the need to bake. Clever hiding of the baby picture this time. Does it matter if it is skim milk or whole milk ricotta?
Oh man. Yum. My mom has a chocolate aversion (migraines). Ok to just leave out, or do you think the loaf would be too dense?
I think I’ll make this for Christmas / New Year’s. This looks like a “special occasion cake.” You know, one that’s not “today sux, I need cake” kind of day. :D
Necessity is as valid a reason to make a cake as any you listed. I’m making this with the leftovers next time I “accidentally” buy too much ricotta.
Thanks for the tips, Marie! :)
Looks & sounds delicious. Seems like it could be used for lots of variations in nuts and whatever else you feel like adding.
I follow a 12 days reduced carb diet with two days off every other week. This is my Carb feast this week end.
Thank you heavenly baking gods for pound cakes and coffee cakes. This looks AMAZING.
Egad! That is one tempting bit of goodness !! I love the look on Jacob’s face in the photo too. He must have known what was going to come out of the Smitten oven to reward him for babysitting. I think just about anyone would babysit for a cannoli cake reward. This is going to be awesome, I can sense it and will be out buying my ricotta before you can even read this.
As soon as my kitchen remodel is done, which will be never, I’m making this!
Wow this cake seems wonderful! Not even close to what I call a cannoli, but hey, the receipt seems perfect anyway.
This sounds amazing! Would you fault me if I bought the big thing of ricotta just because….so that I can make this cake? On the agenda for the weekend!
I cannot even keep up with all the Smitten to-do recipes I put on my list to make. How do you do it?!
Perfection and easy too! What more could you ask for? I have to make this on Sat I don’t know how you do this but I sure am glad you do.
Yum! I love the density from the ricotta and chocolate chips and pistachios. The cake honestly sounds better than a real cannoli!
I bet this is good. I am sort of devastated by the subtext though: that when craving cannoli you would rather bake a cake than walk over to Veniero’s. How good can this train station cannoli be? How much brain space must I devote to cannoli comparison? If I go to Philadelphia will I never love another cannoli again? Honestly it’s just a lot to take in.
Looks a little like panettone without the nasty bits.. Could be great for holiday gifts.
Forgot to ask about the zester that handily perches on the mixing bowl…now that I have my ingredients, I am ready to bake, except that I am jealous of the zester. Where did that come from please? I NEED it.
I don’t usually like cannoli, the ones I’ve had have been bland and greasy. But this I can totally get excited about! I am loving everything about it.
This really sounds absolutely delicious!
Oh yummy!! This looks SO good. This looks even better than a cannoli! Such a genius idea and one that I plan to try very soon!! XO
Oh my, this has all the right ingredients to be my favourite autumn cake! Yummy!
Lauren, the zester is a micro plane. It is actually easier to pull the plane over the orange, rather like bowing a violin. The zest collects on top and you can see how much you have done.
You are awesome and everything, but please, please it’s “cannolo” (singular) and “cannoli” (plural).
I grew up in the north, and my mother grew up in New York City so I know a thing or more about good cannolis. I can assure you, I have never found one here in the south. (Someday ask me about the friend who loves me and had an Italian bakery in Boston send me cannoli shells and everything else needed to fill them in an overnight package!) Your recipe looks amazing and I’m thinking about making it 6x for a job due on Sunday. Nothing like looking in an oven and seeing six loaves of pound cake baking! Thanks for the great idea of something that could be done today for a Sunday due date!
One of the things I have always liked on your blog is reading your comments to specific questions. They are harder and harder to find. Are you no longer publishing them?
Deb, what do you think about freeze-ability?
When i make this cannolli cake i always spread an extra cup of ricotta across the top center of the cake. It gives a real cannoli finish with some full fresh ricotta texture.
I only have a 9X5 or a 8 1/2 X 3 3/4
Which would be better to use ??
Never made a pound cake. Never made cannoli before. Never thought to combine. Wow! Epiphany on a rainy Friday. Maybe make this as a giveaway and send out to one of your lucky readers? Just kidding!!
Mmmm, cannolis! To me, they require not only mini chocolate chips, but also MUST have a hint of anise. Perhaps in place of the allspice?
Whoa, this looks simply divine and absurdly delicious. Glad you happened to have that ricotta! Adding this to my fall “must-make” list for sure.
Can I sub port or red vermouth for the marsala? This looks delicious.
Made this yesterday and it was really good. Maybe had a touch too much zest for my taste but it was dense and moist and tasty. Being from Arizona, I don’t know what an authentic cannoli tastes like (I always thought it was just a sweetened ricotta and chocolate chips in a shell)!
Oh, Wow! Heaven! You are so inventive. How do you find the time with a munchkin and an infant? Jealous of your time management skills!
Any suggestions for pistachio substitutes? More chocolate chips? Both pistachios are ricotta are incredibly expensive where I live (Colombia… the country, not the city). I can make the ricotta myself to keep the cost down, but no dice on the pistachios.
Oh this is brilliant!
I love the pistachios along with the tiny chocolate chips! And the marsala – YUM! I love pound cakes and ricotta gives it a delectable flavor like no other and it’s LIGHT! (well lighter than….)
I think you should consider making a big batch of your own ricotta and using it super fresh in these recipes. It’s less expensive, but most important – it’s so fresh you will have to stop yourself from sitting and eating up the first batch, it’s that good.
I love pound cakes, put them in the oven the forget them for an hour, unlike cookies which are so very needy. This reminds me of a chocolate chip pound cake I make with cream cheese. It is an old recipe from the Cuisinart Publication, Pleasures of Cooking.
I probably shouldn’t be telling you this, but, well…..I was in Ortigia this summer (Siracuse, Sicily) and in the Duomo there was a walk up window where all they sold were cannoli, and they filled them right there when you ordered them. Let’s just say I was there once a day(restraint!), and I’m still trying to figure out how to make that work (business model) in Berkeley CA. You can bet I”ll be yanking that tub of Sheeps Milk Ricotta out of my fridge and whipping this up.
I am LMAO becuase when I first saw this in my email, I thought it said “cannellini pound cake”…as in cannellini beans. I thought “WOW…now that sounds really…weird but let’s see…”!!I’m a bit relieved now!!
PS…correction…”because”, not “becuase”. :)
Oh man, the mister is totally going to flip for this recipe. Being Sicilian, he loves Cassata cake, but it’s a bit putsy and unrealistic to make with regularity, but this looks like a home-run!
I love a proper cannoli–hard to find here in Kansas. I can’t wait to give this cake a try.
Made and tasted. Passed the teenager afterschool snack test with flying colors!
Saw this while flying home from a business trip yesterday and made it as soon as I got home last night! It is ridiculously delicious, and a big hit in the office this morning. Such a great one bowl cake too! I’ll definitely be making it again.
Do you recommend draining the ricotta as if making cannoli filling? Or is the extra moisture from undrained ricotta needed for the recipe? Thanks.
Love cannolis and love pound cake so how could this go wrong. Planning to make this as soon as possible. Prefer butter pound cakes but oil makes a good cake too. Wondering if the olive oil adds any other advantage besides a kind of authentic Italian “fried” flavor? Otherwise leaning towards substituting butter.
Whoa! This is such a great idea! Will definitely put this one of the list. I’d love to bake or cook with you Deb! Would be such fun!! I’m not too far…Philly:) Let’s have a blogger get together!!
When using zest from the orange and lemon, you’re meaning zest from ENTIRE fruits?? I know I am probably asking a “duh” question, but just want to make sure I do it right! Thanks.
Hello Deb! This looks amazing. I have a question about the ricotta. I have made your homemade ricotta and it has
ruinedchanged my life! :) The homemade ricotta is quite a bit richer than regular ricotta. Would you change this recipe if using that ricotta?
Freezability — I’d expect this to freeze very well.
Laura — Whoa, thanks, I hadn’t realized. I think this will require about 75 edits, including URLs on my end, so it’s going in the “queue” for right now.
Lauren — It’s a Microplane zester; they’re the classic brand that brought them to the market. They’re usually sold as rasps but I prefer the wider field in this one, and that it has no plastic parts (nothing harmful about them, just not my preference).
Suzanne — Especially if you knew how close I lived to Veneiros! But, they’re just okay to me. They’ve got that affliction of so many Italian-American bakeries these days in which everything is saturated with artificial almond flavoring and it bums me out because I so love the idea of the place, and that they’re still around after all of these years. The ones in Philly were excellent, and I think Sarah (#16) is a fan as well! I am very overdue for a trip back through there.
Cecilia — Absolutely, I still read and respond to everything. But, since having a baby this summer, it sometimes takes a little longer because I’m juggling much more throughout the day! I got back into the swing of things last time, and expect at some point in the next 18 years :) to do so again.
sharon — Thank you. My to-cook list is also insane, so hard to whittle it down to the amount of time I have these days. I hope this means that only the cream rises to the top!
Sharon — You can skip the chocolate.
jwg — I usually use full-fat but I think you’ll be okay with either here.
Marie — Thank you. I’ve only ever baked at sea level, so my understanding of the changes needed can only be copied from other books/sites, can’t attest to how well they work.
Sarah — Use any kind of nut that you prefer to eat. You can also skip the nuts.
Christina and also Kimberly about the homemade ricotta — Yes, you always want to strain that one for some time. However, it’s so good and rich and wonderful fresh, I’d almost feel sad burying it in cake. Almost.
Cathie — If you don’t mind a little more salt in your cake, or you like a salty accent throughout, use salted pistachios. Otherwise, I’d use unsalted.
Elizabeth — It would make a different recipe, but the 1 cup of ricotta could be swapped, mostly likely, with a fruit puree such as applesauce. But, of course, then I might just make an applesauce cake!
Maureen — Yes, this would work with yogurt instead.
Annie — Should be fine as mini-loaves. Freezes well.
Samantha — The nuts can be left out with no issues.
Mihaela — You can see the ricotta I used in the 2nd photo. It’s in a bowl and was very thick. However, I believe a thinner one would work just fine.
Jennifer — Yes! One day. Thanks.
Emme — It’s not necessary to drain the ricotta for this cake.
Holly — Yes, I used the zest from both whole fruits. However, using a Microplane zester, which is very efficient in only pulling the zest off and no peel, you only get a scant amount from each. If you’re worried about it overwhelming, you can limit the zest to that of half of each fruit.
The moment I saw the words “Cannoli Cake” I thought, “Oh no, she DIDN’T!!! Oh how I miss a real cannoli – impossible to find on the west coast. Whole milk ricotta has only recently showed up in grocery stores and still remains difficult to find. I will have to learn how to make my own!
I’m thinking there is the equivalent of more than one Cannolo in this pound cake. My plan is to make it more than one serving anyway.
I couldn’t wait on this recipe and put it together last night. I had limited time, so I baked it as cupcakes (the recipe made 1 dozen) for about 25 minutes. SO delicious and they were a big hit with my friends. Any suggestions for a frosting/ topping if you do make this cake as cupcakes? They definitely didn’t need anything extra, but a cupcake shape just begs a topping :). I’m thinking something creamy, not too sweet, and simple. Thanks for a gem of a recipe, I’ll definitely be making this again and trying it out as a single cake as written.
Update: I found and used almond milk ricotta from Whole Foods. It worked pretty well! The cake was tasty at least, but I can’t attest to how much tastier it would have been with real ricotta.
Karen — I’ve bought whole milk ricotta at Trader Joe’s (I live on the West Coast in the Bay Area).
I made this last night. I was out of pistachios, so I subbed pine nuts for a similar feel. Delicious! Very chocolatey and citrusy. Perfectly reminiscent of cannoli!
Thank you, Deb. I feel like I can always count on you for a winner. You had me with corn and tomato pie. Your risotto stuffed poblanos? Unbelievably delicious. Shakshuka? Amazing. And I could go on and on! You are the bestest!
Do you have a recommendation for the Marsala? I only use alcohol for cooking/baking and need recommendations because “use what you drink” doesn’t work when you don’t drink. I have bought Marsala in the past for use in recipes that was labeled sweet but was horridly vile and ruined the recipes. I would like to include the flavor, but am afraid to purchase without recommendations. Thank you!
Oh my spreading thighs!! This was in my inbox this morning and on my counter this afternoon….absolutely delicious. Deb, I have been watching The Great British Baking show on Netflix and it’s totally addictive, I was wondering if you have seen it? If not, I would recommend emptying out an entire weekend because once you start it’s impossible to stop.
Elizabeth k – not sure if you’ll see this, but maybe you can try putting cannoli cream on top? Or a mascarpone cream from tiramisu?
I’m going to make this sometime lol not sure when but I will. Thanks for the recipe :)
I’ve never had a fresh cannoli, but this looks like it will do until then!
Dear Deb, just made this with a few alterations. Orange blossom water for marsala and toasted almonds for pistachios. That’s what I had. Oh my, a new Christmas present for my friends. Also made your butternut squash soup…perfect. Sweet and savory. I did add nutmeg. Thanks so much.
Also I don’t want to be a stalker but your daughter is so beautiful. Not too mention your son.
I really like making loaves..the other day was lemon..
However,being lactose intolerant the ricotta I can’t eat..
It’s nice to see I can use yougart too (0%)
Sweet picture too of your children
Harmonizing with all the commenters that yes, this is pure genius. What multiple of this recipe would you recommend if I wanted to make a 12″ Bundt cake of this?
What a beautiful and delicious quick bread! I added a thick sprinkle of sugar on the top before baking the loaf to give it a nice crackle top.
This cake looks so good. I know that you usually advocate for toasting nuts before including them in recipes. I don’t see the instruction to toast the pistachios. Do I assume correctly that I should toast them?
As always, thank you very, very much for giving us so many inspiring recipes.
My husband was stationed in Aviano in the far north of Italy. Maybe this would explain why he couldn’t find Cannoli? It’s only a Sicilian dessert! We were starting to think it was an American Italian thing! No matter, I will be making this for sure. Seems to me a dusting of powdered sugar when serving would be appropriate, no icing or other topping would be “correct.” I decided at one time that I needed to make my own cannoli. Indiana isn’t known as a hotbed for Italian food so buying shells wasn’t an option. I found a recipe and bought a stainless wisk, clipped the tines off and used it as a form for frying. Worked like a charm! The cake will be much easier!!
This is so, so, so good. Deb. is. a. genius.
I love cannoli also. I used to live above an Italian bakery and put on 3kg over a couple of months because I love cannoli. I left for my health.
Made this cake yesterday for my contribution to morning tea at my community garden’s working bee. What a hit! it was demolished, in a good way. Not a crumb or choc drop left behind. This recipe is definitely a keeper. Thank you.
Cannoli pound cake sounds ridiculously good… I have to have it. Now.
I just love that you give metric measurments. Makes everything so much more easy for us Europeans (Icelandic). :-)
Deb, I love your recipes and have made several of them. I haven’t commented before, but they’re some of my favorites!
My question: how essential is the olive oil? When I’ve made cakes with olive oil before, I’ve found the olive oil taste to be overwhelming, and I have trouble getting past that to taste other flavors. Would the cake lose something if I used vegetable oil or butter or a mixture in place of some or all of the olive oil?
I made this the day the post came out and after his first bite my husband said “This tastes like something we’d get in New York!” I subbed regular vegetable oil for the olive (like Leona above, I find the flavor of olive oil too strong for baked goods) and a couple tablespoons of Riesling for the Marsala and it was completely fabulous. It’s amazingly moist, fragrant and just sweet enough. Thanks so much!
Great comments from everyone. Has anyone baked this recipe in a round cake pan or a pan with a scalloped edge. I’d like to try it in a pan which might look more festive for a party.
Every once in a great, great while I go to the store and gather ingredients I wouldn’t normally stock (dairy allergy, yo!) to make one of your delicious creations for my husband who, sadly, is constantly subjected to a never-ending stream of vegan baked goods. As soon as I submit this comment, I’m hopping on my bike and heading to Whole Paycheck for some whole-milk ricotta cheese. And when he gets back this afternoon, this will be waiting for him. I can’t wait to see the look on his face.
As a cannoli lover who sometimes gets a tad lazy in the frying department, this is brilliant! Thanks Deb….
Don’t do what I did: I doubled the recipe and baked it in a bundt pan. Terrible idea! The batter is so dense, and doubling produced so much of it, that there was no way it could cook through and the cake fell apart. It still tasted good, but I ended up crumbling up the bottom half and will try to salvage it separately. I think this could work in a bundt WITHOUT doubling. (Also, I used a single recipe’s worth of zest, and added a few drops of King Arthur Flour’s Fiori di Sicilia, which has the perfect flavor profile for this. I would definitely recommend adding some if you have it on hand.)
Made this today. It’s so moist and delicious. Thanks for the recipe.
Oh Deb! Another winner. Have not done much baking with olive oil, but love the subtle flavor it imparts in this cake. The zest infused sugar? Brilliant! Skipped the nuts since I didnt have them. Family loved it. Thank you.
Oh my – this is so, so good! I couldn’t help myself – I love Cannoli and this just called to me. So it took me all of about 5 minutes to put everything together and then 55 minutes to bake. Happy campers here! I can see this turning into one of my go-to bakes! I would also be tempted to add some masala soaked sultanas to the mix. Thank you Deb – you’ve made my Sunday!
Do you think a single recipe would fill a kugelhopf pan ? Might look beautiful.
Ok, someone had to- I made a simple All Recipes cannoli filling to use as a spread. Another great way to use the extra ricotta.
I went ahead and bought whole milk ricotta and even a bottle of marsala! I just couldn’t wait – but it was worth it – best cake I’ve had in along time! I froze some of it to avoid eating all of it myself …
I’ve got one of these lovelies cooling on my counter right now and ooooh, it smells wonderful.
I got hand-dipped ricotta at Whole Foods for this. And, it’s so rich, and marvelous. I am meh about ricotta generally, but now I will have to do something special with the remaining 1/4 cup its so good.
Holy cannoli! I made your pound cake yesterday for Canadian Thanksgiving instead of our regular pumpkin pie (everyone was somewhat tired of the ol’ pumpkin pie…). Huge success; I served it topped with a pumpkin creme anglaise (because it WAS Thanksgiving after all…). The marsala added a nice flavour component. If anything I have one caveat: it’s quite chocolatey – I might cut down a bit on the chocolate chips next time. I will definitely bake this again!! Thanks for sharing, Deb.
I made this cake this afternoon, I didn’t have an orange so I used two lemons, and it’s come out looking gorgeous! Quite dark but my oven is absolutely frustrating no matter what I do. I can’t wait to cut and eat it later!!
I’m tempted to try this because the ricotta element adds a new twist to the pound cake tale (for me at least) but I’m wary of using olive oil in cakes I’ve found it to be quite heavy. I presume it’s okay here or you would have said?
Made this yesterday- soooooo delicious!!! (I had to sub clementine peel, as I was unexpectedly orangeless). Has anyone figured out a bundt cake conversion yet? I desperately need to bring this as a bonus dessert to Thanksgiving. Yum!
Cannoli will forever remind me of the Italian-themed bridal shower we planned for my sister, who started dating her husband while they were both studying in Rome. Happily their 14th wedding anniversary is tomorrow, so I must send this recipe to her! Thanks for sharing!
Deb, You’re an inspiration!!!! I’ve always enjoyed cooking– since high school in fact when a boy friend of mine showed me how to cook a few things and explained different knives and utensils of the cook’s kitchen. All of what my mother cooked came from a can or box and was entirely utilitarian in purpose–I’ve evolved from this approach and can’t thank you enough for lifting me to another level of cooking!
Recently I stepped up my game in the kitchen + then met your blog and cookbook and now…WOW! We’re all gushing over brunch, dinner, dessert…!
I’m debating this scrumptious looking cake or your lemon pound cake…Oh, the decisions.
I omitted the marsala/wine, salt and allspice (didn’t have them), used salted pistachios and frischkäse (for the ricotta, which is weirdly hard to find in Germany), and this was amazingly delicious, so much so that I’m making an encore tomorrow.
Made it this weekend, and it was enjoyed by all! I have some pistachio disdainers in my house so I didn’t mix in the pistachios, but sprinkled them on top of just half the cake which worked fine.
A few days ago, my husband and I had freshly filled cannoli at Maria’s Pastry Shop in Boston (literally run by an army of Italian grandmas), so I couldn’t help but make this cake! It was incredibly easy to prep and I love that it only required one mixing bowl! It really is a cannoli in cake form from the crisp outer crust to the subtle spices and citrus flavors inside! Thank you for another great recipe!
I made this and it turned out tasting exactly as described. It took 15 minutes longer in my oven than expected, but it looks just like the photos. A nice way to make a dent in that big tub of ricotta. I used finely chopped Valrhona 64% and it is nice and chocolaty. Next time I will dial back the cinnamon and allspice but they do contribute towards a very particular cannoli taste, just not my personal favorite.
Any way this can be made as a layer cake for a birthday, or, if not, do you have any tips on how to make it look perfectly festive?
To make this in a bundt — Doubling it should yield the right amount. This is how I always translate loaf to bundt cakes…
Hm, except CM (above) had trouble with it. I wonder if it might need a lower temperature to accommodating the longer baking time it would require without getting overly brown.
Olive oil — I don’t find it heavy or overly notable here, but if you’re wary, you can swap half or all of it with a neutral oil you prefer.
Toasting nuts — I know, it’s so not like me not to insist that you do so here. I don’t know what’s come over me, but for some reason, likely because I don’t generally care for the texture of whole or chopped nuts within a cake (versus a nut meal or flour, or nuts on top), I didn’t mind them less crisp here, so they were less of an interruption in the crumb. In fact, I even liked them. However, for the best texture and heightened flavor, you should always toast your nuts first.
Marcia — I don’t know the volume of one, but if it’s equivalent to a bundt, I’d double this. I agree it would look very grand and pretty for the holidays.
Tiffany — I have heard SO MUCH about it. The country was going crazy for it when I was on book tour in the UK two years ago. I think we should binge on it, too. And I loved this article, although the bigger picture, that it should be newsworthy that a Muslim be treated without prejudice in the year 2015, bummed me out.
Marsala — I usually buy the Florio brand; price isn’t bad, taste seems pretty good, but I also haven’t done much taste-testing of others. Perhaps someone else will chime in with a suggestion. Or, if you’ve got a good wine store by you, I bet someone there should be able to make a good recommendation. It’s best in almost all cases to avoid anything called “cooking wine.” They tend to have a lot of sodium and are never something you’d want to drink.
I can get behind cannoli flavoured ANYTHING. Love this!
I’m considering making this as cupcakes – should I use wrappers, or just butter the muffin pan really well? And presumably this will make roughly 10-12 cupcakes as written?
To CW , Re baking in a Bundt pan or any tube pan, do not put the pan on a baking sheet. The tube is there so the heat can go through to the center of the cake and help the large cake bake in the center.
This looks and sounds so delicious! I am lucky to have access to great cannoli in Boston ( although thankfully not in walking distance so I don’t have all the time) and seeing this has me craving them too! Or just thinking about buying some ricotta and making this.
Do you know if this recipe would work in a standard 9×2-inch cake pan? Or maybe even a Pullman Loaf Pan? The loaf pan I have measures as 4x4x13.
Tabitha — Not sure about 9×2 but definitely in a 9×3, i.e. springform.
I’m sure this cake tastes amazing and tastes like a cannoli, but I have this pet peeve where sometimes if you’re going to make one thing in another form, it has to embody the texture of the original form as well…like a super crackly/crisp (cannoli-like, if you will) shell and cream filling in the middle of the cake.
Don’t ask me how to execute this (yet) I’m just here to petulant.
Yum, what an interesting recipe! Think I may just have to try it.
Any tips for using up marscapone? I needed just a couple of tbsp and my husband came home with a huge tub. I’ve never used it before, so I don’t know what my best options are.
Julia — You could use it here instead of ricotta. It would be extra rich and delicious.
Made this Sunday – dessert for a brunch (an all-savory brunch up to that point). We all loved (LOVED) it. Served with berries macerated in fresh orange juice and a smidge of sugar, and whipped cream flavored with Marsala, all on the side for guests to use as they like. The tiny piece left was still if not more delicious the next day (day three). Thank you!!
So I made this cake last night using regular cooking (corn) oil instead of the olive oil. Like Ju Transcendancing, I used the zest of two lemons because I couldn’t get hold of an orange, and as the only dark chocolate I could find in my local supermarket was bars of fancy Swiss dark packed with hazelnuts, I ended up using hazelnuts instead of the pistachios by default. No wine, sadly. The result is delicious! A not-too-sweet cake with a lovely moist crumb and gorgeous burnish brown outer crust. But cannoli or not, I find lemon and chocolate a weird combo in a cake or dessert (orange and chocolate more common, granted), so next time I’ll probably skip the citrus element altogether and just stay with chocolate, hazelnuts, and the cinnamon and allspice. A great one to play around with, thanks for this recipe!
I finally had all the ingredients today and baked it! The batter was so good that I knew the cake would be. Yes, I eat raw batter, the horror!! Unfortunately, the cake fell in the middle while cooling. My tester came out clean but apparently the cake wasn’t done. Still yummy! I guess I’ll have to try again!
Made this cake on Saturday morning and my fiancee and I LOVED it. Moist and flavorful. So easy to whip up (1 BOWL!), no way to mess up this cake. Use good quality chocolate chips as suggested in the recipe (I used Ghirardelli mini chips) but this would be excellent with a darker chocolate as well. We also purchased a high quality ricotta (delicious and light eaten off a spoon) in the cheese section of a higher end grocery store and that for sure added to the overall flavor. Will definitely keep this in rotation.
I made this last night (subbing in the Greek fat-free yogurt and pecans that I had on hand) and it came out perfectly! Most important, it did exactly capture the flavor of cannolis. What a fantastic recipe to have that comes together so quickly.
Wow, 137 comments and no mention of cherries! It’s probably in no way traditional or authentic but I really love the cannoli filling with cinnamon, chocolate chips, and chopped maraschinos. But I’m from the midwest, so… :) I think I might try reducing the sugar a bit, adding 1/2 cup chopped cherries, and report back!
Made this Sunday and it is gone as of this morning. It was so good. Great texture and the combination of flavors was perfect. I used a bundt pan just because I hadn’t used mine for years and it turned out really well. I did not double the recipe and it was perfect. Alas, I did use the marsala “cooking wine” but will buy the good stuff for the next time i make it. Which will be soon!
Made this last night and it was delicious! I made one loaf with gluten-free AP flour (Bob’s Red Mill) since one of my dinner guests is allergic and it worked out great. I also made another using my bundt pan and 1 1/2 times the recipe (regular flour this time) without a problem.
I used slightly less zest than called for both times (based on what I had on hand) and I still think the citrus flavor still came through perfectly.
Thank you, thank you! I was wondering if gluten free flour would work. Now I know. Can’t wait to make it.
Baked this cake in a 9×3-inch cake pan, subbing hazelnuts for pistachios. So good! Thinking I’ll serve it with whipped cream and some kind of orange sauce or compote… not sure yet but I have until tomorrow to decide!
Made tonight sans pistachios and wine – SO GOOD! I’m excited to try day two and three. I’m “auditioning” birthday cakes and this is on the top of the list. For Barbara C. #135 – Sometimes the crust cleans off the tester on the way out. I find putting the tester in a crack angled toward the center results in a more accurate crumb test.
I just made this cake and it was absolutely amazing. Perfect once again
Oh man, you get me EVERY TIME! I literally cannot count the times you have seduced me to make something as soon as possible over the past years. This was the case with this cake, and it is SO GOOD. My boys could not be persuaded to wait for dinner with it, so we had it for breakfast. Half of it is gone. It is wonderful. I personally loved the amount of zest in it – the only adjustment I will make is reduce the sugar to 150gr next time and maybe use less chocolate chips. But I like my cakes on the mellow side. Thanks again for an awesome recipe.
What a great idea! Can’t wait to try it…
One question though: can I replace Marasala with Amaretto? And if so, does it change the quantity?
I hate to change something even before trying it but buying a bottle of Marsala when I own one of Amaretto that I don’t use so often seems a shame. I know it’s the same kind of taste but since one is wine-like and the other is more like liquor I don’t want to put to much!
Thanks for your help.
Audrey — Sure, Amaretto would be good here. I don’t think it would overwhelm. (Almond extract, definitely in that quantity.)
And it was the feature of KPLU’s Food for Thought segment this morning!
I made this last night and it is fabulous! I didn’t put in the wine because I wasn’t sure if my marsala was sweet, but the final product was still amazing. In fact, I just had a piece. Yum.
I just put the cake in the oven for a party I’m having tomorrow but – I know this sounds dumb – I can’t believe how much the batter tasted like a cannoli! I know, it’s in the name, but I was still surprised. Can’t wait for the final product. I omitted the nuts (I’ve never had a cannoli with pistachios; le gasp!) but kept everything else the same. The lemon and orange zest is making my kitchen smell divine!
Deb, Interesting article about The Great British Baking Show, but I agree, it’s a sad commentary that it’s noteworthy. Anyway, I dare you to watch two episodes and not be completely and utterly in it’s thrall. It has the added bonus of making you feel great about your teeth too.
I had everything required to bake this except an orange, and I went out to get one as soon as possible. I would not have thought to combine citrus-chocolate-spice flavours, but it was absolutely delicious! (And a one-bowl cake that I can mix and have in the oven in 15 minutes snatched while my newborn naps is a bonus.) I had a chunk of callebeault semi-sweet chocolate, so I chopped it instead of using chocolate chips; as a result there are tons of teeny chocolate shards throughout the cake, but that’s just fine by me.
I baked a double batch last Friday with plans for one for my daughters school bake sale and one for me. Too much going on and my loaves were looking too brown and passed the toothpick test, not sure how much time in the oven but they were under baked, however they taste delicious, but not quite bakesle worthy. The carrot cupcakes and s’more cupcakes were worthy and went to the bake sale.
Thanks for your yummy, well tested recipes.
This is really top-notch Deb. I love how quickly it came together (one bowl! no Kitchenaid paddle to clean!) and the flavor is incredible. I followed the recipe exactly, though my loaf took a good 10 minutes longer to cook.
I’m so looking forward to a slice of this and a cup of coffee tomorrow morning; it’ll be the perfect way to start my weekend. And I’m thinking of making this for post-Thanksgiving brunch… in a Bundt pan since it looks like others have done it successfully and it has such a lovely presentation, all golden on the outside and flecked with chocolate inside. Hmmm, maybe a I need another piece right now! :)
Do you need to drain the ricotta first?
Lauren — No, no need to drain the ricotta. (A few people have asked; I promise, I would have told everyone if it was necessary. I want the recipe to work for you!)
Deb I just made this delightful cake for a dinner party tonight. Do you have any serving suggestions? Ice cream? poached pears, something else? Thanks – Val
Valerie — Ice cream would be good, as would pears. Maybe a little whipped mascarpone?
Finally made this cake tonight after carrying my ricotta and pistachios from place to place. It was wonderful, and It elicited many oohs and
Ahhs. .. My Marsala must have been 20 years old and looked like motor oil, so I added a tablespoon of Grand Marnier , and a half tsp of vanilla. This worked well. This one is going out for holiday gifts. Thanks Deb for another one bowl wonder.
Doubled this to make two loaves so I have can bring 1 and a half to a food swap tomorrow… But I’m not sure they’ll make it. This is my new pound cake base recipe. (it must be too long since I’ve had a cannoli as it didn’t remind me too much of one, but it tasted so good you could call it anything and I’d eat it).
Thoughts on making this as cupcakes, perhaps with a cannoli filling frosting?
Delicious! I skipped the wine and used canola oil in place of the olive oil. I’m thinking this will be good around the holidays. Loved it, thanks!
I finally made this today…3 small loafs and one tiny loaf for my widowed neighbor-tiny because she is type 2 diabetic and eats tiny portions. I am week 6 into a shingles outbreak and food lately has been meh. Fortunately for my husband the aforementioned neighbor has been keeping us supplied with dinners and the cookies this past month. I had good intentions with these loafs – the tiny one for the neighbor (not negotiable) and to give one to our wonderful contractor who is currently laboring in the rain and cold, 2 remaining for my wonderfully patient husband who has taken on the many chores I am not currently not able to do. However, I made the mistake of trying one of the small loafs. Definitely not meh! There is no way the contractor will get one today, and it might be questionable if my husband comes home to find more than crumbs.
So, Deb, I love love your blog and recipes! This is my first time commenting here. I’ve gone over the other comments for this recipe and I don’t think I’ve seen this one addressed. The pistachios I have to use are shelled and salted. So, I’m thinking of skipping the 1/4 tsp salt you call for. And, of course I’m going to double it and use 2 loaf pans. What do you think? Thanks!
For those of you who wondered about a layer cake, I made a layer cake form this this past weekend. One recipe for a 8×2 inch pan. I used wet terry cloth towels around the pans and baked a 350 for about an hour. The came nice and tall and flat. I torted them filled them with whipped chocolate ganache and frosted with a hybrid smbc/abc frostings it was very good.
Worked great as cupcakes (with wrappers). A double recipe made 19… I used half rice flour and half almond flour, and subbed brandy for the marsala. They were sweeter than I was expecting, so I’m glad I didn’t cover them in powdered sugar (next time, I’d reduce the sugar by at least 1/2c). And the last one was possibly better on day 5 than the first was on day 1.
Help! I made this. The batter is amazingly delicious, but the cake sunk. What did I do wrong? Thank you!
I made this yesterday following the directions. It came out of the oven looking perfect and it tastes delicious. However slices completely fell apart when I cut it after was cooled overnight. No beautiful slices like your picture. What could be the problem?
Mine also fell…and was completely raw in the center even though the toothpick came out clean and the top was done, verging on too dark. Baked in an electric convection for 55 minutes, top rack. Maybe should have used the middle rack? I’m still figuring it out.
(Returned it to the oven for 10 minutes to try and save it, but I think it’s a lost cause.)
I made 12 muffins (cupcakes? not sure what the difference is) using all the batter, didn’t use liners, and only sprayed the pan (didn’t flour). They came out super easily and are absolutely delicious!! I actually prefer them this way (although I haven’t made the loaf so far, so I can’t really compare) because there is more crisp all around each bite. The problem is I eat one at a time, and the muffins are probably bigger than a slice would be… They are a bit dense, so I wonder if I over mixed the batter when I was incorporating the flour, but I like them this way, so I’m happy about it :-) thank you for all the delicious recipes on this website, this is not the first and won’t be the last I try!! YUMMM!!! I will take these to my dissertation presentation and feed my committee on Monday, thanks to other people’s feedback that they are even better after a few days. I hope they agree and pass me :-)
Oh, I forgot to say: it took about 30 minutes to be completely done, at 25 they were not quite there in my opinion.
I’ve tried a few of your quick bread/loaves recipes and they all turned out delicious and moist! I was going to try making this and wonder if the olive oil in the recipe is extra virgin olive oil?
I made this a few days ago and everybody loved it. Has all the flavors of a cannoli but without all the hassle. My husband, who is Sicilian, raved that it rivals his favorite dessert, cannoli, and surpasses it! A total winner in my book!
Made the cake today and substituted plain yogurt for the ricotta – simply delicious.
This is a terrific recipe – very flavorful and evocative of autumn. A keeper, for sure.
Made this cake last week and loved this recipe for its simplicity and easy clean-up..also got me to buy the more expensive, all natural ricotta. I am converted, just bought another quart. I found this cake to be more about the citrus flavor and less about the cannoli. I will make this cake again w/less zest and more marsala in an attempt to bring back the flavors of the side by side bakeries and their cannoli…Bleecker Street, 1976.
Fabulous. The only thing I would change is add a bit more pistachios.
Cake number 2 was made and came out better. Thanks to Heather comment “144 for the suggestion about the cake tester. I will have to make cake Number 3 now!! I found Marsala at the Walmarts but now I’m concerned, it’s Holland House and calls itself cooking wine. We don’t have a wine store unless you call the gas station a wine store so going somewhere real isn’t an option. Ain’t small town life great!! The sodium is 190mg. Deb or anyone else who knows wine, is that high? I’m clueless! I have another cooking adventure lined up so I won’t be making cake number 3 right away. I would like the right sort of wine for this. The first two I just left it out:(
just made this – four mini loaves which took 40 minutes of baking. haven’t tasted yet but it smells and looks delicious!
It’s delicious made with rum (3 T). Definitely strong, but that’s the way I like it ;)
This was absolutely delicious. Decadent. A treat. I baked it for 62 minutes by next time will do full 65 as it had a tiny mushy section in the middle. The flavor was incredible. I used salted pistachios and regular semisweet chocolate chips and just fantastic.
your recipes posting is very nice and good write. i am impressed your posting. thank you.
Wow. This sounds absurdly delicious. I think I may try this with muffins and top them with some additional ricotta, chocolate, marsala, and pistachio mixture. The question is how to thicken it….
But I think that’s a pretty wonderful problem to look to solve, don’t you? Any ideas?
Wow! All of these recipes sound absolutely delicious! There are so many types of these recipes out there but these seem the most homemade, and the easiest. I am very interested in trying all of these recipes. The one that caught my eye is the Apple Pie Cookies. Do you have a favorite recipe? Or one that you are the best at making?
I had to try this right away. It was pretty easy to make and turned out delicious! I love that you can make it a couple of days ahead and it just gets better during that time.
Made this pound cake for my coworkers today. It is DELICIOUS!!!
Long-time reader, first-time commenter… took this out of the oven a few hours ago. I was also wary of the olive oil in the recipe, since the only other time I tried to make an olive oil cake it ended up with a fallen/squishy middle and high crunchy sides (plus yes, tasted strongly of olive oil even though it was also very citrusy). I had no such problems with this one… the end result rose rather than fell in the middle, and tastes nothing like olive oil. I tasted one of the “heels” for quality control purposes, and it’s great and not too sweet. I’m sure it will be even better tomorrow since this is a pound cake and all. Another great recipe!
I made this exactly as Deb wrote it. IT IS great! It’s a very interesting flavor combo: and has sort of a holiday feel to it. Very moist, and does improve after a day or so wrapped tightly. I’ll definitely make it again!
I made this the other day and it was soooooo yummy! Thanks so much for the recipe.
Re: under baked cake. I tested mine after one hour and it was still raw inside, so I tented it with foil, turned the oven down to 325 and left it another half hour. Perfect!
I made this exactly according to instructions. in a loaf pan, I had to cover it with foil half way to stop it from browning too much. Usually the smitten kitchen recipes are a hit but I was a bit disappointed by this cake. The citrus flavor was too strong – I would make it with less citrus and perhaps just use regular oil – I didn’t really taste the olive oil.
TOTAL DELICIOUSNESS even with my deviations:
My oven is completely uncalibrated — so this was torture to bake! That’s on me, not you :)
I did not have mini chips — used whole choco chips I sorta broke up — will definitely use mini in the future. And not use frozen, because that probably impacted bake time too.
I shoulda chopped my pistachios a little finer.
Will definitely be in my poundcake repertoire — I love that the ricotta flavor really does come through!
This cake is impeccable. Delicious, moist and easy to make. I doubled the recipe to make two loaves, following it as written, only I subbed dark rum for the marsala and toasted walnuts for the pistachios (based on what was in the pantry.) I used Trader Joe’s whole milk ricotta (15 ounces) for the two loaves. I tented 1/2 way through the baking time and my loaves came out perfectly golden. I didn’t sprinkle with powdered sugar. I took one of the loaves to my mother for Christmas day. She is very critical and she was super impressed after tasting the cake. The next morning she even called me to tell me that she was having a slice with her coffee. Now, that was the best Christmas present I received.
Made it today: tastes delicious, but it didn’t rise and is too dense :( I followed the recipe – any idea what could have gone wrong?
Wow!! Best cake ever happened to me!
Hmm. Baked this last night but it didn’t rise very much at all. Tried it again today, this time using self-raising flour. Rose a bit better, but both times it took *forever* to bake through – 85 minutes last night and 95 tonight, and my oven is spot-on for temperature!
Haven’t tasted either yet – one of them (tonight’s!) will be going to work with me – but the batter on both tasted delicious.
I love this cake. Once I read the recipe and realized I had everything for it, I had to make it. Once I did, I couldn’t stop making it! It was also great with dried cranberries added as well. Thanks for yet another great recipe! Wish I could back as often as you post!
Can I sub cottage cheese for the ricotta?
Hello! Just wanted to make an addition to my earlier comment (#196) … both cakes were absolutely delicious BUT I have a soft spot for the first cake as I used much less orange zest than called for – about half – because I only had a very VERY small orange for that one and, when I’d previously used orange zest in a cake, it just overwhelmed the whole thing (it was a banana bread made with golden syrup and again, using half the zest called for). And this time, again using half of the required amount, it overpowered everything else.
So, I will definitely make again (in the words of a friend at work “you can definitely make that again!”) but use less orange next time. A week after baking the first it is STILL incredibly tasty and moist, just keeping it wrapped in foil.
A great every-day (but special, because of the ricotta and pistachios!) cake and yes, one to keep!!
Added a tsp of Fiori de Sicilia from King Arthurs and the citrus taste was amazing! Replaced Pistachios with the Hazelnuts left over from holiday toffee making. This is a terrific recipe. Reminds me of long Sunday mornings in New York City. Thanks, Deb. BTW, I doubled and cooked in a Bundt pan and it was perfect!
I made this because I had some unsalted pistachios to use up and I was a little hesitant about the combination, but oh my goodness I cannot stop eating it. I made 4 mini loaves (30 minutes baking time) and had to give 2 of them away to keep myself from devouring it. I’ll use half the chocolate next time (Trader Joe’s pound plus dark, chopped) because I felt it overwhelmed the other flavors. Anyway, just stopped in to thank you, Deb – again – for a fantastic recipe.
Made this yesterday. It didn’t remind me that much of cannoli, but it was definitely delicious. I actually liked it best on day 1, when the crust was nice and crisp, though I will certainly not have trouble finishing it regardless.
I also doubled the recipe (including zest), added 1/2 tsp of orange flower water, and baked in a bundt at 300 for 90 mins. It was perfect. Unanimous love for this cake, among cannoli lovers and haters alike!
Oh, Deb. I should have used this recipe. I made a torta di ricotta from a source I will not name and it came out dense, gummy, and inedible. I had to throw it in the trash. I have no patience for trying again, but when I have extra ricotta, I’ll use this recipe. Guaranteed.
I take an extra cup of ricotta and mix it with either honey or powdered sugar and distribute it through the top center of the cake . usually divided into 4 mini loaves.
even more cannolish.
I love this recipe! such an easy, quick mix! The flavor is wonderful! I pops right out of the pan… I double it and use a bundt cake pan. ( because it is sooo delicious you want to have plenty!) I omit the wine,zest,allspice & cinnamon. I add 4 teaspoons vanilla, a few drops of cinnamon oil and a pinch of Nutmeg instead. I have made it with fat free ricotta, 5 egg whites and toasted hazelnuts and it came out great! Thank you … this is now one I will certainly keep… Thank You soooo much!
This was so incredible!!! I loved the cannoli flavor and how moist it was. I will definitely be making this again!
Hi Deb…do you think cake flour would work here?
Wonderful cake! Super easy and everyone loved it. I doubled the recipe and made it in a bundt pan, baked at 350 for 65 minutes and it was perfect. Definitely will be a regular in the rotation!
Well I couldn’t wait for the answer to my above question and just made it with AP flour. WOW is this delicious! Molly of Orangette has a recipe with similar flavors, her “pistachio citrus pound cake” which is also amazing and one I go back to over and over again and I highly recommend you trying it out!
Made this two days ago, ate it all, then made it again today…so good. We can’t stop eating it. Followed recipe exactly as written, minus the marsala because we didn’t have any, and it’s perfect.
Holy Cannoli! (sorry couldn’t resist). This was truly incredible Deb. The citrus flavors were strong but held up so beautifully to the dark chocolate and the buttery pistachios. And for me the cinnamon and marsala is what brought it all together for a classic cannoli flavor. A true future classic. I made this last night on a thursday and already am planning on making it again this sunday to bring in to work. Thanks again.
@Deb – Any thoughts on what the internal temperature of this bread should read when it is done? When I took it out, it skewer-tested done, but there was still some raw-ish batter near the center midsection.
Dan — Sorry, I have never checked but I have read that the 195-20 degree F range is a good estimate for quick bread-style cakes like this.
New to your blog – and as it turns out, today is a Triple-Deb Day! It is my husband’s birthday and I’d saved some of our fresh rhubarb just for him. So first thing this morning I made him a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2010/06/strawberry-rhubarb-pie-improved/).
Have chicken marinating in fridge for Sheet Pan Chicken Tikka (smittenkitchen.com/blog/2016/04/sheet-pan-chicken-tikka/#ifrndnloc), to which I’ll add carrots. Cooking meat and half of veggies in one pan to accommodate vegetarian friends; I’ll add whole mushrooms to their pan.
Our friends will have Cannoli Pound Cake with marsala; I have two in the oven at this moment! One is gluten-free; I used a gluten-free flour mix (1 c.) and 1/4c each almond flour and potato starch. The house smells wonderful!
Thanks so much for sharing not only excellent recipes with great directions, but an engaging “my-experiences-behind-this-recipe” dialog along with them. I find myself scanning the comments and really enjoying it here.
Four years later, your Cannoli Pound Cake is my go-to whenever a cake is needed. Ships well, too!
I froze 2 full size loaf cakes; wrapped each in foil & plastic bag, then rolled in bubble wrap. Packed in a cooler lined with freeze-packs on all 6 sides. Overnighted it; arrived still frozen and ready to party. Suggested thaw, then a 375 degree oven for 10 min to crisp outsides again. Recipient couldn’t resist testing immediately! Deb, you have re-ignited my love of kitchen puttering – for this I am forever grateful!
I made this today and it turned out good. I think the chocolate amount could be cut down as it overpowers all the other flavors, and adds a chalky texture against the cake. I will make this again without the chocolate chips completely and increase the pistachios.
Fun fact I learned about cannolis- they were introduced to Italy by Arabs when Siciliy was an Arab emirate!
How would this cannoli pound cake hold up as a wedding cake
It’s a tiny bit on the dense side, because it’s a pound cake, however, a lot of wedding cake bakers prefer slightly sturdier cakes because they’re easier to stack and shape as needed. It’s worth trying as an audition layer.
Hi Deb! Wondering what kind of olive oil you used/recommend for this cake – extra virgin, light? Thanks!
I am pretty sure mine was called extra-virgin, doubtful, as always, that it actually is. Use what you like. A stronger flavor will be more present in the final cake.
Oh, Deb. I may have made three of these yesterday.
We’re going to a potluck for New Year’s Eve tomorrow night and I wanted to make something easy-ish but different, and this looked perfect. Also needed something to bring to my brother’s for dessert tonight. My husband saw what I was planning to make, and he got nervous that we wouldn’t have enough left over for the two of us – so I made a third that would stay at our house. Of course, we had to test out the one that was ours as soon as it cooled, and it was amazing. This is going in the regular rotation for sure.
My only adjustments: I used just under a cup of mini chocolate chips based on the other comments here, and I made sure to get oranges and lemons that weren’t too huge since others commented that the zest was overpowering at times. It was really perfect. I used unsalted pistachios but had to shell them myself – my grocery store had pre-shelled ones that were salted, so I may try those next time just to save time and see if I like that, too. Honestly, though, this is amazing. May try to make some cannoli cream to serve with it in future if I’m feeling like doing something extra, too, but really, it’s not like this needs it – I just look for excuses to eat cannoli cream anytime anyway. This cake is amazing. LOVE.
Wondering if you could use marscapone cheese instead of ricotta? Or would the marscapone be too dry?
I think it would be the opposite — quite rich. Lovely, too. Go for it.
I just made this for Christmas. Something a little different and so good!
Can I add frozen cherries to this? After making a pistachio & cherry ice cream from F&W magazine I’m obsessed with trying to put pistachios & cherries in everything!!!
I don’t see why not, but I can’t be positive they won’t sink unless I try it. (It usually relates to the weight of the fruit vs. thickness of batter.)
I made this pound cake and it is delicious! It really tastes just like a cannoli. Thank you for a yummy and unique twist on pound cake!
Since the beginning of January, I walk thru the grocery store bakery and look at the section featuring cannolis!! But I never buy them; I don’t really want a grocery store cannoli, I tell myself! I came across this recipe while looking for Meyer lemon recipes… And boy did it hit the spot!! Everything you could love about a cannoli! I took it to the office; everyone loved it! Not to sweet, lots of flavor and super moist!! Thanks!
This is delicious! It took about 50 minutes before the toothpick came out clean and it was *just* shy of getting too dark on the top, but I don’t find this any different than most loaf cakes. A couple changes I made because I was short ingredients. First, after I started measuring the ingredients I realized I only had about 2/3 c ricotta. I added 2 T of sour cream until I ran out of that too. Good planning on my part, eh? I went with it and cut back on the flour by maybe 1-2T and the cake was perfectly lovely. I also realized I only had about 1/2 cup mini chips and that seemed like plenty to me. Finally, I skipped the pistachios only because my picky 7 year old vehemently objected. Next time I will overrule him and try them anyway. I do think this cake would also be fantastic without the chips or nuts, just the light citrus flavor. Thanks for the recipe Deb!
Made this to take to a friend’s dinner – I’m very pleased with how it turned out, even though I think I would make a few modifications. I used regular chocolate chips because I have a ton, and probably only used about 1c. I doubled the marsala but I still couldn’t detect it in the finished cake. I think I chopped my pistachios too small, because they weren’t very noticeable. I would also like more zest, but that might be the fault of my lemons /oranges – I didn’t feel like I got very much zest. Next time I’ll try using more marsala, more zest, and more roughly chopped pistachios. That being said, everyone loved it as I made it!
Thanks for posting this simple but special cake. The texture was moist and satisfyingly dense, without being heavy, which I attribute to the ricotta and mini chocolate chips. I made it in a square cake pan and it makes a nice change from a typical coffee cake.
Thanks for posting this delicious cake! I made it as 12 cupcakes and cut down the baking time accordingly. Also used just under a cup of chocolate chips and subbed orange blossom water for the marsala. It’s really fragrant and even better on day 2. I’ve been cooking from this blog for the last 10 years throughout my moves from London to Singapore to Hong Kong and love your recipes Deb!
I make this regularly. I’m not going to lie, it’s one of the mildly more time-consuming “everyday” cakes because of the chopping and zesting, as well as slightly more expensive because of the pistachios, the ricotta, and the need for good chocolate (trust me…get the good chocolate). BUT. It is totally, totally worth it and easy as pie (well, actually way easier, because good pie is not really all that easy) once you get going on it.
I made this yesterday afternoon to combat the back-to-school blues, and it did not disappoint. So so good. I only had salted pistachios (pre-shelled, hooray!) so I just omitted the salt from the ingredients and it worked perfectly. I did not find the citrus too overwhelming as some others have, but I love the combo of chocolate and orange and enjoyed the brightness it added.
Next time I might use my 9×5 pan instead of the 8.5×4. The batter almost reached the top of my 8.5×4 and looked like it might overflow while baking. Maybe my pan is smaller than I thought? It took about 65 minutes to bake, and I had to lightly cover the top with foil the last 10 minutes to prevent over-browning. Regardless, it’s still delicious! Thanks for another great recipe!
I’m wondering if you could use mascarpone instead of ricotta. I can’t find ricotta where I’m currently living.
I’m helping Deb by answering lol.. I’ve gone through every comment and Deb mentioned a few times in replies to the questions that you can sub mascarpone for the ricotta and the result will be richer than if you are using ricotta.
You can also sub yogurt for it.
Hope that helps…
My family and I loved the cannoli pound cake! Thank you for sharing the recipe😋I had to sub toasted walnuts for pistachios, and I’d cut back on the mini chocolate chips. But I will definitely be making it again, and I’ve already shared the recipe with my mother🤗
This is one of my favorites from you too ❤️
This is cooling on my counter right now and smells divine. Easy enough to make that I tackled it with a newborn clinging to my chest, and survived to tell the tale!
SO – chopped pistachios, are they salted pistachios?
My mom and I are two HUGE cannoli fans and while I wouldn’t say that this tasted like a cannoli, we LOVED this cake. It’s so easy to make and everything about it was wonderful. In the future, I might reduce the amount of mini chips…………………….. but only maybe. We ate it fresh out of the oven, letting it cool just a bit……and then we had some more. Thank you, Deb. You never fail to please and you’ve joined the ranks of those whose recipes I trust unfailingly.
So I made this tonight and it is pretty wonderful.
The only change was I topped it with cinnamon sugar a la her recipe for pumpkin bread last week.
If it’s only going to taste better tomorrow we are in for a treat.
I keep finding excuses and birthdays to make this cake. i make it in a springform round, sprinkle with confectioners sugar when done, then serve it with a dollop of whipped cream and chopped choc chips, pistachios. everyone i’ve served it to swoons. i’ve never followed a recipe to the letter except this one (except, as usual, i put more vanilla in that is called for). the steps to making it are very important and create a kind of ecstatic dessert. really! and i’m super picky.
I made this and it was perfect! Thank you.
Do you think it could be doubled and baked in a bundt pan?
(My only substitution was a tablespoon of Grand Marnier instead of Marsala wine.)
I would love to make this as a bundt, too. Beth, did you end up trying that? Or, can anyone else answer?
Yes! I doubled the recipe,baked in a (very well greased) bundt pan and it was superb. I used Grand Marnier instead of Marsala and you can find Grand Marnier in the mini size so you don’t have to spend the big bucks on the full size unless of course you wish to. Served it after Xmas eve dinner and it’s such a hearty size I was able to offer guests take home portions. Keeps beautifully so you can make ahead a few days. Merry Christmas!
Thank you, Beth! Christmas Eve is my current plan for this as a bundt, too! Did you have to increase the baking time?
I’m sure I did increase the baking time but I don’t remember by how much. Look up a similarly rich dense bundt cake recipe and follow that. It’s so moist with the oil and the ricotta, I think it would be hard to overcook.
I’m sure I did increase the baking time but I don’t remember by how much. Look up a similarly rich dense bundt cake recipe and follow that. It’s so moist with the oil and the ricotta, I think it would be hard to overcook.
I’ve also reached out to @smittenkitchen on Twitter and she responded almost immediately. It’s a fun way to get instant answers.
As others have mentioned, it works great as a bundt. It really shouldn’t take much more time to bake, I’d expect 10 minutes at most and you might as well check at the suggested time. Bundts aren’t really thicker in tube diameter than loaf pans, they’re sometimes thinner, so that’s why the baking time is going to be close.
I’ve made this amazing delicious cake many times, it’s a favorite around the holidays. I do cut back on the chocolate slightly and I’ve subbed the pistachios for sliced almonds. One wonderful shortcut I’d like to pass on is I like to zest & juice dozens of lemons, limes and grapefruit for future use. I put the zest in a freezer container and freeze the juice in ice cube trays. Once they’re frozen, I transfer to freezer ziplock bag. It’s such a time saver whether I’m cooking savory or sweet things🙂
Any idea how this would freeze? Trying to think ahead for the holidays.
I made this and it turned out great. I wanted to try making it in mini loaf pans to give as Christmas gifts. How many mini loaves will this make and are there any adjustments I need to make?
I finally made this! But with substitutions as I didn’t have some of the ingredients as well as due to a dietary restriction.
I used my gluten free flour mix, and subbed walnuts for the pistachios. Ricotta isn’t sold where I live (pathetic, I know) so I was thinking of subbing mascarpone instead. I normally have mascarpone in my fridge, but somehow didn’t realize that I’ve used all of it before, so I had to use whatever I have — creme fraiche and a bit of cream cheese to make up for the amount called for. I reduced the sugar a bit as I read in the comments above some readers mentioned they thought it was too sweet, and I also reduced the olive oil.
The cake tastes heavenly, something I will definitely make again. Deb, as always, YOU ARE AWESOME.
My question has a bit of a preface (apologies in advance):
There’s a bakery in New Haven that is a ricotta cake that I am obsessed with – so I bought the cookbook only to be very sad to see that the recipe for the cake is clearly not the one that’s served. The one at the bakery has swirls/dollops of ricotta/chocolate chips throughout.
I cannot figure out how to successfully swirl/dollop the ricotta/chocolate mixture in. I’d tried various things and had given up. I’d figured that maybe it until I saw your recipe, which is delicious. And I thought that if anyone would know how to solve the mystery of the ricotta cake with ricotta dollops, it would be you. Any suggestions on what I might try?
Thank you for providing a go-to resource for all things cooking and baking related in our house.
What’s the bakery’s name?
The name is Claire’s Corner Copia. I live on the other side of the country now so can’t get my fix ;>)
Is it the one photographed in the later pictures in this post? (I need a visual reference on this.)
Yes, yes, yes! That is exactly it. I wish I had come to you years ago! The only thing I can think of is that maybe there’s some cream cheese in there, too?
hey, Susanne, I stumbled across this comment after moving across the country from new haven and trying to recreate…this same Claire’s cake. would you say the cookbook recipe is accurate minus the dollops?? just wondering as I pursue that cornmeal crust…
Ha! We are kindred spirits and cake connoisseurs. I think the cake at the bakery is denser than the one in the recipe. ALSO, I do not think it’s a plain powdered sugar/butter buttercream frosting, as indicated in the cookbook. If it is, there is something else added, maybe sour cream?
Would there be an acceptable substitute for the pistachios or is it better to let it be nut-less? I’ve got pistachio, hazelnut, macadamia, and cashew allergies. It looks amazing and I’m dying to try it out!
Just popped this in the oven for Easter brunch tomorrow. Thank you as always for the inspiration.
texture and taste were superb, although it doesn’t taste anything like cannoli. used only half the quantity of choc chips and nuts, as that’s all i had, and already found it too much. i just prefer to bite into more cake. the choc chips somewhat made the cake look a little messy upon slicing. will reduce choc chips to 10g in future, and also increase the marsala wine as i could not detact it in the finished bake (although mine was high quality marsala wine!)
I am now obsessed with this cake. I use salted chopped pistachios, half the amount of chocolate- about one row of finely chopped dark pound plus from Trader Joe’s, and last time swapped in Gran Marnier for the marsala. So good. Thank you!
I noticed there is not the traditional chopped citron or rum flavoring in this cannoli cake. The orange rind is unusual as well.
I know it can be added but I’m confused as to which part of Italy this type of cannoli would be from? Would you happen to know? Being Italian I understood the recipe to be more traditional throughout Italy. Is this more a ricotta cake instead of a cannoli cake?
My cake is cooling and my house smells wonderful! I used sliced almonds since I couldn’t find pistachios already cut up. The batter tasted great :) Can’t wait til it’s cooled.
Very tasty and popular among a diverse group of adults and kids. I zested a whole lemon (the smaller kind that come in bags) and half an orange (which looked to make the same amount of zest). I used 150 g of mini chocolate chips per others’ feedback. I used a tbsp of dry Marsala because that’s all we had and it worked fine. A couple people told me the pistachios really made the dessert.
My new apartment has a convex oven, can’t find my loaf pan and my pantry is not stocked very well. but my week is not complete without baking something… so here are the tweaks I made:
1. I baked this in a 9 inch pie pan. I had to cover the pan with aluminum foil for more than half the baking time so the top wouldn’t burn, but turned out fine.
2. Swapped pistachios with pecans, used 170g sugar, only had a rather hard ricotta (rather than smooth – not sure why, probably the brand I used), and replaced orange zest with orange liquor because that was all I had.
In the end, this was heavenly nonetheless. Just not as cannoli reminiscent as you might want it to be. Thanks Deb!
I made this on Saturday and took it in to work today(Monday). Not one of their favorites from Smitten Kitchen. Rather dry and too crumbly. Not like pound cake at all. Won’t be making it again.
Anyone else have recs for type of olive oil? I love the idea of this cake but anytime I bake with olive oil I’m disappointed in the taste… too powerful. Anyone make with canola oil?
America’s Test Kitchen recommended California Olive Ranch brand and I agree.
It tastes really good alone and it’s very reasonably priced.
If the olive oil taste is too strong, no reason you cannot swap 1/3 or 1/2 with a neutral oil like canola.
If EVOO is too strong, you can use light or extra light olive oil in recipes that call for olive oil as an ingredient.
I am allergic to both chocolate and nuts. Will it still be tasty w/o those ingredients??
I made this two days ago and it was a huge hit! This may be my new go-to recipe for visiting friends. It is easy to make, really flavourful and is a bit different from what people expect (around here anyway). And a fantastic benefit is that I now have most of a bottle of Marsala left over. Cheers!
Dear Readers, This is by far the best version of pound cake you will ever eat. But don’t take my word for it. When Deb says it’s good then you know you can’t go wrong. Don’t eat the cake the first day because it’s divine on the second day. I followed the recipe exactly and wouldn’t change a thing. Thank you again for such a steady stream of generous cookbooks and online recipes.
I made this for the first time today and it is wonderful! Then only change I made was to use Triple Sec and a 1/4 tsp of lemon oil in place of the Marsala, as I didnt have any. I sprinkled cinnamon and sugar over the top before baking. It’s exremely moist and a tender texture. I look forward to trying it again over the next day or two (if there is any left!) I have some leftover chocolate ganache from another time and will spread some over a piece tomorrow. My husband and I have already taken a big chunk our of the loaf. Thank you for another amazing recipe.
This is just simply DIVINE!!! I have already made my second loaf in a span of…2 maybe 3 days? I gave too much away and HAD to have more! My new favorite quick bread.
Made this morning with leftover ricotta (from an idea that didn’t work out)..I didn’t have the chips, zest, or nuts, but used some jarred peel, vanilla, and starbucks coffee liqueur (didn’t have marsala either) and it was still a big hit..not usually how I bake (I’m a recipe follower) but I couldn’t stand the idea of the store this morning. So thank you so much for another great recipe. I hope you’re having a nice 4th.
So, I made this, and everything worked out well until I turned out the loaf and…somehow burned as all get out!
I used the right size pan, but it is a copper one (a gift from a friend), as I do not have any other loaf pans. I haven’t ever used it before since I prefer free-form breads when I make them, so…am I just missing something here? When I checked it with about 20 to go I noticed the edges were going brown faster than the middle was cooking so I covered with tin foil and my top was saved but man, the rest of the outside is just bad (which is sad because the inside is so so good).
With copper pans should I lower the heat and increase the time or what? If it helps I have an electric stove. Help?
Love this cake and would really like to make it into mini loaves for gifting as a lot of others have suggested but I see two commenters who have baked mini loaves for two different lengths of time. Does anyone have a tried and true formula for converting a standard loaf into 4 small? Thanks!
I’ve made this twice. The first time without the allspice because I forgot to buy it and the 2nd time with it. Remember the allspice – it makes a world of difference. I don’t like cannoli, but love this recipe.
Just wanted you to know I have been making this cake since you first published it; my daughter turned 10 today and this is the cake she requested for her birthday cake. :) Also, whenever my daughters have friends over and they want to bake, this is the cake.
thanks for this!
ps- we all hate nuts in cake, so left those out- it works just fine without them
Made this last night. It is EXCELLENT! My family is raving about it. I told them I trust you with every recipe you have. You never disappoint! Thank you!
Ohhh I really want to make this now. BUT I need a way to do it egg-free. Egg allergy over here and it’s made baking a little more challenging.
Sara, try aquafaba? I haven’t experimented with it myself, but I always encounter people talking about it lately as an egg substitute in baking for vegans or those with egg allergies. A search should bring up a few articles. Good luck!
Do you think i could make this gluten free? Bobs Red Mill has a 1.1 gluten free flour.. I have been doing so well and then this comes along.. any thoughts as to how I can delve deep into a cannoli pound cake abyss and still have some self respect
I haven’t tried it but here are three comments from people who have made gluten-free substitutions:
I spaced out and picked up mascarpone instead of ricotta. Do I have to go back to the store or can I use it?
In the past when I faced with this kind of problem, I always googled “What is the best substitute for ?” or “Can I substitute for in cakes?” to get the info faster lol. Good luck!
No, it will be fine. Even more rich!
My question is should ricotta ,wine, eggs be room temp.
In my oven as I type, not quite a Super Bowl dessert, but, hell, I am a true Italian at heart and football schmootball! Hope it turns out since I am the dessert person!
It really looks so good in your picture!
I made it and am not nibbling because it’s going to my 100 year old mom and her caregiver but it looks and smells divine. Thank you Deb for another great innovative recipe! Can’t wait to make for myself and serve to others, maybe, with fresh whipped cream and berries. Thanks!
I made this as-is last night and loved it. Next time (and there will be a next time), I will add chopped, Marsala-soaked dried cherries in place of some of the chocolate chips. Thanks for all of your great recipes! I think that we share the same taste buds, Deb.
I made this exactly as written and LOVED IT. It got better and better every day! My almost 3 year old also enjoyed it. I would say this is now in the running for my favorite loaf along with your lemon pound cake and jacked up banana bread (coincidence they all have booze in them?!) All three are just excellent. Thank you Deb for your never ending fantastic recipes for all things baked!
This cake is extraordinary. I’ve made it several times, and each time I love it a little bit more. What a brilliant idea, and the recipe is perfect.
I don’t have any pistachios. Can I substitute walnuts?
Made today for my husband’s birthday- he loves cannolis. Took a lot longer to bake (well over an hour), but it was worth the wait! Like a cross between a coffee cake and a cannoli. Made it with part-skim ricotta (what I had), chardonnay, and lessened the zest a bit. Really delicious. Would definitely make again!
I want to make this in a round cake pan (8 or 9-inch) instead of a pound cake. How should I adjust the cooking time?
I was wondering about straining the ricotta…I see a lot of other recipes with ricotta doing it but don’t see it here…thoughts?
Made the Cake! Super moist and so much little chocolate chips! Layered with a ricotta cherry pistachio mousse and OMG! Soood good!! For sure next gathering (if there ever is one, thanks COVID) show stopper! Best part about quarantine is using up leftover supplies in the fridge though! So happy I only made that half batch lasagna!!
No need to. This isn’t cannoli filling, just a cake with those flavors.
Delicious! Not sure it will last until the second day. If you like things a little less sweet you could probably ease off to 3/4 c. chocolate chips.
Made this today. Whilst out shopping for ingredients, my eye wandered to the bulk food section and landed on dark chcolate covered dried cherries. “Why not?”, asked reptile brain of analytical mind and the answer came back, “Go for it!” Well, it was pretty close to illegal having so many delightful substances competing for attention. Even if you ca’t find chocolate covered cherries and have to ‘just’ use chocolate, the dance this does in your mouth will set the night on fire and keep the conversation going.
Wow, wow, WOW! Made this cake yesterday and it is terrific! I skipped the alcohol and it still has a wonderful flavor. I think the amount of mini chocolate chips is spot on and I found the lightly salted pistachios worked well. Mine took a bit longer than 1 hour to bake. I do love cannolis, but I wouldn’t say this is just like them. This cake is great in its own right.
This is my absolute favorite dessert to make that surprises and delights my guests every time. Super easy, hardly any dishes, subtle flavor and just complete perfection!!
In a pinch I use lemon juice and orange extract instead of zest and it comes out almost the same. My one major change is I do substitute Disarronno liquor for the Marsala since I always have it on hand and love the fragrant almond smell (I don’t use pistachios in this case).
Thank you Deb!!!
Made this for all the other teachers at the school I work at for a little pre-Christmas treat and congrats on getting through school-in-the-time-of-COVID and it disappeared before the second period. Everyone has been asking for the recipe. I couldn’t find any Marsala wine, so I just added white wine as you suggested. I don’t know if it added anything to the flavour, but the cake itself is so so good I wouldn’t mess with it :D Made sure to rub the zest into the sugar and it was a game-changer. The whole cake was beautifully perfumed with citrus instead of finding bits that were too overwhelming.
I recently made candied orange and lemon peel. How much should I chop up, to substitute for zest?
Love this idea. You could probably put 1/4 cup in here, maybe a little more.
Thank you for the quick response. I love your recipes, I have made quite a few. Thank you.
Do you think this would ship well? I live in CO and would love to make and send to my folks in NJ.
Yes, I think it could.
I’m imagining this recipe tweaked and turned into scones…yum.
This cake is so delicious! It has so much flavor and a nice crunchy top. It really does taste like a cannoli…
How many mini-loaf pans (the ones that are about 2.5” x 3.5”) would this recipe fill (I am SOOO not a baker)?
I was able to get 3 mini loves plus 2 cupcakes (not quite enough for a 4th loaf, well, plus I only have 3 pans)
This sounds amazing. I have to say I’ve never had a cannoli with pistachio’s in it and I worked in an Italian bakery at the age of 14 and come from a big Italian family. :)
Looks so yummy! What would be a good dairy-free substitute for the ricotta? Silken tofu? Vegan yogurt? Please advice!
I made this last year and everyone loved it! I’d like to make it again this year, but make it now and freeze a couple of cakes to give out on Christmas. Has anyone tried freezing them? How did they turn out?
Just made this for the second time in a month. Delicious! Does take a bit longer to bake than recipe states but I LOVE that it’s mixed in a bowl by hand. Easy cleanup.
I will be buying larger containers of ricotta now so I have extra on hand to whip this up. Threw in a bit of amaretto rather than the wine the second time around.
I made this in 4 mini loaf pans, and the outsides got very dark while the middle stayed gummy and underdone. I measured using a kitchen scale, and I wonder if one of the metric conversions was inaccurate.
Yummy!! Made it with king Aurther gluten feee flour. Orange peels grated, mini Ghiradeli chocolate chips, chopped pecans. Reduced sugar 3/4 cups and used part skim ricotta. Delicious moist and crusty outside!!
It’s 2020 but THIS is a winner! So,full disclosure, I’ve never eaten a cannoli. As a kid growing up in suburban NJ you’d think that’s impossible but somehow it just never happened. I’ve eyed them, just never tasted one. But now I understand. This cake tastes so special. I considered omitting the nuts. Maybe even do a batch without chips. But it tastes so special with them, like I’m that kid looking through the bakery case at them. So don’t skip the chocolate and nuts. I made mini loaves for holiday gifts, reduce bake time by 25%. And I used unsalted pistachios. I saw someone else ask salt or no salt but didn’t see an answer.
I made this for Christmas dessert. It is delicious. I used candied orange and lemon peels (that I had made) and chopped them up to tiny pieces. As suggested by Deb, I used 1/4 cup. The recipe is easy to follow. I Have never been disappointed with anything from Smitten Kitchen. Thank you Deb.
This was excellent! Made it as dessert for Christmas dinner.
I left out the wine and used 85% chocolate, and baked it for about 30-35 minutes in a 9×9 square pan, making for a somewhat thin cake.
Husband thought it was slightly too orangey and wanted more chocolate. I thought the orange was perfect (admittedly, my orange was quite large, but I loved the flavor), and that I could have reduced the amount of chocolate. But we both have been eating it up!
Just great with tea or coffee as well.
This was a lovely holiday treat. I reduced the amount of chocolate and zest then increased the amount of pistachios as some suggested and was happy with the result. Curiously though, while I normally prefer desserts on the less sweet side, I felt this cake could use more sugar! To compensate, I put loads of powdered sugar on top. I also tried frying some leftover slices with butter then finished with some sprinkled sugar on top – delicious for breakfast with coffee!
I think you will find the recipe, as written, is actually just the right sweetness.
Outstanding! I needed a loaf cake that was different than the Everyday Chocolate Cake, because we really can’t have that EVERY day :) So this Cannoli cake seemed perfect. When cake is made in a loaf pan, it feels reasonable to eat it throughout the day, like it’s banana bread (more snack, less dessert). Anyhow, I just had my first slice and it’s perfect. I replaced the wine with Grand Marnier and used a combo of chopped semi sweet chocolate chips and very dark chocolate discs (also chopped) – a scant cup. I left out the pistachios as I didn’t have any. An absolute make again. Thanks! Happy snacking!
I made this once a couple of years ago, and it’s been a while, and I decided to succumb to buying a 5 lb. tub of ricotta from the local restaurant supply store. After two lasagnas, one of which is in the freezer, there is still quite a bit left.
Has anyone here baked it in another format? How do you think this would be as a layer cake, maybe iced with bittersweet ganache? However inadvisable that might be from a dietary standpoint for a two-person household? I suppose I could make multiples of it as a loaf cake and freeze them, or even as cupcakes, but I am tempted to go all-out and leave wrapped slices on friends’ porches, in a socially distanced way…
I have this baking in the oven right now. While it smells amazing, 8 1/2-x-4 1/4″ is definitely too small. I was suspicious when the batter filled the pan to the brim, but a habit of following instructions over instinct made me ignore those thoughts! The only good thing I did was put a cookie sheet under the pan, where a bunch of drips have collected now. Hopefully it still bakes up okay, but it’s a pity I won’t have a company-worthy domed loaf.
I made this last weekend and it is fabulous. I had no problem with overflow and got a beautiful domed crispy top in my 8×4 pan. Every slice we had, my household raved about how good it is. I’m so glad the stars aligned and I ended up with all the necessary ingredients at the same time! Thanks, Deb!
This was the perfect dessert for a small gathering. Easy to make and can be made ahead. Will definitely make this again.
I made this last week, having stumbled on the recipe while looking for something else. Such a happy accident! The cake is fantastic, especially after it has sat overnight, as suggested. I used dry Marsala in the cake (it’s what I had) and also for a glaze suggested in another recipe, using granulated sugar and Marsala. This has become an instant to-be-repeated favorite in our house. Thank you!!
I have been eyeing this recipe for years and finally got around to making it. This was so moist straight out of the oven and, as mentioned, even more so the next day. I am not usually big on oranges, but it really elevated this for me, so don’t be tempted to skip it! Super creative and a real crowd-pleaser.
Hi. I want to make this later today. I only have salted pistachio though. It didn’t specify in the recipe. Also, my loaf pan is under 3 inches tall…. Not sure if that will work, I’m temped to use an 8 inch round pan instead.
Can you check how much it holds in cups of water? Mine holds 6 cups of water, full to the brim, but this cake only fills it about 3/4 of the way. Salted pistachios should be fine.
OH, thanks I just saw this reply! I didn’t test the capacity with water. Just did the 8 inch spring form pan and it was really perfect!
Excellent flavor, a very rich treat for desert!
Used olive oil as directed but I may substitute butter next time and see what happens. Sprinkled crystallized sugar on top before baking. Thanks Deb!
Well, I made it in an 8-inch spring form, and it was moist and delicious! YUMMY!
I don’t have enough pistachios. Can I substitute peanuts?
Very easy, and quite tasty. I used homemade candied orange peel for lemon zest and callebaut 70% chocolate instead of semi sweet chocolate chips. I also substituted walnuts in place of pistachios. Basically a quick bread but using rich ingredients. Not sure if the ricotta adds much, as I feel the moisture comes from the olive oil. A very satisfying, meal-in-itself dessert. Bring on the Covid weight gain! Thanks for sharing, Deb. The kitchen crush lives on…
Can you suggest how to convert this recipe to bake in a pan that turns out mini loaves?
Do you know how much volume each holds? I find mini-loaves aren’t standard-sized. :(
8 molds in the pan and the each holds 160g of water. Thank you 🙏🏻
My math tells me that your 8 together will hold just about (slightly, just slightly, less) than a regular loaf pan, like I use here. So, I’d divide this between the pockets, or between 7 of them, since this doesn’t fill the regular loaf pan to the top. Bake at same temperature; check at 15 minutes, then 20 if it needs longer, then maybe 22, 24… Good luck!
Works! First batch gifted to school teachers who loved them.
made this delicious cake and it was amazing, my little ones ages 3 & 6 loved it so much, they were just quietly eating it, thank you so much for all the time you spend to share such wonderful recipes!
I wanted to know if there’s a way to keep the crispy top crispy? do you think if I put it back in the oven the next day would be ok or would it dry it out?
I made this as written and used a scale to weigh ingredients. Baked it just until the toothpick came out clean. Cooled it per directions. Wrapped it in plastic and let it sit a day as suggested. The cake was dry and crumbled to bits. It would not slice. I guess I could add an egg white to help it bind and some more oil to make it moister. Would that help? Advice?
PS I also used an oven thermometer to ensure the oven was at the correct temperature throughout.
Hi Deb I came across this when searching for something else. I think ricotta is the best thing because you can eat it all the time, sweet, , savory, whatever.
My go to cannoli substitute is a pie crust made from those Nabisco chocolate wafers, filled with lemony sweet ricotta with teeny choc chips and tons of roasted pistachios on top. Trying the ricotta pound cake tomorrow,
Still a fantastic recipe in 2021! Made it just as described, EXCEPT no allspice so substituted a small pinch of freshly ground cloves and nutmeg. I made it for our first small dinner party in 2021 and everyone loved it. It really does have a cannoli flavor! Goes well with ice cream too. I was thinking next time spumoni! Too much?
The all-purpose flour can be substituted with almond flour? Any modifications to the recipe
No, it rarely is neat swap with big loaves like this, although here are two comments that mention almond flour:
If the concern is gluten, I’d use a gluten-free baking flour blend instead.
So delicious! Next time I’d skip the pistachios (they’re pricey, I’m lazy to chop them, and the chocolate chips already add crunch), but add a teaspoon or so of almond extract to still get the flavour.
I made this two days ago per recipe but with the addition of a handful (a very exacting measurement I know) of dried cherries, coarsely chopped and….oh so good. Made 4 mini loaves, approx. 3X5, baked for 45 minutes-will definitely make again!
Delicious as written! (did sub Grand Marnier because had no Marsala)
Today’s experiment: making this as a layer cake for my husband’s birthday! A double recipe as two 8″ layers with bittersweet ganache frosting. Wish me luck!
Thought this was amazing. I made them as mini loaves using 4 3/4″ x 2 3/4″ paper loaf pans. They came out perfectly at 40 mins.
Dare I say I love this more than cannoli itself?! I made this last night for our New Years Eve dinner and it turned out great! I made mini loaves to give to my neighbors to prevent us from eating it all up. Will definitely make this again! Thank you for sharing!!
Can I substitute EVOO for olive oil?
Thanks, looking forward to trying it on the weekend.
Cannot wait to make this ~ sounds wonderful and I am forever making new recipes during this whole Covid deal. One thing…the new print tab does not function well on an iPad…it used to work great…not so much now though.
We also had to buy a huge tub of ricotta for our New Year’s lasagna because it was all they had at the store and now I know what we’ll be using the extra for!
This is in the oven now. First time making it–and I followed as written except for subbing in GF cup-for-cup flour by weight. Fingers crossed!
This is worth making JUST for the part when you blend the zests with the sugar. It made my day.
Wow Deb this is a winner! So tender and moist with the ricotta, and the loveliest crumb. The pistachios add a great bit of crunch and the zests give lovely flavour. Maybe – just maybe – would cut down the 1 cup of sugar a tiniest bit as the 1 cup of chocolate also added to the sweetness. I made 3 small loaves in mini loaf pans and there was a lovely ‘dome’ on them.
This is delicious and I will make again soon. The right amount of chocolate and citrus zest. The only substitution was using skim milk ricotta as that is all that was available at my grocery store and it worked fine. Lovely crumb and perfect balance of flavor.
I loved this pound cake. I made it for the first time today and will definitely make it again. The citrus zest, bittersweet chocolate, and pistachio made this a wonderfully fragrant pound cake. Definitely one my favorite recipes!
I made this today with half the amount of chocolate (chopped) and about 3/4 the amount of sugar it was delicious and very chocolatey! I tried to unmold it before the recommended 15 minutes (out of impatience) and paid the price with part of it breaking off, but I was able to stick it back together and I don’t think anyone will care.
This cake was easy to make and came out beautifully, and the kitchen smelled amazing while it was baking. Thank you for a great recipe!
I used 3 medium eggs, salted pistachios, a bit of nutmeg instead of allspice, a splash of moscato, and just 100 g chocolate chips. Baked in a round springform pan for about 25 minutes at 165 C in a convection oven.
Although the cake was delicious, we found the chocolate to be overpowering. I would have liked more citrus and pistachio flavor, but it was mostly a chocolate chip cake. Next time I would reduce the chocolate even more to maybe 50 g (and maybe just sprinkle them on top) and add more pistachios.
So good and easy I made it a second time, this time with 50 g of chocolate chips, and for us it was perfect. Like many Italian recipes, just one bowl and the right combination of fresh ingredients produces an amazing result.
I live in Italy next door to my in-laws, and in 8 years this is probably the first dessert I made that they really enjoyed. I gave them half and they ate it all in one day, which is a huge compliment.
I give you credit for not dropping the fact that you *actually live in Italy!* the first time you commented. Which makes it even more amazing that the in-laws loved it and ate it all in one day. Yay!
PS my American palate loves *all* of the chocolate, but now you make me want to try less, for the more nuanced flavors.
This was utterly fantastic! As soon as I saw it had orange and lemon zest, I knew I had to make it. My husband and I love it. This is day one so I hope we don’t finish it so we can see how great it is the next day. Thank you so much for sharing this.
I baked this in a 9” springform pan for the same time and it was perfect!
Man this is good! I’ve made it a few times. The flavor is so layered and amazing! I only have a 9x5x3 loaf pan, so the edges get dark and hard before the middle cooks. How can I adapt it to that size pan so it doesn’t get burnt on the edges? Or would another type pan work-8×8 square, muffin tin? But if not, this is so good, it might be worth purchasing the right size pan!
This cake is absolutely incredible! The citrus, the chocolate, the pistachios; so much flavor. In our oven it takes about 65-70 minutes to bake. I agree, it does taste better the second day!
I love this cake. I mean, I love most any cake but I have particular affection for any cake that can just as easily be breakfast as the perfect way to end a Sunday gravy & homemade pasta dinner. I had a bar of dark chocolate and roughly chopped that instead of using mini chocolate chips which made for an excellent “artisan” effect.
I’ve made this twice and it’s going to be a regular in my home! This is fantastic. The first time I made it when company was coming and everyone loved it. The second time my husband kept asking me to make it again. To tell you the truth, I could easily eat the whole thing myself. I omit the chocolate. Thank you so much for sharing this great recipe.
Made the cannoli loaf last night & WOW! Fortunately I made 2, so we’ll have one to look forward to in a couple weeks. The flavors are sophisticated and a beautiful combination. I scaled ingredients as written, with the exception of zests. I used 1 lemon instead of 2.
I would serve this to dinner guests & top w/ Grand Marné flavored whipped cream.
I started the cake by zesting the lemon and orange into the sugar. I don’t have time to finish the cake this evening. Is there any reason to refrigerate the orange/lemon sugar until tomorrow?
Would it be weird to use a Bundt pan?
No, but you’ll want to double the recipe.
this cake is SO GOOD. I added cardamom (1/2 tsp), which i know Deb would never, and it’s just incredible. we can’t stop eating it. i would say the crumb reminds me more of banana or other quick breads rather than pound cake, but i don’t care it’s amazing. highly recommend and will be making it again for sure!
note to self — in the small oven, try lowering temperature further for a more even bake: 325?
This is my favorite, I bake it often! And it is requested more often. My only call out is “its better the second or third day.” It never ever makes it that far.
Q: has anyone tried adding dried fruit to this cake?
I love this cake especially at Christmas time and each year I make several of them (either single or double Bundt style) as holiday gifts for various departments we work in.
I have some dried apricots and cherries left from another recipe, seems like they would be a yummy addition and make the cake even more festive.
So I’m making this with what I have on hand. Valhrona dark chocolate and toasted pecans. We shall see but it smells heavenly.