Caѕѕata is a traditional sícílíαn cake that originated in Palermo and the surrounding area. Cαѕѕata began as an Easter ritual, but, like so many other delicious ɪᴛᴀʟɪᴀɴn dishes, it is now enjoyed throughout the year. Local sícílíαn bakeries proudly show their versions of this famous cake in the front window or on the counter in a particular place of honor. The word “display” is more correct in this situation here, because Cαѕѕata is the epitome of Baroque desserts.
The Caѕѕata is customarily embellished with jewel-toned candíєd fruits, curlicues, swirls, and dots of royal icing and covered in pale green Marzipan, most likely created from Sicily’s own almond crop. If you don’t want to use marzipan, you can try some other recipes for new experiences.
But today, just stick with this recipe!
This delicious cαѕѕata can be made up to a day ahead of time. It’s a little time-consuming but a lot of fun to make, and the effort and incredible effect are well worth it. You may buy a ready-made sponge to make things a little easier.
For the sponge
1 2/3 cups plain flour
6 small eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup caster sugar
2 tsp baking powder
For the filling
280g unsalted goat’s curd
30g good-quality, 55% dark chocolate, finely grated
950g firm ricotta
200g caster sugar
450g mixed glacé, candíєd and dried fruit, chopped
marsala, for brushing
few drops green food colouring
pure icing sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Line a 24cm x 34cm x 5cm-deep cake tin with baking paper.
With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat eggs and sugar until the mixture looks thick, pale, and tripled in volume. In a separate bowl, sift the flour and baking powder, mix well, then fold in three batches into the egg mixture.
Spoon into the prepared cake tin, smooth the top, and bake for 20 – 30 minutes, or until brown and springy to the touch. Allow to fully cool to room temperature.
In a food processor, blend ricotta and sugar until smooth, then add goat’s curd, pulse to incorporate, then stir in chocolate, pulse to combine. Leave aside.
Wrap cling wrap around a 22cm springform cake pan, leaving the edges hanging over the sides. Roll out 320g marzipan into a 35cm-diameter circle on a sheet of baking paper sprinkled with icing sugar. Marzipan should be used to line the base and sides of the cake tin, and the edges should dangle over the sides.
Trim the sponge’s top and edges to make it level. Cut a 22cm-diameter circle from each half of the sponge after halving the cake horizontally. Make 4.5cm x 3cm blocks with the leftover sponge. Trim one sponge round to fit in a marzipan-lined tin if necessary. Brush marsala all over the sponge after placing sponge blocks around the edge.
Pour in ricotta mixture and use a spoon to smooth the top. Place a second sponge layer on it, then brush with marsala. Trim the marzipan, wrap the cake in cling wrap, and weigh it down with food cans on a flat dish. Refrigerate for at least one night.
Remove the cans, plate, and cake tin’s outer ring. Remove the cling film from the cαѕѕata and invert the cake onto a plate.
To make the remaining marzipan a delicate green, add a few drops of food coloring. Knead lightly to soften, then roll out to 35cm x 12cm x 2mm thick on icing sugar-dusted baking paper. Cut each strip into two 35cm x 6cm strips, then press them against the sides of the cake, pushing the edges together to seal.
In a bowl, combine the chopped fruit and sprinkle over the cake; cut the cake into suitable pieces and enjoy.
Leftovers can be covered and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days.