Tuesday, May 04, 2010
Cassata alla Siciliana (Sicilian Cheese and Chocolate Cake) Gourmet October 1972
Pardon my enthusiastic vulgarity...this cake kicked ass. Oh yes it did. I changed some of the candied fruits around because I live with a citrus hater, but it was still delicious. I also used sieved full-fat cottage cheese instead of ricotta-because that was what I had. It still kicked ass. Have I mentioned how amazingly delicious this cake is? Oh, it is.
The only "downside" to this cake, and really I don't consider it a real problem, is that it takes two days to make. Don't try to rush it along. Take your time, and the rewards will be a beautiful cake that gets better after a couple days in the fridge.
For the cake:
6 egg yolks at room temperature
6 egg whites at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated orange rind
1 cup sifted AP flour
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a loaf pan 11x41/2x23/4.
Beat egg yolks with sugar until they form the ribbon and are very light. Beat in the water, and orange rind. Slowly, beat in the flour.
In another bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until frothy. Slowly add the sifted confectioner's sugar and keep beating until whites are stiff and glossy and hold peaks. Add 1/4 of the whites to the yolk mixture. Fold in carefully. Pour egg mixture over remaining whites and fold again, gently until no white traces remain. Gently pour into the prepared pan.
Bake 35-40 minutes or until lightly browned and cake tests done. The top may split, don't be concerned about that. Cool 5 minutes in pan (it may sink a bit, also OK) and remove to cool completely on a rack. Make the filling.
For the filling:
sieve 1 lb. of full fat ricotta (I used cottage cheese) and beat in 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar. Add 2 tablespoons sour cream, and 2 tablespoons orange liquor (I used vanilla extract and orange blossom water). Beat well with an electric mixer. Add 1/4 cup each candied fruit (I used cherries and raisins) and toasted almonds (I omitted these). Mix well. Mix in 2 tablespoons finely shaved bittersweet chocolate. Chill for 1 hour (at least)
When cake is cool, slice horizontally in 4 sections (I did 3) and fill with ricotta filling. Wrap tightly in cling film and chill at least 4 hours. I let mine go over night. Before proceeding the next day, I gave it 30 minutes in the freezer, which made trimming it much easier.
Trim uneven parts of cake, and prepare frosting:
Melt 8 ounces mocha bars (I had no idea, so I used bittersweet chocolate) chopped fine with 1/2 cup strong coffee in a double boiler (I just used a heavy pan). Remove from heat when smooth, add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and slowly, with a wooden spoon beat in 3/4 cup unsalted butter. At the end, whisk to make sure it is smooth. Remove to a mixing bowl and chill 30 minutes.
Beat at high speed for a few minutes (about 3-4) until it reaches a spreading consistency. Frost cake and decorate as you like (I used melted chocolate because I suck with a pastry bag). Chill several hours again before serving.