This dessert looks fabulous, tastes delicious but is incredibly quick and easy to make. My deconstructed take on Cassata Siciliana. A festive, much loved but elaborate celebration cake. It’s Sunday and not wanting to spend my day in the kitchen, I’ve simply borrowed its key components. A light and airy vanilla sponge. A sweet ricotta filling. Studded with nuggets of candied citrus and dark chocolate. Surprisingly straightforward to adapt into a sweet roulade. Nothing more than a thin sheet of vanilla sponge, rolled and filled with a ricotta cream.
The vanilla sponge can be whipped up in no time at all from basic pantry ingredients. It needs just 10 minutes or so in a hot oven. Once cooled it can be rolled and filled with just about anything. Jam and cream, fruit puree or even ice cream. Today I’ve chosen a cassata cream.
A Sweet Roulade Filled With Cassata Cream
For the Sponge
80g (1/3 cup) caster sugar, plus extra for finishing
1 tablespoon warm water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
80g (a little over 1/2 cup) plain flour
PREHEAT oven to 190 C. Grease and line the base of the 22 x 33 cm Swiss roll or small roasting tin with baking paper.
WHISK the eggs, vanilla and caster sugar together in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer until the mixture is pale, light and fluffy.
FOLD in warm water with a metal spoon. This should help prevent the sponge from cracking when you roll it later.
SIFT over the flour and salt and fold into the mixture using a large metal spoon. Avoid over mixing as this will knock the air out of the sponge.
POUR the mixture gently into the prepared tin. Smooth with a palette knife or back of a large spoon.
BAKE in hot oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the centre of the cake is slightly springy and the edges have shrunk a little from the sides of the tin.
REMOVE the sponge from the oven and turn out over a large sheet of baking paper sprinkled evenly with caster sugar. This sheet of baking paper will be used as a guide to lift and roll the roulade. The sugar will help prevent the cake from sticking to the paper as it cools.
LEAVE to cool for ten minutes then carefully remove the tin and its lining paper from the top of the cake, and leave to cool completely. Place a slightly damp, clean tea towel over the cake while it cools to help prevent it drying out and cracking when you roll it.
For the Cassata Cream
400g fresh ricotta
55g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon finely grated orange rind
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
50g dark chocolate, finely chopped
50g candied orange peel, finely chopped
USING an electric mixer beat the ricotta, heavy cream, sugar, orange rind and orange juice in a small bowl until smooth.
STIR in the chocolate, and orange peel. Set aside.
To Assemble the Roulade
SPREAD cassata cream in an even layer over the sponge cake leaving a centimetre or two around the edges to ensure the filling doesn’t ooze out the sides when rolled.
WITH the shortest side facing you, begin to roll up the sponge as tightly as possible, using the sugared sheet of baking paper to lift and roll.
ONCE rolled transfer the roulade to a serving platter ensuring the join is underneath. Decorate with candied orange peel. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
I have not seen this dessert in 30 years. What a great interpretation.