Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cannoli Cupcakes - A taste of Italy

The second cupcake inspired by my trip to Italy is a Cannoli Cupcake.  I discovered Cannoli's when I moved to New York City after I graduated from college.  Ferrara's in Little Italy was a favorite place to enjoy these delicious Italian pastries. 
Cannoli are Sicilian pastry desserts. The singular is cannolo, meaning "little tube". Cannoli originated in Sicily and are an essential part of Sicilian cuisine. They are also popular in Italian American cuisine and in the United States are known as a general Italian pastry, while they are specifically Sicilian in origin. In Italy they are commonly known as "cannoli siciliani", Sicilian cannoli.

Cannoli consist of tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough, filled with a sweet, creamy filling usually containing ricotta cheese. They range in size from "cannulicchi", no bigger than a finger, to the fist-sized proportions typically found in Piana degli Albanesi, south of Palermo, Sicily.

These little pastries are a bit of Italian heaven and so are these Cannoli Cupcakes.
Cannoli Cupcakes
recipe adapted from Sugarcrafter
Bake at 375 degrees
Makes 24 Cupcakes

2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon Marsala wine
1 cup milk
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line two cupcake pans with cupcake wrappers; set aside.

Combine all of the dry cake ingredients together in a medium bowl. In a different, larger bowl, mix together the butter, eggs, vanilla, Marsala wine, and milk. Add in the ricotta cheese, orange zest, and powdered sugar to the wet ingredients and then add in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined.

Pour the batter into cupcake liners, 24 in total. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the muffin pans to a cooling rack. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the cannoli filling.
Cannoli filling:
1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon zest of one orange
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, chopped fine

To make the cannoli filling, stir together the ricotta cheese and confectioners' sugar by hand using a spoon. Do not use a mixer. Fold in the orange zest and chopped chocolate.

When the cupcakes are cool, cut out the middles of each cupcake and using a pastry bag, pipe the cannoli filling into each cupcake, about 1 heaping tablespoon. After all the cupcakes have been filled, make the buttercream frosting.
Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting:
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar (10 ounces)
Pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 cup pistachios, chopped for garnish

In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Using a paring knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean into butter and beat mixture at medium-high speed to combine, about 15 seconds.

Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully incorporated, about 30 seconds; scrape bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 20 seconds, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice. Place the filling into a pastry bag and pipe the frosting on to the filled cupcakes as desired. Garnish with chopped pistachios. If you like your frosting piled high (like I do) double this recipe.
* If not serving right away, store chilled since the filling involves ricotta cheese. These cupcakes will hold at room temp for up to 4 hours safely



  1. These look amazingly good! I have been to Ferrara's many times! I actually ate a cannoli there, took a cab back up to east midtown and then had to have another cannoli so badly that I took a cab back down to Ferrar's late that same night!

    1. I know exactly what you mean Tiffany. Anytime I made the trip to Ferrara's I always bought a half dozen Cannoli to take home. Enjoy!

  2. Thanks for the comment on my blog! :) I was JUST looking to make Cannoli cupcakes! I will definitely be trying out this recipe, thanks for the link.


  3. Hello,
    Thanks for the Cannoli Cupcakes recipe.
    I'll create one for sure, my kids are gonna like it :)
    If you don't mind, can you submit your Cannoli Cupcakes photo in http://www.foodporn.net ?
    It's a food photography site full of all DIY food pictures from members around the world. Or perhaps you'd like to submit by yourself? Let me know when you did, so I can share it.

  4. I'm thinking about making these for my mom's birthday. However we never have alcohol in the house. Any suggestions for replacing the wine or can it be omitted?

    1. Greetings Kim,

      The Marsal does impart a flavor to the cupcakes to make them taste more like Cannoli. You could try the following substitution:

      Non-Alcoholic Marsala Substitute

      Although most of the alcohol is evaporated during the cooking process, some people prefer to cook without using Marsala due to its alcohol content. According to the Reluctant Gourmet, you can use this non-alcoholic substitute:

      •1/4 cup of white grape juice
      •1 tablespoon vanilla extract
      •2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar

      Good luck and Happy Birthday to your Mom!

      Linda Jean

  5. Great! Love this one. Looks very delicious.=D
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  6. those cupcakes are piece of art :D look better than in Cupcakeria cupcake cooking game < 333