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.
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
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.
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)
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