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Recipes & Food Styling

Cassata Siciliana, at Easter, or any time of year!

Cassata Siciliana takes center stage at Easter, but this colorful, festive cake is a special party highlight any time of year, and particularly when a favorite Italian friend has a birthday or other day to celebrate!

Cassata Siciliana brings a slice of 16th century Italy to the party. There is the story of how, in 1574, the Sicilian village of Mazara del Vallo banished the dessert during Holy Week after the beautiful treat distracted a group of nuns from their prayers. 

Theirs was a more primitive version of the dessert. In the 1800s, Palermo baker Salvatore Guli is believed to have fashioned today’s take on Cassata Siciliana by including marzipan fruits like the ones made by the nuns at nearby Martorana Convent.   

Decorated with baroque scrolls, cheerful green marzipan and decadent candied cherries and pineapple chunks, the cake looks as distinctive as its delicious history.    

Cassata Siciliana

You will need:

Ingredients for the LadyBaltimore Cake linked below

1 pound “holiday green”-colored marzipan 

1/2 cup white royal icing 

Using the Lady Baltimore Cake recipe, make 2 round, 10-inch sponge cakes. Optional: Soak the cakes in brandy for 10 minutes.

After the cakes cool, use a serated knife to remove the top edge of the top cake, on an angle. This will create a dome shape for the cake.

Divide the marzipan into 6 pieces. Place each piece between 2 sheets of saran wrap, wax paper or parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, roll each piece to about 1/8-inch thick. Place the pieces together between the papers, and roll them together into one single piece, 16 inches by 10 inches. Using a straight edge, trim the the top and bottom of the marzipan. 

Ricotta Cheese Filling 

16 ounces ricotta cheese

16 ounces candied cherries and pineapple

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon sugar

In a bowl, mix all of the ingredients together.

Spread the ricotta filling on top of the bottom cake, and place the top cake on top.

Cut the marzipan  in half in the middle, lengthwise, and gently lift each piece and place it over the cake and trim in a circle at the top.

Fill the circle with the icing.

Arrange candied fruits on top of the icing.

Keep in refrigerator.