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Sicilian rum cake (Cassata)

Sicilian rum cake (Cassata)
Los Angeles Times

DEAR SOS: My Italian grandmother always fixed cassata for family gatherings. When she died, we expected our mother to carry on the tradition, but though she enjoyed her mother's cassata, she never learned to make it. I would be grateful ... Read more

Active work time: 30 minutes | Total preparation time: 1 hour, plus 1 hour chilling | Serves 8 to 10


  • Butter, for preparing pan
  • 3/4 cup unbleached flour, plus more for preparing pan
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Dash salt
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, at room temperature

Step 1Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

Step 2Combine the egg yolks and 3/4 cup sugar in a mixing bowl, whisking until thick and light. Stir in the vanilla.

Step 3Beat the egg whites and salt until they form soft peaks. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and beat until glossy, 15 to 20 seconds.

Step 4Incorporate 1/3 of the whites into the yolk mixture. Sift 1/4 cup of the flour over the mixture and fold it in. Repeat, folding in whites and flour, until the last flour is nearly incorporated. Fold in the butter.

Step 5Pour the batter into the pan. Bake just until the cake pulls away from the pan, 30 minutes. Cool slightly before unmolding.


  • 1 (9-inch) spongecake
  • 1/4 cup light rum
  • 1/2 cup chopped candied fruits, such as orange, lemon and pineapple
  • 1 1/2 pounds ricotta cheese (2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, grated
  • Cocoa powder, for garnish
  • 6 candied cherries, sliced, for garnish

Step 1Cut the spongecake into 3 layers. Pour rum over the candied fruits.

Step 2Beat the cheese, powdered sugar, cinnamon and almond extract until creamy, about 2 minutes. Drain the fruit and stir it in, along with the chocolate, blending well.

Step 3Place 1 cake layer on a large cake plate and spread with 1/3 of the filling. Top with the second layer and spread with 1/3 of the filling. Top with the remaining layer and spread the remaining filling over top. Sprinkle with cocoa powder and garnish with the cherries. Chill 1 hour.

Note: For a 2-layer cake, cut the cake in half. This spongecake is adapted from "The New Basics Cookbook" by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins (Workman, 1989).



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