This cannoli cake features moist vanilla cake with tangy cannoli frosting and tons of chocolate chips. It really does taste like a cannoli in cake form!
If you love this Italian bakery treat too you are going to go crazy over this cannoli cake. One bite, and you’ll be amazed by the combination of flavors. The moist vanilla layered cake perfectly complements the rich mascarpone filling. So stunning and it is surprisingly easy to make.
It is sure to be a hit for your guests at a dinner party. It has even been known to win over Italian Grandma’s. If you know a cannoli lover you HAVE to make them this birthday cake for their special day. SO good!
To take things over the top as we do here, I put actual cannoli on top. Not required, but encouraged! You could also just use the crumbled shells as a topping too for some crunch.
What Are Cannoli?
Cannoli are an Italian dessert pastry that was originally made in Sicily. They consist of a fried pastry shell that is filled with a sweet and creamy filling that is usually made with ricotta cheese. They can have various toppings as well such as chocolate chips or pistachios.
- Vanilla Cake Mix
- Milk: Using milk instead of water leads to a tender and moist cake.
- Butter: Using butter instead of oil gives our cake a richer flavor.
For the Marscapone Frosting:
- Marscapone: Mascarpone is a cheese that is similar to cream cheese. However, it has a higher fat content than traditional cream cheese which gives it a richer and creamier taste. If you can not find mascarpone cheese at your local grocery store, you can use full-fat cream cheese instead.
- Powdered Sugar
For the Ganache:
- Chocolate Chips
- Heavy Cream
How To Make Cannoli Cake
For the Cake
- Prep Work: Preheat oven and grease pans.
- Mix: Combine all ingredients. Pour into pan.
- Bake: Bake for 25-30 minutes.
For the Frosting and Ganache
- Frosting: Combine all ingredients until light and fluffy.
- Ganache: Heat heavy cream. Pour over chocolate chips and stir.
Putting It All Together
- Spread around 1 cup of frosting on top of one cake layer. Sprinkle with chocolate chips.
- Repeat with the remaining layers. Spread frosting on top of the last year and down the sides.
- Top with chocolate chips, and drizzle with ganache.
- Pipe remaining frosting on the top of the cake using a star tip.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How To Store
Because of the mascarpone cheese be sure to store this cake in the fridge.
2. How Long Will It Last?
When stored properly, this cake lasts for about 4-5 days. Be sure it is covered tightly so it doesn’t get stale.
3. Can You Freeze It?
You can almost always freeze cake. I like to cut the cake into slices before freezing it. Then place it on a plate or a baking sheet. This freezes the frosting before you wrap it with plastic wrap. This keeps the icing from getting stuck to the plastic. Finally, freeze in a Tupperware bowl until you’re ready to eat it. Thaw before enjoying.
4. Can You Make It Ahead?
If you want to make this cake ahead, you can. I suggest no more than a day or 2 in advance. While the cake will last for 4-5 days, it will taste the best when it is eaten soon after it is made.
`1. Chocolate: Use chocolate cake mix, and add cocoa powder to the frosting for a chocolate lover’s treat.
2. Use pistachios instead of chocolate chips on the outside of the cake for a salty crunch.
3. Add a fruity twist by using the zest of a lemon or orange in the cake mix, and frosting.
Tips and Tricks
- Flat Layers: The best way to bake a flat cake layer is to use homemade or store-bought cake strips. You also want to make sure the cake batter is even in the cake pan, and the pan is level. If you don’t want to use these, you can use a cake leveler to cut flat layers instead. If you do not have a cake leveler, you can use a serrated knife in a pinch.
- Don’t Over Mix: Over mixing will lead to a tough chewy cake. Mix until the ingredients are just combined. You want to see the cake mix incorporated enough that you don’t see white patches in your wet ingredients.
- Do Not Over Bake: Overbaking leads to a dry cake. Keep cakes moist by baking until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with just a few crumbs attached.
- Don’t Peek: Try not to peek no matter how good your house smells. Opening the oven door will lower the temp. and affect baking time.
- Grease Your Pans: Don’t skip this step. Pam Baking Spray includes oil and flour. It is my go-to for getting cakes out of the pan and perfect every time.
More Desserts To Try
For the Cake
- 2 Boxes French Vanilla Cake Mix
- 6 Eggs
- 2 Cups Whole Milk
- 1 Cup Butter Softened
For the Mascarpone Frosting
For the Chocolate Ganache
- 1 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
- ½ Cup Heavy Cream
- 6 Chocolate Chip Cannoli Halved, If Desired
For the Cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray (3) 9 inch round cake pans with baking spray. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, milk, and butter. Mix until just combined. Do not overmix.
- Evenly divide batter between prepared pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool completely. Then cut off cake domes using a leveler.
For the Mascarpone Frosting:
- In a large bowl, combine marscapone cheese,powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt.
For the Ganache
- In a small saucepan, heat heavy cream until it almost boils. Pour over chocolate chips. Stir until combined.
Putting It All Together
- Add around 1 cup of frosting onto the first cake layer. Sprinkle with ~¼ cup of mini chocolate chips.
- Repeat with remaining layers. Spread frosting over the top of the last layer, and down the sides as well.
- Coat sides of cake with remaining chocolate chips.
- Drizzle the ganache over the sides of the cake using a squeeze bottle.
- Pipe remaining frosting on top of cake.