Extravagant, rich and absolutely gorgeous, just how I like my men – oops sorry I mean cakes!
A less extravagant but equally delicious version of Cassata alla Siciliana. The traditional version would have a layer of marzipan covered with a colourful, decorative icing and topped with slices of candid fruits.
This simpler version can be made rectangular or round but needs to be started at least one day in advance to allow the filling and icing to set.
450 g ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons double cream
56 g castor sugar
2 ½ tablespoons orange flavoured liqueur
2 tablespoons mixed candied fruit, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon pistachio nuts, chopped
56 g plain chocolate, coarsely grated
450 g Madeira cake
340 g plain chocolate, cut into small pieces
190 ml black coffee
225 g butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
With the back of a wooden spoon, press the ricotta through a sieve into a medium sized bowl.
Beat or whisk the ricotta until smooth, then add the cream, sugar and liqueur, beating until well mixed and creamy.
Fold in the candied fruit, pistachios and chocolate.
Place the mixture in the fridge for 20 minutes, or until spreadable.
Cut a piece of foil one and a half times the size of the cake.
Using a sharp knife, cut the cake lengthways into four layers.
Place the bottom layer of cake in the centre of the foil and spread with 1/3 rd of the ricotta mixture.
Repeat with the remaining layers of cake and ricotta, ending with a layer of cake. Gently press the loaf together.
Wrap the cake in the foil and place in the fridge for 3 hours until firm.
About an hour before the cake is ready make the icing.
In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate with the coffee over a low heat, stirring continuously until the chocolate has completely melted.
Remove from the heat then drop in the butter, one piece at a time, beating until all the butter has melted and the sauce is smooth.
Pour the icing into a bowl and place in the fridge for 30 mins – 1 hour, until it is a soft but spreadable consistency.
Swirl the icing thickly over the top and sides of the cake. Chill for at least 12 hours before serving.