Cassata Siciliana

Cassata Siciliana

Spring in Sicily
Simon Griffiths

Sponge cake


Quantity Ingredient
3 organic eggs
120g caster sugar
150g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
1 organic lemon, zested
2 tablespoons hot water

Ricotta filling

Quantity Ingredient
800g fresh ricotta
300g caster sugar
3 tablespoons good marsala
100g dark chocolate, chopped into little pieces
100g candied fruit, optional


Quantity Ingredient
200g ground almonds
200g icing sugar
2 teaspoons orange-blossom water or rose water
1 drop green food colouring
50ml water


Quantity Ingredient
candied fruit, optional
melted dark or white chocolate, optional


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line a 30 x 20 cm rectangular cake tin with greaseproof paper then butter the paper generously.
  2. To make the sponge, beat the eggs until light and fluffy then, still beating, gradually add the sugar. Slowly mix in the flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest, followed by the water. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Cook for about 8 minutes, or until firm to the touch.
  3. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning onto a cake rack. When cold, carefully cut the sponge horizontally through the centre, creating 2 thin slices. Then cut out 2 x 21 cm circles and cut the rest of the sponge into wide strips.
  4. Line the base and sides of a 22 cm springform cake tin with greaseproof paper. Arrange one sponge circle in the bottom of the cake tin and neatly line the sides with the strips of cake so there are no gaps.
  5. To make the ricotta filling, beat the ricotta with the sugar and marsala until smooth. Fold in the chocolate and candied fruit, if using. Spoon the filling into the sponge-lined cake tin. Place the remaining sponge circle on top and press gently. Transfer to the refrigerator for a few hours or, better still, overnight.
  6. To make the marzipan, combine the ground almonds, icing sugar, flower water and food colouring with just enough water to form a stiff paste. Roll out the marzipan to 1 cm thickness. Turn the cassata out onto a serving plate and cover with marzipan. Decorate with more candied fruit or patterns in melted chocolate.
Spring in Sicily
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