If you’ve never had a cannoli, I highly recommend you try one the next time you have the opportunity. These crispy, pastry tubes are filled with a sweet ricotta cheese mixture kissed with a little Marsala wine that often also includes citrus peels, chocolate chips, chopped pistachios and even a maraschino cherry to put them over the top. In applying the flavors of a cannoli into a cupcake, I was fortunate enough to come across Sugarcrafter’s blog where she made a recipe for cannoli cupcakes.
recipe adapted from Sugarcrafter
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon Marsala wine
1 cup milk
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line two muffin pans with cupcake wrappers; set aside.
Combine all of the dry cake ingredients together in a medium bowl. In a different, larger bowl, mix together the butter, eggs, vanilla, Marsala wine, and milk. Add in the ricotta cheese, orange zest, and powdered sugar to the wet ingredients and then add in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined.
Pour the batter into cupcake liners, 24 in total. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the muffin pans to a cooling rack. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the cannoli filling.
When the cupcakes are cool, cut out the middles of each cupcake and using a pastry bag, pipe the cannoli filling into each cupcake, about 1 heaping tablespoon.After all the cupcakes have been filled, make the buttercream frosting.
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar (10 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 cup pistachios, chopped for garnish
In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Using a paring knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean into butter and beat mixture at medium-high speed to combine, about 15 seconds.
Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully incorporated, about 30 seconds; scrape bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 20 seconds, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice. Pipe the filling into a pastry bag and frost the filled cupcakes as desired. Garnish with chopped pistachios.
* If not serving right away, store chilled since the filling involves ricotta cheese. These cupcakes will hold at room temp for up to 4 hours safely.