About this recipe:This is one of my favourite desserts to make for company in the spring. It’s easy with store-bought sponge cake and it looks like it took hours to prepare with the candied fruit/ricotta filling and green tinted marzipan covering. Some variations use gelato instead of ricotta, but I prefer it best with ricotta.
1 ready-made sponge cake
4½ tablespoons sweet Marsala
350g ricotta cheese
75 g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
100g mixed candied fruit
50 g chopped dark chocolate
Green food colouring
2½ tablespoons apricot, strawberry or raspberry jam
100-125g icing sugar
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Method Prep:45min › Ready in:45min
Line a 20 cm round cake tin with sloping sides (I use a moule à manqué.) with plastic wrap. Cut the sponge cake into thin slices (about 5mm) to line the tin (bottom and sides), reserving enough pieces to cover the top. Fit the slices of cake carefully into the tin (Make sure there are no gaps!). Brush the Marsala over the cake in the tin, reserving a little for the top.
Put the ricotta in a bowl and beat until smooth. Add the sugar and vanilla and mix well. Then mix in the candied fruit and chocolate. Spoon the mixture into the mould. Smooth the surface and cover it with the remaining slices of sponge cake. Cover with plastic wrap and press the top down hard. Put the cassata in the freezer for 15 minutes, then unmould onto a plate.
Meanwhile, knead enough green food colouring into the marzipan to tint it light green. Roll out the marzipan in a circle until it large enough to completely cover the top and sides of the cassata. Melt the jam in a saucepan and brush over the cassata. Position the marzipan over the top and trim it to fit around the edge.
Melt the icing sugar with a little hot water to make a smooth icing that will spread easily. Drizzle the icing over the top in a crosshatch pattern and serve immediately.