This dramatic four-layer dessert is inspired by the flavors of Sicilian-style cannoli, which is stuffed with ricotta, chopped chocolate, and candied orange zest. 

Martha Stewart Living, May 2017


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

35 mins
4 hrs 10 mins
Serves 12 to 16




Instructions Checklist
  • Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans. Line pans with parchment; butter parchment. Dust with flour, tapping out excess. In a food processor, finely grind pistachios. Remove and reserve 1/4 cup ground pistachios, then add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to processor and pulse to combine.

  • Beat butter with granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add orange-flower water; beat to combine. Beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time, thoroughly combining after each addition and scraping down bowl as needed. Add pistachio mixture in three batches, alternating with sour cream and beginning and ending with pistachio mixture.

  • Divide batter evenly between cake pans; smooth tops with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating pans once, until tops spring back when lightly touched, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack; let cool 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack; remove parchment and let cool 1 hour. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

  • Filling: Meanwhile, combine ricotta and cream in bowl of food processor; process until smooth. Add salt, vanilla, cinnamon, and confectioners' sugar; process to combine. Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in chopped chocolate and orange peel. Refrigerate in an airtight container at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

  • Cut each cake horizontally into 2 layers. Stack on a cardboard cake round or a plate; brush edges with melted chocolate, then pat some of reserved ground pistachios onto chocolate. Separate, then refrigerate in a single layer until set, 10 minutes. Place one cake layer on a cake stand, bottom-side down; spread 1 1/2 cups filling evenly over top, then place second layer on top. Repeat with remaining filling and cakes, finishing with a cake layer, bottom-side up. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to overnight. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar and remaining reserved ground pistachios.