What Frosting Goes With Cannoli Cake

Cannoli cake, a delightful Italian dessert, brings together the rich flavors of traditional cannoli filling and moist cake layers. As you plan to create this delectable treat, one question arises: what frosting should you pair with cannoli cake?

cannoli cake
cannoli cake

Understanding Cannoli Cake

What is Cannoli Cake?

Cannoli cake is a decadent dessert inspired by the beloved Italian pastry, cannoli. It typically consists of tender cake layers infused with flavors reminiscent of cannoli filling. The cake is often made with ingredients such as ricotta cheese, chocolate chips, and hints of citrus zest.

Traditional Ingredients

A traditional cannoli cake incorporates ingredients like ricotta cheese, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and vanilla extract. These components bring the essence of a classic cannoli to the cake, offering a delightful fusion of flavors.

Importance of Frosting

Frosting serves as the crowning glory of any cake, including cannoli cake. It not only enhances the taste but also contributes to the overall visual appeal. The right frosting can balance the sweetness, add moisture, and provide a smooth finish to the cake.

Classic Frosting Options for Cannoli Cake

Let’s explore some classic frosting options that pair exceptionally well with cannoli cake:

Mascarpone Frosting

Mascarpone frosting is a luxurious and creamy option that complements the flavors of cannoli cake perfectly. It is made with mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar, and a touch of vanilla extract.

The richness of the mascarpone enhances the cannoli experience, creating a luscious combination.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream cheese frosting offers a tangy and slightly sweet taste that beautifully contrasts the flavors of cannoli cake.

The creaminess of the frosting adds a delightful texture to each bite. With cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract, this frosting brings a classic touch to your cannoli cake.

4Whipped Cream Frosting

For a lighter and fluffier option, whipped cream frosting is an excellent choice. This delicate frosting, made with heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract, adds a refreshing element to each slice of cannoli cake.

Its airy texture and subtle sweetness provide a delightful contrast to the rich flavors of the cake.

Alternative Frosting Ideas

If you’re looking to experiment with unique flavors or want to try something different, consider these alternative frosting ideas for your cannoli cake:

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

Indulge your taste buds with the richness of chocolate ganache frosting. The velvety smoothness of ganache adds a layer of decadence to the cannoli cake.

You can pour the ganache over the cake or use it to create a glossy and luxurious coating.

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

For a zesty and refreshing twist, opt for lemon buttercream frosting. The tangy lemon flavor complements the sweet and creamy cannoli cake, creating a delightful contrast. The buttery texture of the frosting adds a smooth and luscious element to each bite.

Pistachio Frosting

Enhance the nutty undertones of the cannoli cake with a pistachio frosting. The subtle yet distinct flavor of pistachios pairs beautifully with the traditional ingredients of the cake.

The natural green color of the frosting adds a visually appealing touch, making your cannoli cake a true centerpiece.

Choosing the Perfect Frosting

With a wide array of frosting options available, choosing the perfect one for your cannoli cake can be overwhelming. Consider the following factors when making your decision:

  • Flavor pairing: Look for a frosting that complements the flavors of the cannoli cake. Whether you prefer a rich and creamy combination or a tangy contrast, choose a frosting that harmonizes with the cake’s ingredients.
  • Texture: Consider the desired texture of your cannoli cake. If you prefer a lighter and fluffy texture, opt for whipped cream frosting. For a denser and creamier experience, mascarpone or cream cheese frosting can be the ideal choices.
  • Visual appeal: Take into account the visual impact you want your cannoli cake to have. Some frostings offer a smooth and polished finish, while others provide a rustic or textured look. Choose a frosting that aligns with your aesthetic preferences.

Recipe for Cannoli Cake with Mascarpone Frosting

Now, let’s dive into a delightful recipe for cannoli cake with mascarpone frosting. This combination brings together the traditional flavors of cannoli in a moist and decadent cake.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

For the Mascarpone Frosting:

  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract.
  5. Mix in the ricotta cheese until well combined.
  6. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk. Begin and end with the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.

Fold in the mini chocolate chips.

  1. Divide the batter equally between the prepared cake pans and smooth the tops with a spatula.
  2. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
  3. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the Mascarpone Frosting:

  1. In a mixing bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese until creamy and smooth.
  2. Gradually add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract, beating until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
  4. Gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture until fully incorporated.
  5. Place one cake layer on a serving plate and spread a generous amount of the mascarpone frosting on top.
  6. Place the second cake layer on top and frost the entire cake with the remaining frosting.
  7. Decorate the cake as desired, such as with additional chocolate chips or a dusting of cocoa powder.
  8. Chill the cake in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.


Can I use a different type of cheese in the frosting?

While mascarpone cheese is traditionally used in cannoli cake frosting, you can experiment with other creamy cheeses like ricotta or cream cheese to achieve a similar texture and flavor profile.

Can I make the cake layers ahead of time?

Yes, you can bake the cake layers in advance and store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the freezer for longer storage. Just make sure to thaw them completely before assembling the cake.

Can I substitute the buttermilk in the cake recipe?

If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make a homemade substitute by mixing 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar with 1 cup of milk. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes until it curdles slightly before using it in the recipe.

How long will the frosted cannoli cake last?

The frosted cannoli cake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Keep it covered or in an airtight container to maintain its freshness.

Can I freeze the leftover cake?

Yes, you can freeze any leftover cannoli cake. Wrap individual slices tightly in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer-safe container. They can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw the slices in the refrigerator before enjoying.


Choosing the perfect frosting for your cannoli cake can elevate the taste and presentation of this delightful Italian dessert.

From classic options like mascarpone, cream cheese, and whipped cream frostings to alternative choices like chocolate ganache, lemon buttercream, and pistachio frostings, there are endless possibilities to explore.

I'm Jennifer Tirrell, a self-taught baker, and founder of CakeRe. As an experienced baker and recipe publisher, I have spent over a decade working in the kitchen and have tried and tested countless baking tools and products. From classic cakes to creative twists, I've got you covered. So grab your apron and let's get baking!

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