Cannoli Cupcakes

I’m Italian.

And Irish. And Scottish. And Russian. And German? Maybe? I think. The jury is still out on that last one.

That was up for debate after a weekend at the New York Public Library with my brother after researching our ancestors. We thought we were German, but SURPRISE! The Wally’s originated in Russia. (I knew my love of beets would finally be explained…)

So German, or Russian. It doesn’t really matter. Plus, it doesn’t have anything to do with cannoli’s.


My Mom’s side of the family (The Salerno’s) is straight up pinky-wearing Italian. And I love every second of it.

I was talking about my family with a friend of mine and I was trying to describe it. I guess the only way to describe a family get-together could be summed up in one word: LOUD.

There are always 7 conversations going on at once.  Everyone is always screaming over everyone else because they are never sitting next to whoever they are having a conversation with.

And the laughter. Oh, the laughter. Especially with my family. That’s how we show love. With laughter.

And food.

Because I grew up in the family I did, if you don’t like to eat or don’t have a sense of humor, it is impossible for me to even want to know you. Harsh? Ehh…whatever.

And Holy Meatballs…the food.

I was just always surrounded by it. Pastas, meats, veggies, carbs, and more carbs.


And dessert. Always dessert.

Tiramisu, Biscotti, Ricotta Cheesecake, Pastries, Tarts.





Love love love love.

Deep fried pastry shell filled with a glorious sweet, creamy filling. I personally like mine studded with little chocolate chips instead of pistachio’s. But hey, that’s just me. And what on earth is not better with chocolate chips?

When I was younger, I wasn’t a big fan. But when I grew up, I swear I had a palate transplant and didn’t even know about it.

I just love everything about them. And hello…it incorporates one of my favorite cheeses: Ricotta.

When I little I used to eat it with a spoon straight out the container. So creamy and delicious and addicting.

I swear, I don’t do it now that I’m older. Promise.

So yeahhh….

Where was I? Oh, right. Cannoli’s.

So I did what I usually do with things I like. I make them in cupcake form.

Because why the hell not?

There is a reason there are so many cupcake stores in the wonderful land of ours.

Cupcakes are just lovely.

Deal with it, cupcake haters. Get on board.

I wanted a Cannoli Cupcake recipe. I wanted a REALLY good one.

And by golly Dominic the Donkey…I found one.

Let me tell you about this cupcake.

You know a cupcake is going to be a superstar when I could strictly just eat the plain cake part and die a happy girl.

The cake was just so unbelievably moist and flavorful from the ricotta, orange zest and Marsala wine.

What the what?! Marsala? In a cupcake?

Yes. Trust me. It’s only one tablespoon, but it just adds a little “umph” to the cake. Just that little extra depth of flavor that makes it crazy good.

Oh goodness…just thinking about this cake is making me go CA-RAZAYYY.

But that’s not all there is to it. Of course it’s not. Do you really think I would give you a cannoli cupcake recipe that’s just cake? Hellz to the N-O.

You’re probably thinking “Oh, it’s just topped with a cannoli buttercream.”

Stop it. Stop it right now. Go sit in the corner and think about what you’ve just done.

Bad, bad reader.

What you do next is you cut hole in the middle of the cupcake and fill it with an amazing ricotta, powdered sugar, orange zest and chocolate filling.

And then as if THAT weren’t enough, you then top the cupcakes with a wonderful Vanilla Bean Buttercream.

And THEN to top it ALL off, you sprinkle mini chocolate chips on top!!

WAH!!’s just too much to handle.

And remember the cake that you cut out to put the filling in?

Yeah…don’t throw those suckers out.

Take them…put a dab of the filling on it, and then a dab of the buttercream.

Insert in mouth. Enjoy.

They’re like mini cannoli cupcakes of joy!!

Ahhh…it’s the best part about being a baker. Free samples.

I brought these cupcakes into work for a co-worker because it was her last day of work for the year. (again…co-worker of the year)

Everyone completely fell in love. They went crazy.

And honestly, after the free samples I had, it was seriously hard to disagree. Impossible even!

They were great!!

Gosh, writing about these is really making me mad that I haven’t made them in a while.

I need that cake. I crave that cake.

I hope you need it and crave it as well.

And if you don’t like it? Well, I won’t even go there.

Life lesson: Never disagree with an Italian family.


Recipe by What’s Cookin, Chicago?

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
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon Marsala wine
1 cup milk
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 tablespoons powdered sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line two muffin pans with cupcake wrappers; set aside. 2. 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.
3. 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.

Cannoli filling:

1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon zest of one orange

1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, chopped fine


1. To make the cannoli filling, stir together the ricotta cheese and confectioners’ sugar using a spoon. Fold in the orange zest and chopped chocolate.

2. 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.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting:

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar (10 ounces)
Pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Chocolate Chips, for garnish


1. 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.

2. 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.

3. Garnish with chocolate chips

I just wanted to make a note about the photo’s I’ve been using.

I take pictures with my cell phone. Yes. It’s true.

I have a camera. A very nice camera.

But I just do not know how bloggers can take pictures while they bake and have the time/patience to focus and take such pretty pictures.

I’m a mess when I bake. Flour is everywhere, the kitchen is a mess. I don’t know how they do it.

So just please bare with me for now. I’m hoping to have some pretty pictures of my goodies soon.

With a non-blackberry camera.

WOW…look at me stepping up in this world!

To celebrate..I want a cannoli cupcake.

And a cannoli.


One thought on “Cannoli Cupcakes

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