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Marvelous Cannoli Cake Recipe

Marvelous Cannoli Cake Recipe

A luscious, chocolate-studded cannoli filling separates the tender vanilla layers of this rich cake, which starts with a package mix. It’s best when served well chilled.—Antoinette Owens, Ridgefield, Connecticut
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + chilling Bake: 25 min. + cooling YIELD:12 servings


  • 1 package French vanilla cake mix (regular size)
  • 1 carton (15 ounces) ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon rum extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 cartons (8 ounces each) mascarpone cheese
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons miniature semisweet chocolate chips


  • 1. Prepare and bake cake mix according to package directions, using two greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  • 2. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, confectioners' sugar, cinnamon and extracts; stir in chocolate. In another bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese, confectioners' sugar, milk and extracts on medium speed until creamy (do not overmix).
  • 3. Place one cake layer on a serving plate; spread with 1 cup filling. Top with second cake layer. Spread remaining filling over top of cake to within 1 in. of edges. Frost sides and top edge of cake with 2 cups frosting.
  • 4. Press almonds into sides of cake. Sprinkle chocolate chips over top. Refrigerate until serving. Yield: 12 servings.

Recipe Note

Test Kitchen Tip:

  • We loved the flavor of the ricotta filling so much, in one test we doubled it and used the extra filling instead of the frosting. Either way, you'll have a cake that is sure to impress.
  • Nutritional Facts

    1 slice: 591 calories, 37g fat (15g saturated fat), 116mg cholesterol, 367mg sodium, 54g carbohydrate (37g sugars, 1g fiber), 12g protein.

    Reviews for Marvelous Cannoli Cake

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    gina.kapfhamer User ID: 8717427 256300
    Reviewed Nov. 2, 2016

    "This dessert will be perfect for my dad's birthday coming up. Can't wait to try this recipe out!"

    vsmith8403 User ID: 8575215 253865
    Reviewed Sep. 9, 2016

    "I made this cake for my fiance's bday as written. He really liked it, but I felt like their was just too many extracts used. The flavor of the rum and almond was too strong for my liking. If I had to make it again I'd either use way less or forgo the rum all together. My kids didn't really care for it either. I didn't have any problems with the frosting being runny. The marscapone cheese was delicious in the frosting. My favorite part of the cake! Needless to say after the first night of eating it, it sat in my fridge untouched until I threw it away days later. Probably won't make again, but IF I do I'll cut out a lot of the extracts."

    MaryGrace777 User ID: 6075612 246103
    Reviewed Mar. 27, 2016

    "A bit of a challenge to put together but well worth the effort. It is as delicious as it looks."

    Kastnerm User ID: 8619765 245875
    Reviewed Mar. 23, 2016

    "Geez people, why criticize when others give an alternative to some ingredients that you might not have or can't have?"

    krs0216 User ID: 8702190 241973
    Reviewed Jan. 17, 2016

    "I made the recipe as written and had no issues. I wonder if the bakers that had issues with runny filling or frosting used low fat ingredients. I normally use skim or part skim ricotta when cooking, and used whole milk ricotta for this recipe. It was very good and easy to assemble."

    betskitchen User ID: 8490096 240389
    Reviewed Dec. 27, 2015

    "Delicious and a nice presentation. I used chocolate cake in place of the vanilla and used only 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract in the filling. Not being a big fan of rum, I used just 1/4 teaspoon of the extract and cut the cinnamon in half as well. I was also unable to find mascarpone cheese so I made a whipped cream frosting instead. It turned out great -rich and flavorful and not too sweet."

    bosch1516 User ID: 5710658 229462
    Reviewed Jul. 12, 2015

    "Has potential but the frosting needed cornstarch to thicken. It would not set on its own after hours to cool. The filling had far too much rum extract and cinnamon so it came out almost savory, both ingredients could be cut in half with slightly more sugar added. Otherwise, the recipe was sound."

    cmystyle User ID: 8257841 220425
    Reviewed Feb. 13, 2015

    "Just made this cake. I am thinking it is going to taste great. Way too much frosting and too runny. I had to add more powder sugar and then had so much left over. I don't think there is any need for 1/4 cup milk. Maybe add some if needed. Can hardly wait to cut into it."

    GingerPoodle User ID: 8255274 220256
    Reviewed Feb. 11, 2015

    "This cake is Marvelous. as is......please review cake as is ...that's what a review is all about . Not completely changing the recipe."

    Gluttongoose User ID: 8197461 216837
    Reviewed Jan. 4, 2015

    "It seems as though a lot of people have had problems with the frosting being too runny., so I'll omit the milk when I make it. Not keen on nuts in cakes, so will use drained and sliced apricots, strawberries ,raspberries, blueberries and pineapple. I'm going to use Cointreau instead of essence. Just found this site, and thought all the baking would be from scratch, given the title. So I was very surprised to find that a boxed cake mix was used. I've tried a Betty Crocker chocolate cake mix before, but it was too soda tasting. So I think iI'll just make a plain sponge and add some orange zest to the mix and maybe cocoa. The picture looks very nice, but as people followed the recipe and still had problems i've only given 3 stars. Perhaps they should have mentioned to drain the cheeses in the recipe, then the frosting wouldn't be runny. You could always use the liquid to make some scones."

    Dimples507 User ID: 7980240 211907
    Reviewed Sep. 9, 2014

    "Great easy and tasty"

    CYNTN37043 User ID: 4982896 211906
    Reviewed Jul. 23, 2014

    "This is a beautiful and delicious cake. The frosting is heavenly. The recipe does make a lot of frosting. I had no problems with any of the ingredients or instructions."

    Joscy User ID: 2694585 192616
    Reviewed May. 28, 2014

    "Considering making for a friend's birthday. Thank you for tips regarding draining liquid from cheese(s). Thank you also for sharing recipe."

    dsharp90 User ID: 1192818 110638
    Reviewed Mar. 29, 2014

    "I made this recipe exactly as written with no problems whatsoever. I had no problems with any of the ingredients being too "runny." It was a huge hit taste-wise and was a gorgeous cake!"

    mlc311 User ID: 6661515 174997
    Reviewed Mar. 23, 2014

    "I made this cake for my boyfriend's birthday and it was wonderful and very easy. I drained the ricotta cheese during the day and a little liquid came out then I continued to drain it overnight and much more came out. It was a great consistency and delicious!!! I agree with other comments about cutting the frosting in half. I had a lot left over."

    NewMare User ID: 7693964 192614
    Reviewed Feb. 27, 2014

    "Wish I had read the reviews before I made the cake. How hard would it be to add drain the ricotta to the recipe and increase the powdered sugar. Made the cake for company and hoping that it firms up in the refrigerator before they get here. I'm a little annoyed. It seems that people had to make a lot of adjustments to make this cake.....hope it tastes as good as they say. I think the original recipe is a little disappointing for a Taste of Home recipe."

    cimgraph User ID: 4094097 107024
    Reviewed Dec. 31, 2013

    "Made this dessert for a family Italian Feast and it was perfect! I did drain the ricotta cheese well before mixing. I increased the confectioners sugar in the filling to1 1/2 cups and was not too sweet. For the frosting, I used 16 oz. cream cheese and only a drop or two of milk instead of the mascarpone cheese since my family loves cream cheese frosting. Beautiful presentation . Even my daughter in law said it was perfect!"

    saundrastortz User ID: 1367050 120682
    Reviewed Dec. 20, 2013

    "Ricotta and Mascarpone need to be drained to avoid the runniness. Put them into a sieve and let them sit for an hour before you try to use them."

    Saucy User ID: 25485 107021
    Reviewed Dec. 10, 2013

    "I found this a super recipe-I will try extra flavor for the cake sounds good. Also check the quality of the Mascarpone cheese. I purchased a brand that was the more expensive of 2 and it did not get soupy! Family extremely impressed Christmas Eve. Not a morsel remained -Chef T"

    TJakab User ID: 7512863 110615
    Reviewed Nov. 29, 2013

    "This was amazing! cake came out looking like the picture. I had no problem with the frosting or the filling. Will be making this many times!"

    ReeseeMom User ID: 7427162 192608
    Reviewed Sep. 30, 2013

    "This turned out great. I added one tspn of amaretto to the cake bc I didn't have enough almond extract. I did end up mixing rum and ammaretto and brushing the mix on each side of the cake. I did two layers of filling. Delicious. I luv marscopone (think tiramisu) and am not a fan of very sweet icing. So I liked this recipe. I didn't have an issue with icing texture that some reviewers did. Again this is not a sugar icing."

    LaDawn Marie User ID: 697327 130374
    Reviewed Jun. 15, 2013

    "I foolishly didn't read the reviews first. When exactly is the "frosting" supposed to firm up? It never turned into frosting - it's fruit dip. I salvaged the frosting by adding shortening and a cup of the very liquid substance referred to as frosting. Next time I'm using cream cheese frosting with the flavorings in the recipe. All that being said, I made this with my seven year olds, and I'll be darned, it looks just like picture!"

    snogle81 User ID: 6298091 179197
    Reviewed May. 7, 2013

    "I was a bit skeptical when deciding to make this cake, but I'm glad I took this one on--it is delicious! I am in not a patient baker, so it doesn't surprise me that I had some difficulty with this recipe. The Mascarpone cheese frosting turned out very runny. Letting it sit in the refrigerator overnight did not help to stiffen the frosting either. In the future, I will probably omit the milk altogether, or only add a few drops as needed to thin the frosting. Also, I think the recipe made too much frosting for my tastes. (I'm not a big fan of frosting to begin with though.) In the future, I will cut the frosting ingredients in half. Complaints aside, I was very pleased with this dessert. The cake was wonderfully moist and had a great flavor."

    urs3477 User ID: 7150523 147879
    Reviewed Feb. 24, 2013

    "I give this a 5 only because I salvaged this by adding more confectioner's sugar to the icing to thicken it. It would not thicken in the refrigerator. It didn't get much sweeter fortunately. The problem was that I followed the recipe exactly and I learned that the 1/4 cup milk makes it too runny. So the next time I will only add as much as needed. Also, I rarely make a recipe more than once because I like the challenge of new recipes but I will definitely make this one again. It is very very good and creamy and tasty and not overly sweet and easy on top of it. Will probably also make the cake from scratch but that's just a preference. The boxed cake was good."

    andreandrisa User ID: 4732883 120679
    Reviewed Jan. 18, 2013

    "Several adjustments to the filling recipe made this near perfect. I based the adjustments on an actual cannoli recipe I use; drain the ricotta in a fine mesh seive for at least 30 minutes (even over night would be great) to remove excess liquid. Use 1.5 Cups confectioners sugar. I only add 1/2 tsp cinnamon, otherwise it would be too overpowering. I use ONLY the vanilla exract (1 tsp), but if you're going to use all 3, I would halve them and only add 1/2 tsp each.

    For the frosting, I needed to halve the recipe, except the confectioner's sugar, which I scaled down to 1/2 C and I again only used 1 of the extracts (1 tsp almond extract), add the milk very slowly until you get the right consistency."

    love2baketwo User ID: 6988956 174995
    Reviewed Nov. 22, 2012

    "both the filling and the frosting came our runny - ended up being a triffle! Not crazy about the filling either - tasted a little bitter. Not a keeper!"

    Meg24 User ID: 3334483 179196
    Reviewed Nov. 4, 2012

    "I made this cake for Bunco and it was very impressive! Everyone thought that it came from a bakery. I would make this cake again, but I wouldn't put as much cinnamon in the filling next time. Also, I would make a little bit more of the filling so that there was a bit more of that for in between the layers. I just used the mini chocolate chips for the filling and it was perfect, so if you don't feel like going through the trouble of shaving chocolate you don't have to do that step. The frosting is excellent, but make sure that you use whole milk and add a little bit at a time in case it gets too thin. I didn't use the entire 1/4 cup of milk for mine. Overall, a very tasty and beautiful cake!"

    tabycat1982 User ID: 6720854 120678
    Reviewed Jun. 2, 2012

    "The icing was delicious, but the filling was horrible! I ended up taking the cake apart and scooping out the filling just to make it edible!"

    JulieP757 User ID: 3383734 112852
    Reviewed Apr. 8, 2012

    "No one liked the ricotta filling, which is a shame, because I had to make it twice because it was runny the first go around. I think it would have been better if I eliminated the rum extract and cut the almond extract in half. The mascarpone icing tasted great, but I did not add the milk per the recipe and it was still on the thin side. I will definitely make the icing again and I might try the cake again with a different version of the filling."

    jr1849 User ID: 2353762 174647
    Reviewed Mar. 22, 2012

    "This is one of the tastiest cakes I've ever had the pleasure of eating! It was also quite easy to assemble and looked just like the picture. The frosting did make quite a lot so next time I will cut the amount in half. It also was not as thick as I expected it to be after chilling but by applying in sections and pressing on almonds it worked beautifully! This is definitely a keeper."

    Barbbiss User ID: 6408640 192422
    Reviewed Feb. 18, 2012

    "I just made this cake for my friend's birthday. I used the mini chips to make the letter B on the top of the cake (bday girl's name is Barbara) andcirceld the top edge with additional chips. It looks awesome!"

    shannonator User ID: 5487717 174532
    Reviewed Feb. 17, 2012

    "This was one of the most delicious cakes I've ever eaten, and although it looks like it might be difficult to make, it was simple."

    littlelady88207 User ID: 432885 179192
    Reviewed Jan. 31, 2012

    "Made this yesterday. It is gone today!The box cake especially good.. The filling came out perfect great almond flavor the rum hardly noticeable.. The frosting was runny and needed extra sugar. Extra frosting going on cupcakes, Yummy cake."

    jkottra User ID: 6495534 120677
    Reviewed Jan. 28, 2012

    "Turned out great. My 12 year made it by herself, mostly. I would thicken the frosting a bit with more powdered sugar and hold back a bit on the rum extract, but otherwise a great cake."

    MY REVIEW User ID: 3440801 174993
    Reviewed Jan. 26, 2012

    "What a wonderful cake!!!! My Italian friend made me an honorary Italian after tasting it!!!"

    jdep6105 User ID: 1640157 107000
    Reviewed Jan. 26, 2012

    "This cake is so good I can't find the words to describe it......"

    Fruitfulfarmin User ID: 6408669 130373
    Reviewed Jan. 25, 2012

    "I made this cake for an Italian friend for Christmas & she & everyone else loved it. I did a few things differently than the recipe. First, I used a good French vanilla cake recipe & made that from scratch( It was easy & the taste was fantastic. It's odd that TOH would recommend a mix. Second, I backed off the cinnamon. Like other reviewers, I thought I'd add more if necessary(I used @half of what it called for in the recipe.)

    Third, I used cream cheese instead of mascarpone. The Italian friend says she does that all the time, plus it saved me some $. I had never had a cake like this & I was wary of all the flavors. What a pleasant surprise! The only problem I had was not indulging myself at 2am with this scrumptious cannoli cake. It wasn't overly sweet but it was still very rich."

    angelgooroo User ID: 6412329 112834
    Reviewed Jan. 24, 2012

    "This cannoli cake was a winner w my whole extended family! A couple things I would do different... 2 TBS of almond extract was way too overpowering. I had extra Ricotta so I remade the filling using only 1/2 tsp of almond extract. Also, I should have sifted the confectioners sugar before adding it for the filling also.. it was a little too lumpy. With those changes, I will definitely make this again! Also, I made it the night before I needed it, and the cake was nice and firm the next day. LOVE THIS!"

    warrenbaker User ID: 6190128 174991
    Reviewed Jan. 13, 2012

    "this is my second cake that I've made. I love this recipe. It is quite impressive to make and so very delicious. Thanks for sharing this yummy cake recipe. Rockland Baker."

    megantyler User ID: 327190 112820
    Reviewed Jan. 6, 2012

    "Made this for Christmas. No one liked it. Threw it in the garbage. It looked so pretty. What a shame."

    cwkling User ID: 6440598 112817
    Reviewed Jan. 6, 2012

    "this is fabulous, its everything and more"

    snbard User ID: 4171726 106994
    Reviewed Jan. 5, 2012

    "Excellent cake, made it for a co-worker's b-day and it was gone in 45 minutes!!! Had to add lots of extra powdered sugar to the frosting (16 oz bag minus the 1/2 c. used for the filling). I also piped a shell border and edge, Overall MARVELOUS cake, will definitelymake again!!"

    dcampb0888 User ID: 1711398 120675
    Reviewed Dec. 30, 2011

    "I have made this cake three times now and with success every time. I have received many compliments on it, and have never had any trouble with runny icing. I agree the ingredients are on the expensive side, but for a special event this is well worth it!"

    shirley21 User ID: 5932816 191114
    Reviewed Dec. 28, 2011

    "I made this cake for Christmas and it tasted great!!!! It was loved by all. I did have a little problem with the frosting being a bit soft, but the almonds did stick to it, which I thought they were going to run off. I did find that after 2 days in the refrigerator it was a bit firmer. Will definitely make this cake again!!!"

    bryanbooth User ID: 6106471 174990
    Reviewed Dec. 28, 2011

    "one of my favorite recipes, turns out perfic everytimem, and looks like the photo also. family and friends love it....."

    racham User ID: 5957711 190147
    Reviewed Dec. 28, 2011

    "Don't know what I did wrong but the filling and frosting were so thin that I ended up using some Knox unflavored gelatine to thicken the filling and then just spooning the icing down the sides of the cake where it pooled at the bottom. It still tasted good but I was really disappointed in the presentation. I'll try it one more time and then move on"

    mommayor User ID: 6425768 122887
    Reviewed Dec. 27, 2011

    "Great recipe! Made this cake and took it to work. It was loved by everyone. Did not have any problems with making and decorating this cake. I also piped a shell border around the top and bottom of cake. It was beautiful!"

    mrsbabycakes User ID: 6181378 174989
    Reviewed Dec. 26, 2011

    "I had to omit the Frosting due to it being almost of a milky consistency. I was somewhat disappointed with that after having to waste the Mascarpone cheese. I went to my fail-proof recipe for cream cheese frosting and made good out of the situation. 1/4 cup of milk is obviously too much. I thought that when I added the milk and put between 1/8 and 1/4c.. Even still too much. No milk at all next time for sure!"

    patnpatty User ID: 6348947 106993
    Reviewed Dec. 26, 2011

    "WONDERFUL, tasty, cake texture was superior. Mascarpone cheese is well worth the investment. Follow directions and don't over beat the frosting. I divided the layers and frosted between them next time I'll double the filling ingredients. THE BEST cake I've made in a long time. Merry Christmas was written all over it:) My family is ready for me to make it again:):)"

    aug2295 User ID: 4631582 211905
    Reviewed Dec. 26, 2011

    "This was delicious. A bit too much on the filling - I would half that to make it again. My frosting firmed up nicely, sometimes whipping it more makes a difference to anyone with a runny frosting problem. I think store bought cream cheese frosting would have worked too."

    predis User ID: 6419595 122857
    Reviewed Dec. 25, 2011

    "For all of those who find mascarpone too expensive or too hard to find in their area, this is a FABULOUS substitute:"

    nanadee2boys User ID: 2437501 120659
    Reviewed Dec. 25, 2011

    "What a horrible mess. The almond and rum extract overpowered everything and the frosting was running all over the place. Even after I added so much more sugar and kept it in the refrigerator. Also the filling started to come apart. What a horrible way to serve a special dessert."

    rsie User ID: 6401895 106990
    Reviewed Dec. 24, 2011

    "HELP it is Christmas Eve, I am assigned to bring dessert for the 28 people,my frosting is runny, I added more powdered sugar not too much better, tried frosting cake, ran down the sides, I could cry, I should have read the reviews, finally got some to stick, will let everyone know how my family likes it"

    rsie User ID: 6401895 112816
    Reviewed Dec. 24, 2011

    "my frosting was very runny, don't know why i hope it firms up"

    Tpenrod User ID: 6369581 147876
    Reviewed Dec. 18, 2011

    "I am not a baker but I wanted to make something special for my mom's birthday and it came out perfect.... I agree with other reviews, you can definitely cut the frosting recipe in half. I will make this again for sure...."

    jpfjjf2 User ID: 5466968 106989
    Reviewed Dec. 14, 2011

    "This cake is moist and very tasty. Be sure to use whole milk ricotta cheese. Make it a day ahead of time, the flavors meld throughout the cake."

    tyansia User ID: 640349 179187
    Reviewed Dec. 8, 2011

    "I gave this cake two stars. I am not proud of that. Perhaps my review is subjective, and here is why...

    I am not a fan of cinnamon in places that are unconventional (in chicken, with chocolate, coffee..etc.. I added 1 tsp knowing this because I wanted to get the true taste of this recipe. I should have left it out. The extracts were way too strong, and the icing was very generous. I would suggest you make half of it since the cheese is a small fortune. IF I were to make this cake again, I would make my own cake (it had that weird cake mix taste), leave out the extracts, cinnamon, and replace them with coffee. Of course I would make half the icing... with coffee. I made this for my birthday, and NO one in my family likes it...thats like $15.00 of ingrediants wasted..."

    m7shoe58 User ID: 4689984 112812
    Reviewed Oct. 24, 2011

    "I was looking for a special cake for a friend of mine with an Italian family and choose this one. The only change I made was in the fillng, I felt it was a bit too bitter so I added another 1/4 of confectionsers' sugar and that made it nice, not too sweet but far from bitter. As I was taking the cake a half hour drive from home, I assembled the cake on location after keeping the filling and frosting in a cooler. It took only about 8 minutes to assemble and I did not have not have to worry about anything shifting or melting in route. cake was well received by all. I will make again but not too often, Mascarpone cheese in my part of the world is not cheap. And I had to go to three stores to find the Mascarpone. All in all a very special dessert!"

    bigbellybeffers User ID: 1913167 174986
    Reviewed Oct. 11, 2011

    "The cake turned out exactly like the picture - which is not very common for cakes!

    It was pretty easy to make according to the directions - follow them exactly. The rum and the almond are a little strong, so you can half those if you don't like strong flavors. Also, I had so much leftover frosting that I would probably only make half next time and the frosting would still be enough to cover (it would save 5 dollars worth of mascarpone cheese!) because I was lathering it pretty thick and also put frosting underneath the filling on the top layer.
    The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 was the cost to make this cake. I had started buying some of the ingredients before realizing the cost, but the ricotta cheese and mascarpone cheese alone is $15 (at 4.99 each!), and that doesn't include the cost of the cake mix or the extracts. Very expensive cake!!
    The cake itself tastes good, but I just am not sure it is worth the cost...."

    pcampo User ID: 4601910 174531
    Reviewed Oct. 11, 2011

    "I made this over the weekend and my husband loved it. I've been instructed that this is a must for Christmas. I think I'll try using red & green cherries instead of the almonds to make it more festive. This seems to be another recipe that will be used quite often by me and my girls & who knows maybe my son too. :)"

    ddbradfordtn User ID: 6265922 188995
    Reviewed Oct. 11, 2011

    "My husband says he will never eat another cake unless it's this one. It's wonderful! The mascarpone frosting needs to be tweaked though; tends to be too thin."

    Lunachick77 User ID: 6256880 110613
    Reviewed Oct. 5, 2011

    "This cake is to die for! So delicious and not overly sweet. Reminds me of cakes that I have had in Europe. Perfect with a cup of coffee."

    Clonket User ID: 6247787 130371
    Reviewed Oct. 2, 2011

    "This cake was amazing!! Very simple to make and a crowd pleaser. Next time I'm going to put more of the filling inside then on top because i had tons of the icing. I'm also going to put the mini chocolate chips on the outside because they provided just the right crunch. I may even try it with chocolate cake because we're chocolate lovers, but all in all, we looooved this cake. I will make it over and over again!!"

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