Chocolate Chip Cannoli Cake

Want to know something crazy?? The first time I had a cannoli was only a few years ago!! I think cannoli are definitely an East Coast treat, but man am I happy I finally tried them!

My favorite type is the chocolate covered kind, so I incorporated quite a bit of chocolate into this cake. The recipe and tutorial can be found below:

Chocolate Chip Layer Cake Batter:

  • 3 1/4 cup (416 grams) all purpose flour
  • 3 cups (600 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp (13 grams) baking powder
  • 1 tsp (5 grams) salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter or 2 sticks (226 grams), room temperature
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips, tossed with 1 tbsp of flour (helps them from sinking to the bottom of the pan)
  • 2 tsp. (9 grams) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup egg whites (244 grams) – about 7 large egg whites; I use egg whites from the carton to avoid wasting egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 grams) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup (28 grams) vegetable oil

Cannoli Filling:

  • 1 1/4 cups (12 oz) ricotta cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup (8 oz) mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

American Buttercream (to make both the vanilla and chocolate frosting):

  • 4 sticks or 2 cups (434 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 cups (907 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp (3 grams) salt
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 grams) heavy cream
  • 3 tsp (12 grams) vanilla
  • 6 oz (about 1 cup) melted dark chocolate chips

Additional Decorations:


Preheat oven to 350°F. Line three 8 inch round pans with parchment rounds, and grease with non-stick cooking spray.

Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.

Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated.  Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed.

Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Gently fold the chocolate chips into the batter.

Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 35 minutes (or until a skewer comes out clean).

Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan.

Place cake layers into the freezer for 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process.

Once the layers have fully cooled, I like to trim the caramelized bits from the sides of the layers using a serrated knife.

Be sure the layers are completely cooled or chilled before trimming. If you try to trim the layers while they’re still warm, they will crumble apart.

While the cake layers bake and cool, make the chocolate and vanilla buttercream.

Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time.

Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt.

Place about 1/3 of the frosting into a separate bowl. Melt the chocolate in 30 second intervals at a low power, until fully melted (mine took about a minute).

Pour into frosting slowly, and stir until fully incorporated. Place into a piping bag, and cut the end to have a opening that is about 3/4 of an inch.

Next, prepare the cannoli filling! Add ricotta cheese, mascarpone cheese and vanilla extract in a mixer bowl, and beat on a low speed until smooth.

Add powdered sugar and cinnamon, until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge.

Stack and frost layers on a 10 inch, grease-proof, cardboard cake round.

Frost a ring of chocolate buttercream around the perimeter of the layer, and add a generous scoop of the cannoli filling onto the center of the layer.

cannoli dam

Spread the cannoli filling around the cake layer until it’s even, being sure it stays within the frosting boarder.

cannoli chip drop

Add a generous drizzle of ganache, and a handful of mini chocolate chips. Repeat with remaining cake layers.

cannoli crumb coat

Cover the cake in a thin crumb coat with any remaining chocolate frosting, and chill in the freezer or fridge for about 5 minutes.

Once the crumb coat is firm to the touch, add a second layer of vanilla frosting. Smooth using a bench scraper.

You can see a full tutorial on how to frost a cake with smooth sides here.

cannoli whtie frosting

Gently press mini chocolate chips around the base of the cake, then chill it for another 5 minutes.

Once the frosting is chilled, add on the chocolate ganache drips.  Always be sure to do a test drip, to ensure that your ganache is at the right temperature.

cannoli cake drips

Place remaining vanilla and chocolate frosting into a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M tip, and pipe large swirls on top of the cake.

Cut the mini cannoli in half, and carefully place on top of each swirl.

cannoli cake cannoli

I alternated chocolate and classic cannoli, and also added some more chocolate chips on top of the cake. And that’s it! Then it’s time to cut and enjoy!!

cannoli cut

47 thoughts on “Chocolate Chip Cannoli Cake

  1. Why do you add more chocolate to a 1/3 of the buttercream in this recipe? Does that mean 2/3 should be vanilla and 1/3 should be the chocolate? Thanks!

  2. Made this cake for my son’s birthday this week. Made three 6 in layers. Big hit! Thanks for posting the recipe.

  3. I have to transport the cake and need to order a cake carrier. I’m conflicted on the height. How tall would you say the cake is with and without the top icing.

    Thank You

    1. depends on how much filling you put in, and if you level the layers. but if I had to guess, 6 inches before the topping, and 8 inches with the frosting and cannoli!

  4. How would the filling hold up in a shaped cake also would this cake recipe be good for a shaped cake ? Making more of a round cake covered in fondant

  5. Hi and thank you for sharing for recipes they are truly delish! I’d like to make this cake but with 8” cake rounds. Would this exact recipe work for 3 8” cake rounds?

      1. Thank you. 🙂 one other question.. I just made the batter and realized I don’t have mini chips only regular size.. eeeek! Will they work or no?

      2. That should still be just fine! Be sure to toss them in flour though before folding them into the batter, to help them from sinking to the bottom of the pan while the layers bake 🙂

    1. Hi Nicole! You can always add a bit more powdered sugar to thicken it. Even if the filling is a bit thin, as long as you pipe a frosting border around each cake layer, it should keep the filling in place!

    1. Hi Olga! You can half it, or just bake the cake layers in 2 batches!! The batter is ok to sit at room temperature for a bit while the first batch of layers bakes. Hope that helps, happy baking! 🙂

  6. I’m a really good baker, love your cakes so I tried this… I think I’m losing my touch, because it came out awful! Tastes doughy, the texture is good the taste is yuck. I’m not sure I’ll try again anytime soon, but so disappointed because yours was so lovely!! And I LOVE cannoli’s! 🙁

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that! did you make any adjustments to the ingredients, or maybe use different sized cake pans than the recipe calls for? Or a different number of pans?? Hopefully we’ll be able to figure out what went wrong!!

  7. Just a tip, I almost gave up on the filling after it was all incorporated. I decided to whip it on high for a couple minutes and it perked right up?

    1. that was supposed to be a smiley face, but it turned out as a question mark! Another tip, don’t use emojis in comments:)

  8. Just a tip, I almost gave up on the filling after it was all incorporated. I decided to whip it on high for a couple minutes and it perked right up?

Let me know what you think!