Strawberry Cassata

Strawberry Cassata

The classic Sicilian cassata is a spongecake layered with creamy sweetened ricotta, a heavenly combination. Though usually topped with colorful candied fruits, this summery version is covered with ripe red berries. Ideally, the spongecake should be made a day ahead and the cassata assembled at least several hours in advance. Look for the freshest, tastiest ricotta; most good cheese stores can supply it.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 8 persons



  1. Step 1

    Bake the cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-inch diameter springform pan and set aside.
  2. Step 2

    In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat eggs at medium speed. Add sugar, lemon zest, salt and almond extract and continue whisking for 10 to 15 minutes, until mixture is quite thick and nearly holds peaks. Fold in flour quickly.
  3. Step 3

    Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer emerges dry when inserted in the middle of cake. Cool on a rack. (It's best to make the cake a day in advance.)
  4. Step 4

    Make the syrup: Simmer sugar, 1/2 cup water and the lemon zest over medium heat for 10 minutes. Cool, stir in grappa and set aside.
  5. Step 5

    Meanwhile, make the filling: Whisk together ricotta and sugar to a spreadable consistency.
  6. Step 6

    Slice cake into 4 thin layers. Put 1 layer on a cake platter. Paint generously with syrup and spread with a quarter of the ricotta filling. Repeat with remaining 3 layers, stacking as you go. Smooth top layer of ricotta cream.
  7. Step 7

    Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 24 hours. Keep refrigerated until an hour before serving.
  8. Step 8

    To serve, toss berries with sugar and lemon juice. Let macerate no more than 10 minutes, then spoon berries over cake.