A lot of work but it is magnificent.
2 Duncan Hines Boxed White Cake Mixes. Add 1 1/2 cups of mini chocolate chips to the batter.
Fill two 9" round cake pans about half way. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched. Transfer the layers to a cooling rack and let them cool in the fridge while you make the frosting and filling.
For Cannoli Filling:
• 1 cup of whip cream. Whip in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment.
• 1 cup of powdered sugar.
• 15oz of ricotta cheese, strained of excess liquid
• 1 tsp of cinnamon
• 2 tsp of vanilla
• 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips
• pinch of salt
• In a large bowl, fold in the whipped cream with the ricotta cheese. Fold in the rest of the ingredients until well incorporated. Let it set up in the fridge for a few hours or over night. If it's pretty runny, add some cornstarch until it thickens a little more. It won't get very thick, cannoli cream is very soft in nature.
For the Italian Meringue Buttercream:
• 4 large egg whites at room temp
• 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
• 4 sticks of butter at room temp, cut into cubes
• 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
• 1 tsp of vanilla
• pinch of salt
• another 1 cup of granulated sugar set aside.
Add the room temperature egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Ensure there is no fat on your machine by wiping the bowl and whisk down with white vinegar. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium high speed and slowly add in the 1/3 cup of granulated sugar. Add vanilla and salt while it's still foamy. Do not increase the speed at this point just yet.
• Take a small sauce pan and add 1 cup of sugar and 1/3 cup of water. Affix a candy thermometer. Turn to medium heat and boil the sugar and water until it reaches the soft ball stage, about 240 degrees.
It's a game of timing at this point. When the sugar gets to about halfway to softball stage, increase the speed of the whisk to high. By the time your sugar syrup reaches temp, your egg whites should have reached stiff peaks. The most important thing is not letting the sugar go over-temp or it will turn to rock candy. If your sugar is ready but your egg whites aren't stiff, it's a problem. If the sugar isn't ready but your egg whites are stiff, it's okay to let them keep beating until the sugar is ready. Slow it down if needed so they don't break. In other words, it's better to let the sugar catch up to the egg whites, than vice versa.
• Phew, okay moving on: when both the sugar syrup is at 240 degrees and the egg whites are stiff, turn the mixer up to high speed (if it isn't already) and slowly stream it in while egg whites are beating. The egg whites will turn thick and glossy. Keep whipping on high until the bottom of the bowl cools down (you'll feel it hot to the touch) When the mix cools down, add in your pads of butter one at a time while it continues to mix on high speed.
You'll see it go through some very scary stages but do not fear and trust the process. Just keep adding the butter one at a time. This emulsion process takes a while! By the time you're done adding the butter, the buttercream will begin to fluff up and whip into a delicious cream. Switch to a paddle attachment and let it whip at medium speed for about 15 minutes which will help smooth it out. It's ready to use! Finally!
Once the cake layers are cooled, slice them with a sharp (Not serrated) knife in half horizontally. Put the bottom piece on a cake board and put a butter cream border around the rim of the cake. Fill the middle with cannoli cream. Repeat this until the layers are stacked and filled. I have videos of this on my Instagram.
• Ice the cake smooth with the Italian meringue buttercream. I did a shell border at the bottom to make it cute. Let it set in the fridge while you make the ganache.
For the chocolate ganache:
• 1 cup of heavy cream
• 16oz of semi sweet chocolate
• Place chopped chocolate in a medium sized bowl. Bring heavy cream to a simmer/boil in a small sauce pan. Pour over chopped chocolate and stir until fully melted and glossy. Pour onto the middle of the cake and smooth out with a spatula so it drips over the side. It will set quickly. I put extra chocolate chips on top and topped with a cannoli that I made from scratch. You could buy one, but if you have leftover cannoli cream you could whip some up at home. Stay tuned for the cannoli shell recipe I'm working on.
I hope this was a thorough explanation of a labor intensive but amazing cake. Let me know if I forgot anything or if you have questions!