What's better than a cannoli? Cannoli cupcakes topped with whipped ricotta frosting and topped with a mini homemade cannoli!
Why This Recipe Works
These cupcakes are inspired by the flavors of classic cannoli!
I love cannoli because they aren't overly sweet so these cupcakes are flavored with marsala wine and have a subtlety sweet ricotta frosting!
The best thing about homemade cannoli is that they're super versatile, so you can have whatever flavor combo you want!
For these cannoli cupcakes, I did a plain ricotta filling and just added different toppings to the mini cannoli, but the toppings are even better mixed in!
Some classic flavors are:
- Mini chocolate chips
- Chopped hazelnuts
- Chopped pistachios
- Candied fruit (candied orange peel is a popular choice)
- Espresso (add 1 tablespoon of espresso powder to the filling)
Whatever flavor you want, just add it into the frosting or sprinkle on top!
- Marsala wine - Cannoli dough is traditionally made with marsala, but you can substitute any dry white wine (like sherry).
- Whole milk ricotta cheese - The creamy ricotta filling is what makes cannoli so good! Whole milk ricotta has the best flavor and typically isn't as watery as skim varieties. But even whole milk ricotta needs to be strained so that you don't end up with soggy cannoli. You can also swap out the ricotta for mascarpone cheese!
- Mascarpone cheese - Mascarpone is an Italian cheese that's very similar to American cream cheese. It's smooth and soft but more neutral in flavor compared to tangy cream cheese. And in my opinion, that mild flavor makes it much more versatile! We use it in the frosting to help stabilize the ricotta!
How to Strain Ricotta
Since ricotta contains a lot of water, it needs to be strained before whipping into frosting.
- Medium sized bowl
Place a strainer over a bowl and then lay a cheesecloth inside the strainer. Gently spread the ricotta into an even layer. Loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator. Let the ricotta cheese strain overnight (at least 8-12 hours).
Cupcake Decorating Tips
- Make sure you let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting!!
- To decorate all of my cakes and cupcakes, I use this Wilton Decorating Kit and I love it! It’s super easy to use and has a ton of tips in different sizes. For these cannoli cupcakes, I used the 1M tip.
- After frosting, garnish with a mini homemade cannoli!
Since these have a ricotta frosting, they're best eaten the same day! However, you can store the unfrosted cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days and store the frosting in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Yes!! I know it's an extra step, but it's what will keep your cupcakes from getting soggy!
Yes! You can buy Cannoli shells at some specialty stores or online.
More Cake & Cupcake Recipes
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- 8 ounces ricotta cheese, strained
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 12 cup cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
- Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the melted butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract together until combined.
- Stir in about half of the flour mixture, then stir in the milk and marsala wine. Then the rest of the flour mixture and mix until fully combined. The batter will be thin.
- Pour about ¼ cup of batter into each cupcake liner (they should be about halfway full). Bake at 350°F for 18-22 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Remove from pan and let cool on wire rack. Let cupcakes cool completely before filling and frosting.
- Add the strained ricotta, mascarpone, powdered sugar, and vanilla to a large bowl. Using a hand mixer, whip the frosting until it's fully combined and smooth.
- Frost cooled cupcakes. I used a 1M tip for these photos. Garnish with mini cannoli!