Cannoli Cake Recipe

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Hooray! We have an amazing  homemade Cannoli Cake to share, and this impressive dessert is easier than you think.  If you love a good cannoli, or even if you've never had one, put this recipe on your must-make list!
Moist and Delicious Cannoli Cake Recipe
Our homemade cannoli cake is bursting with flavor from the moist homemade vanilla cake layers to the creamy chocolate chip cannoli filling, and cinnamon whipped cream frosting.
We wrapped the outside of the cake in pirouettes, which not only adds a little drama, but makes decorating the cake just about as easy as it gets!
Cannoli Cake Recipe Image

What is a Cannoli?

Cannoli is a  popular Italian pastry that consists of a tube-shaped shell of fried pastry dough filled with a creamy filling of sweetened cheese.

For additional flavor, there are a variety of popular add-ins, from chocolate chips to chopped nuts or candied fruit! There are so many wonderful variations and I'm getting hungry just thinking about it!


Ricotta Cheese vs. Mascarpone? 

As I mentioned above, cannoli are filled with a delicious sweetened cheese filling. Traditionally, the filling is made from ricotta cheese, however mascarpone has also become a popular option for it's creamier texture.

Ricotta has a slightly grainy texture as well as a higher moisture content which can make using it as a filling a little trickier.


Cannolo, Cannoli, Cannolis, oh my!

If you have a connection to Italian culture or speak Italian, you know this already... but I was surprised to find that Italians refer to one of these pastries as a cannolo...and the plural is cannoli.

But english speakers often use cannoli as the singular and cannolis as the plural.  Whether you offer me a plate of cannoli or cannolis, it doesn't matter to me- I'm just going to be happy!

Slice of Cannoli Cake

How to Make a Cannoli Cake

Start by baking three 8 inch vanilla cake layers according to our instructions. If you are baking well in advance, you can freeze the freshly baked layers by wrapping them with plastic wrap while still slightly warm, them follow with foil.

These will keep in the freezer for up to a few months!  When ready to use, simply thaw the wrapped layers on the counter top for 30 minutes or so until condensation has formed on the wrapping and the cakes begin to soften.

Next, for the delicious Mascarpone Filling! Just the sound of it sounds amazing, doesn't it? This filling comes together very easily- simply mix it with a spoon or spatula along with powdered sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.

We folded in chocolate chips as well. Spread this between your vanilla cake layers as you assemble the cake

Cannoli Cake Filling Recipe

Cinnamon Whipped Cream Frosting

Finally, we made a light and delicious cinnamon whipped cream for our frosting. Don't forget to chill your bowl and whisk attachment in advance so that your heavy cream will cooperate! Whip until stiff peaks form.

We used this whipped cream to lightly frost our cake, and while the flavor is amazing, whipped cream doesn't spread flawlessly as a buttercream or cream cheese frosting would (there are tiny air pockets). So, the pirouettes are the perfect way to finish off the sides of the cake. We finished things off with cinnamon whipped cream piped through a french tip!

*Because of the mascarpone filling and whipped cream frosting, you'll want to keep this cake refrigerated until close to serving time.

We hope that this recipe becomes a new favorite for your family and friends! Enjoy!

Cannoli Cake Recipe
Cannoli Cake Recipe

Cannoli Cake

A delicious scratch Cannoli Cake recipe! Three moist vanilla cake layers with chocolate chip mascarpone filling!
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For the Cake

  • 1 ½ sticks 170g unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 2 cups 400g sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups 342g cake flour (spooned into measuring cup and leveled off)
  • 2 teaspoons 8g baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon 3g baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon 3g salt
  • 1 ¼ cups 296g buttermilk — if you do not have buttermilk, see substitution below
  • 1 Tablespoon 12g vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup 54g vegetable oil

For the Mascarpone Filling

  • 2 8-ounce Containers Mascarpone Cheese
  • ½ cup 41g powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon 12g vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the Cinnamon Whipped Cream

  • 2 cups 484g heavy cream or whipping cream
  • ¼ cup 61g powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

For Decorations

  • Two containers of Pirouettes
  • Chocolate Chips for Garnish


For the Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, grease and flour three 8x2 inch round pans.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt for 30 seconds. Set aside
  • In another bowl, add the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of your mixer, add the butter and mix at medium speed until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and continue to mix on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes until lightened in color and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time mixing until the yellow of the yolk disappears.
  • Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients (3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 of liquid).
  • Do not mix above medium speed or over mix the cake batter.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with just few crumbs attached. Let cool 10 minutes and turn out.

For the Mascarpone Filling

  • Using a spoon or spatula mix by hand the mascarpone, powdered sugar and vanilla and cinnamon. Fold in the chocolate chips. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • For the Cinnamon Whipped Cream
  • Chill the mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Add the cream, powdered sugar and cinnamon to the chilled bowl. With the mixer on medium speed beat until stiff peaks form. Watch the entire time as this can happen in just a few minutes.
  • Assembly
  • After filling our vanilla cake layers with the mascarpone filling, we frosted the cake with the cinnamon whipped cream frosting. Before pressing the pirouettes into the sides of the cake, we first trimmed them down with a serrated knife so they wouldn't be as tall. This is an optional step.
  • Then, we used a french piping tip to pipe stars around the top edge of the cake which we garnished with chocolate chips. Any large star tip will do. We used a Wilton 8B.


Substitution for Buttermilk: No Buttermilk? Here is a substitution: To a measuring cup, add 1 Tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice. Add milk to the 1 ¼ mark, stir. Wait 5 minutes and it is ready to use.
This homemade Cannoli Cake Recipe is so moist and flavorful with Vanilla Cake Layers, Chocolate Chip Mascarpone Filling, and Cinnamon Whipped Cream!

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  1. Hi!
    Thank you for the recipe. I made it today and the cake looks great! However, I feel that there isn't much taste with the filling. I don't have a sweet tooth but it wasn't sweet enough. I wondered if I had done somethng wrong... What does it suppose to taste like?


  2. Hi Kim, I'm sorry you had a problem. It will be soft but not runny. The mascarpone should be kept refrigerated until ready to mix the ingredients together. You can make the filling in advance and refrigerate until ready to use. Once the cake is completed it should be refrigerated because of the perishable ingredients.

  3. Hi! I am going to make this cake for a friend. Couple questions. Serving tomorrow, I have 8 inch square pans, as I only had 2 of the round, this should be ok? I was unable to find any of the cookies, but she LOVES whipped cream frosting, should I wait to frost until tomorrow or will the whipped cream/cinnamon be ok overnight. I am planning on storing in the fridge, once made? any help would be great!

  4. Hi Sharon, This recipe makes 7 1/2 to 8 cups of batter. An 8 inch round pan can hold 3 cups of batter. Eight inch square pans hold 4 cups of batter so you will only need to use 2 square pans. You can complete the cake the night before your event. The whipped cream frosting will deflate just a tiny bit, not enough to be a problem. The cake is perishable so refrigerate until 1 1/2 hours before serving so the cake will not be quite as cold. I hope you enjoy the recipe

  5. My daughter requested a cannoli cake for her birthday. Do you think I can use this recipe with 2 9x13 pans instead of 3 8 inch?

  6. Hi Christine, I think this recipe makes approx. 7 1/2 cups batter. You will need at least 7 cups batter for one 9x13 sheet cake. So the recipe as written can be made in thee 8 inch rounds, (2) 9 inch rounds or (1) 9x13 pan.

    1. Thanks for the advice! Doubled the cake and frosting recipe. Used the filling as is. Probably could have used a bit more filling but then would have been too much. Thank you!

    1. Hi Lydia- this recipe makes about 7.5 cups of batter. Each cupcake is approximately 1/4 cup batter. So, this recipe would make about 30 cupcakes.