Cassata and a Bakeanistas Party

First of all, I want to pay my respects to Sher’s family. I didn’t have the opportunity to come across Sher’s blog until after the unfortunate event of last Sunday. But while reading her posts I can understand why her death was a big blow to the food blog-o-sphere. A lovely tribute was written by Glenna, one of her closest friends. If you didn’t know Sher, I am sure that post will show you a little bit of the great person and friend she was. Bon voyage, Sher.

Isn’t that illustration amazing? We have to thank Ximena (I don’t have her link, please help!) for that. But what the heck is Bakeanistas, you might be wondering. Well, we are a group of friends (very informal) who like to get together online to bake tasty treats. Have you ever tried to type and make cake icing at the same time? You should try it sometime, it’s a lot of fun.  This month, after a gazillion emails back and forth, we decided to make Cassata alia Sicilian. But before I continue, let me introduce you to the crazy brave members of our little group:

The bakeanistas that got together this month were Mary (she couldn’t join us in the baking, but she gave us moral support all the way through), John, Marce, Helen, Kelly, Chris, Ivonne, Stephanie, Lisa and me. Unfortunately, Sara, Laura, and Tanna couldn’t join us this time. We also had a special guest, Halley of King Arthur Flour’s Test Kitchen, she was a lot of fun to bake with too.

On with the cake! I am getting there, don’t despair. Like I mentioned before we made Cassata alia Siciliana, a gorgeous cheese filled and rum soaked cake that tasted even better. You can get the recipe with pictures of the process on Chris’ blog. This is how mine ended up looking:

Isn’t that gorgeous? I love the rustic look of the cake, actually any rustic food is fine with me. The cake is made with 2 sponge cakes cut in half (so you get 4 layers), a ricotta cheese, orange zest, pistachio and chocolate filling, a rum syrup (probably my favorite part) and a kind of royal icing. The recipe suggests to garnish it with sliced roasted almonds, maraschino cherries and candied orange zest, but since I didn’t have any of them I topped it with fresh strawberries and roasted peanuts.

But how did it taste? A lot better than it looks, believe me. I had friends over Sunday night (we get together every once in a while to cook, but that’s another story) and even the ones who are lactose intolerant couldn’t say no to a piece of the cake. I still have some leftovers in my fridge that I am not planning on eating, would you like a piece?

Buen provecho!


  • Oh my!!! “Hello Gorgeous” is right!! That is truly spectacular looking. Didn’t overlook ya, published then edited again, so you musta checked it out between edits. Hugs at ya!!!!!!!!

  • Ben, the strawberry-peanut topping looks fabulous!! If I liked fruit in/on things, I’d be all over that. Or, it’d be all over me…

  • Ben, take a look at this post in the Google feed reader. The links from the images don’t work correctly. Not sure if there’s anything you can do about it, but it can be confusing to people who don’t publish their own feeds.

  • Cassata Cake is my favorite, favorite, favorite cake. I’ll have to look up your recipe. What a fun project!

  • Oh that cake looks wonderful. perfect for an evening with friends.Thanks for your support this week.

  • Gorgeous cake Ben. You did a wonderful job. Boy I bet it was tasty.

  • Ben, I am so loving those berries and nuts on that cake. And I’ve revised my evaluation to say that there is absolutely NOTHING rustic about that cake. In fact, now that I think of it, it looks….a bit……FRENCH! Heh heh.

    Yummers, huh? We’re licking our plates over this luscious bit of wonderfulness. Glad you were able to share it with your friends! Mwah.

  • Oh my Ben! What a gorgeous creation! Rustic or not I’d have a slice or two, or three….

  • oooooooh! I love what you did…. I would start from the center and work my way down…no hands! :) And, thanks for linking to my steps….You’re the best!

  • I’m saddened by the loss of Sher and appreciate your sharing some awareness around this tragic event.

    On a brighter note – love the cake and it sounds like the Bakeanistas are an insane (in a good way) group – what fun.
    So, forgive me, I’m a little slow on the draw – for your baking event – you’re basically running twice a month on the 7th and the 21st? Is that correct? So you’re actually running two roundups per month?

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