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!


  • Rustic? Dude if that’s your attempt at rustic, I want to see how well you can bake when you actually try. I think the cake is fantastic looking. The nuts and frosting accent it perfectly. Write this down… Rum works wonders 🙂

  • HAR! ‘kay sweetie, you need to look up the word “rustic” in the dictionary because your cake does NOT look rustic, it looks STUNNING! What a beautiful job you did, sweets! I really love the berry/nut combo – not only does it look gorgeous but it sounds really good too!

    Hugs and smoochies

  • Ben,

    If that is rustic then I can’t wait to see “polished”! I had so much fun just chatting with you guys. I wish I could have baked. It was all I could do not get up and do it, regardless!

    BTW, Ximena is the genius behind Lobstersquad (

    Can’t wait until we party again!!


  • This dessert is truly amazing Ben:D

  • This looks awesome! 🙂 Cassata is one of my favorite cakes of ALL TIME. I just love it and it is quite an undertaking.

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