Cannoli Cupcakes

Whisking Wolf
by Whisking Wolf
18 servings
45 min
Cannoli Cupcakes

Holy Cannoli, you’re going to love these Cannoli Cupcakes! Light, fluffy from-scratch cupcakes are crowned with an amazing cannoli cream frosting featuring sweetened ricotta and mini chocolate chips. Bake a batch today and enjoy this delicious twist on your favorite Italian dessert.

How do you tell someone you love cannoli without telling them you love cannoli? Ask the attorney who just drew up my Will, which included a Letter of Final Wishes insisting my dead body be embalmed with cannoli cream instead of formaldehyde. You could also ask the notary who stamped that document’s delicious details or the gallery worker I paid to frame it. Even the local undertaker knows that my corpse is going to be pumped so full of ricotta and powdered sugar that it’ll be coming out of my ears.

Frankly, I can’t think of a sweeter way to go out. Unless, of course, the crematorium throws my body in their oven for a few minutes then bakes me until I’m golden brown and crispy like a cannoli shell. In that case, I’ll go to my grave tasting like a Sicilian pastry and posthumously say ‘bite me and bon appétit’ at the same time.

To save a few bucks on funeral expenses, I’m going to start filling my body with cannoli cream while I’m still alive–starting with my mouth. Which is why I just whipped up a batch of vanilla cupcakes and topped them with homemade cannoli frosting. If you’ve never had cannoli frosting, let me tell you, it tastes like you’ve died and gone to Italian dessert heaven. I’m talking about homemade whipped cream combined with sweetened ricotta, mini chocolate chips plus hints of cinnamon and orange zest. Plus, there’s no piping required, just plop the frosting on top of a cupcake with a spoon and call it a day. A delicious, indulgent day.

Before sharing the recipe for Cannoli Cupcakes, here are a few baking tips to help you out:

Ingredient Tips

Cake flour gives cupcakes a tender, fluffy texture. If you don’t have this ingredient on hand then you can make a cake flour substitute using all-purpose flour and cornstarch. For this cupcake recipe, measure 1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour into a bowl then remove 2 1/2 Tablespoons of flour. Next, add 2 1/2 Tablespoons of cornstarch to the bowl of flour then sift the mixture 3 times. Do not skip the sifting step since it’s essential for aerating the flour.

If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make a sour milk substitution by stirring 1/2 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice into 1/2 cup of whole milk and letting it set for 5 minutes before use.

Ricotta must be drained overnight to remove excess moisture. Do not skip this step! To drain, place a mesh strainer over a small bowl then line strainer with cheesecloth (paper towels will also work). Note: use a bowl deep enough that the strainer does not touch the bottom. Spoon ricotta into the strainer, wrap tightly with cheesecloth then place a heavy object on top to weigh it down (like a jar of jelly). Next, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 8 hours before making frosting.

Preparation Tips

Always use the spoon and level method to measure flour. Scooping overpacks flour into the measuring cup which results in dry, dense cupcakes.

Only fill cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter before baking. Overfilling will cause the batter spill over the liner as it rises in the oven.

If you prefer to pipe cannoli frosting on the cupcakes, do not add the mini chocolate chips to the batter. Even mini chips are too big to fit though a frosting tip. Instead, pipe frosting onto cupcakes then sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.

How to Store Cannoli Cupcakes

Cover and store frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

Freeze unfrosted cupcakes in an airtight container up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before frosting.

I hope you enjoy this Cannoli Cupcakes recipe. Please leave a rating and review after trying it yourself. And, while you’re at it, sign up for my weekly Recipe Newsletter so you never miss a tempting recipe.

Finally, if you like these Italian Cannoli Cupcakes then you’ll love these Neapolitan Cupcakes. Inspired by a trio of classic ice cream flavors, these treats combine chocolate and vanilla in soft, fluffy cupcakes topped with strawberry frosting.

Neapolitan cupcakes
Recipe details
  • 18  servings
  • Prep time: 25 Minutes Cook time: 20 Minutes Total time: 45 min
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Cannoli Cupcakes
  • 1 1/4 cup cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt fine
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract pure
  • 1/2 cup full fat sour cream room temperature
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk room temperature
Cannoli Cream Frosting
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 cups full fat ricotta drained overnight
  • 1 cup powdered sugar packed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract pure
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest freshly grated
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Cannoli Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add paper liners to a cupcake pan then set aside.
Add cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to a mixing bowl. Whisk until combined then set aside.
Beat unsalted butter and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until creamy and smooth — approximately 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
Beat in eggs and vanilla until incorporated.
Add sour cream then beat until combined.
Reduce mixer speed to low then add dry ingredients to wet. Beat until just combined-–no longer or cupcakes will be dry.
Pour buttermilk into the bowl then continue beating on low until batter is lump free. Avoid overmixing.
Spoon batter into cupcake liners, filling 2/3 of the way.
Bake cupcakes for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Avoid overbaking.
Allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes then remove cupcakes and place on a baking rack to cool completely before frosting.
Once baking pan has cooled completely, repeat baking process for remaining batter.
Cannoli Cream Frosting
Beat heavy whipping cream and cream of tartar with an electric mixer until firm peaks form. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk drained ricotta until smooth.
Sift powdered sugar into the bowl of ricotta then whisk until combined.
Add vanilla, cinnamon and orange zest. Whisk until incorporated.
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in whipped cream and mini chocolate chips. Avoid overmixing, the goal is to keep as much air in the cream as possible.
Place frosting in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill.
Using a large spoon, dollop frosting onto cupcakes.
Serve immediately or loosely cover cupcakes with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator up to 3 days.
Whisking Wolf
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