When I first saw the enticingly named recipe for "Sicilian love cake" in "Enough Already: Learning to Love the Way I Am Today" by Valerie Bertinelli, I had no idea what a moist, magical chocolate creation I had come across. I just knew it began with a box mix, which is always a fine place to start.
Like the hot fudge cake or the St. Louis gooey cake, the Sicilian love cake is a little bit of culinary magic. A cheesecake-ish filling is spooned atop a regular old chocolate cake mix batter. The filling sinks as the cake bakes, transforming the entire dessert into something new and amazing. What's more, it gets topped with a chocolate pudding frosting. The end result is a sheet cake guaranteed to make any crowd swoon.
Bertinelli makes her Sicilian love cake with mascarpone. Though mascarpone is one of the most delicious foods on Earth, I chose to omit it in my "Quick & Dirty" version. It would have added another ingredient to my shopping list — and $12 to the cost of my cake. If you're feeling flush, feel free to follow Bertinelli's original equation.
I used the same bowl for all three separate elements of my cake, but you have permission to dirty up as many bowls as you like. If you're serving a smaller group, simply leave half the cake unfrosted and freeze it for later. You won't regret having extra Sicilian love cake in your freezer on a rainy day.
Recipe: Sicilian Love Cake
Inspired by Valerie Bertinelli's "Enough Already: Learning to Love the Way I Am Today"
- 1 box chocolate cake mix, plus the ingredients in the directions
- Additional oil, for greasing the pan
- 1 32-ounce tub ricotta cheese
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 box instant chocolate pudding mix
- Preheat the oven according to the directions on the box of cake mix. Coat a 9-by-13-inch pan with oil. In a large bowl, prepare the cake batter (per the directions), pour it into the pan and set the pan aside.
- Combine the ricotta, eggs, sugar and salt in the same bowl and mix until smooth.
- Pour the filling onto the cake pan over the chocolate batter.
- Bake until the cake is firm and the chocolate layer has risen to the top, about 40 minutes. Let the cake cool completely.
- In a bowl, blend the pudding mix and milk until smooth, then frost the cake. Serve it straight out of the pan.
The box of chocolate cake mix that I used calls for 3 eggs and 1/3 cup of oil.
The Sicilian love cake is so good that you can skip the frosting altogether and serve it with just a dusting of confectioner's sugar.
If you're feeling festive, you can also stamp out single portions with cookie cutters and frost them individually.
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