Cannoli Cupcakes

Inspired by the classic Italian pastry, this isn’t just an ordinary cupcake recipe. These Cannoli Cupcakes are a labor of love and an art form. Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes filled with a sweet and creamy Cannoli Filling, topped with Ricotta Buttercream Frosting and decorated with a homemade mini cannoli.

Cannoli is a traditional Italian dessert. And it’s made by filling crispy pastry shells with sweetened ricotta cheese and garnishing with chocolate chips, candied fruit, or pistachios.

It’s a mouthwatering treat that has gained popularity worldwide, and now it has been reinvented in the form of cupcakes.

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cupcakes topped with frosting and coated with mini chocolate chips, topped with a mini cannoli.

This recipe was initially supposed to be published on my book Fantastic Filled Cupcakes, but the whole chapter in which this recipe was included was taken out of the book due to space.

Later, that recipe got published to a bonus ebook containing all recipes from that chapter. And slowly I am publishing them here to my website.

I have also published another recipe from that chapter, these Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes. Stay tuned for more to come.

cupcakes topped with frosting and coated with mini chocolate chips, topped with a mini cannoli.

How to make Cannoli Cupcakes

Cannoli cupcakes are made of vanilla cake batter that’s baked into fluffy cupcakes. Use a cupcake corer or a small spoon to remove the center of the cupcakes to create a space for the cannoli filling.

To make the filling, simply whip ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla bean or vanilla extract. It’s a creamy mixture that has a slight tangy flavor and a hint of sweetness.

After filling the cupcakes with the cannoli filling, it’s time to top them off with a delicious ricotta buttercream frosting. Make the frosting by whipping together unsalted butter, ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.

It has a slightly tangy taste and a creamy texture that complements the cannoli filling perfectly.

cupcakes with cannoli filling, cut in half, topped with a mini cannoli.

To put the final touch on these delectable cupcakes, top them with a mini cannoli.

Of course, you can go the store-bought route and buy the cannoli to top these cupcakes, or even skip them altogether. You can decorate the cupcakes with mini chocolate chips, or chopped pistachios, and call it a day.

However, there is something so rewarding and satisfying about baking an over-the-top dessert such as this one. And I don’t just mean the joy in bringing delight to those you love as they are presented with such a scrumptious treat, but also the fun you will have along the way during your baking project.

cupcakes topped with frosting and coated with mini chocolate chips, topped with a mini cannoli.

I love these Cannoli Cupcakes because they can be fairly easy to make if you skip the homemade cannoli pastry. Technically you don’t need the cannoli on top to decorate the cupcake. You can skip it, or use store-bought cannoli.

The frosting combined with the vanilla cupcakes and the chocolate chips, or chopped pistachios will already make you feel like you are eating a delicious cannoli in the form of cupcake anyway.

cupcakes topped with frosting and coated with topped pistachios, topped with a mini cannoli.

Important tip when making Cannoli Cupcakes

The most important tip I can give you when making this recipe is about the ricotta.

Whenever making the ricotta frosting or the cannoli filling, consider draining the ricotta through a cheesecloth. Place the ricotta in a strainer lined with cheesecloth, fold the cheesecloth over the ricotta, and place something heavy on top.

Put in the fridge for a few hours or overnight to let the ricotta drain, this way you won’t need as much powdered sugar to firm up the consistency of the filling and the frosting, and they will have a much better texture.

Of course, you can always make your own ricotta. Find out how to make ricotta from scratch here.

cupcakes topped with frosting and coated with mini chocolate chips, topped with a mini cannoli.

If you like this recipe for Cannoli Cupcakes, here are some more recipes you may enjoy:

cupcakes with cannoli filling, cut in half, topped with a mini cannoli.

If you’re a fan of cannoli, then you’ll definitely love these cannoli cupcakes. They’re a delightful fusion of classic Italian flavors and American-style cupcakes. And they are perfect for any occasion, whether it be a birthday party, a family gathering or just a sweet treat for yourself.

cupcakes topped with frosting and coated with mini chocolate chips, topped with a mini cannoli.

Cannoli Cupcakes

Camila Hurst
These Cannoli Cupcakes are fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes, filled with a sweet and creamy Cannoli Filling, topped with Ricotta Buttercream Frosting and decorated with a homemade mini cannoli.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 18 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 18 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 14 cupcakes
Calories 390 kcal

Ingredients
  

Vanilla Cupcakes
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 191 g
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature (113 g)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 200 g
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk at room temperature (120 ml)
Ricotta Buttercream Frosting
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature (113 g)
  • 2/3 cup whole milk ricotta 162 g
  • 3 cups powdered sugar sifted (375 g)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Cannoli Filling
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk ricotta 306 g
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted 41 g
  • 1/2 vanilla bean split and seeds scraped
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
To decorate
  • 1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped pistachios

Instructions
 

Vanilla Cupcakes
  • To make the Vanilla Cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350ºF and line 14 cupcake tins with cupcake liners.
  • In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed for about 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and beat for another 1 to 2 minutes, until creamy and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing each egg until combined before adding the next. Add the vanilla and mix.
  • Add one third of the dry ingredient mixture. Mix on low speed until incorporated.
  • Add half of the milk, mix to combine.
  • Add another third of the dry ingredients and mix.
  • Follow by the remaining milk.
  • Lastly, add the last third of the dry ingredients and fold with a rubber spatula, or stir on low speed until incorporated.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners, filling them about two-thirds of the way.
  • Bake for about 18 minutes. Start checking the cupcakes at the 15-minute mark, and keep baking and checking as necessary. To see if the cupcakes are ready, gently press with your finger on top of the cupcakes, and if they spring right back, that means they are done baking. Let the cupcakes cool before filling and frosting.
Ricotta Buttercream Frosting
  • To make the Ricotta Buttercream Frosting, in a bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until fluffy and creamy. Add the ricotta and beat on medium for another minute, until combined. With the mixer off, add the sifted powdered sugar, then mix on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for another minute. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
Cannoli Filling
  • To make the Cannoli Filling, line a strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth. Place the ricotta in the strainer and drain it, squeezing lightly to remove any excess liquid.
  • Leave the ricotta straining for about 30 minutes or so, depending on how much liquid the brand of ricotta you are using has. Make sure the ricotta is on the firm side before using it to make the filling.
  • In a bowl, mix together the strained ricotta, powdered sugar, vanilla bean seeds and vanilla extract.
To assemble
  • To assemble the cupcakes, use a spoon to remove the center of each cupcake. Place the Cannoli Filling in a piping bag and snip the end with scissors. Pipe some of the filling into the middle of each cupcake.
  • Place the Ricotta Buttercream Frosting in a piping bag fitted with the piping tip of choice. Pipe the frosting over the cupcakes. I rolled the sides of the frosting in mini chocolate chips or chopped pistachios.
  • Pipe the Cannoli Filling into the Cannoli Shells, and then decorate the cupcakes with a mini cannoli. I recommend only piping the filling into the shells right before you are about to serve them, or up to 3 hours before, because the shells can get soggy if they sit with the filling for too long.
  • You can also dust the top with powdered sugar before serving.
  • The cupcakes can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 4 days.

Notes

Find the Cannoli Shell recipe here. You won’t need to make the filling, as the cannoli filling recipe listed here will be enough to fill the cannoli and the cupcakes.
Keyword cannoli, cupcakes

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