Fed up with the traditional French cuisine I've been inflicting on you lately? We'll come back to it, don't worry *smirk*. Instead here comes a slice of Sicily. Four slices of génoise biscuit, actually, with ricotta cream, grated chocolate and loads of candied goodness.

cassata

In the buff (à poil). Sexy thing.

I have been blessed with the Infallible Génoise Touch©, a quality envied by princes and laughed at by cretins. My mom goes on and on about how she once baked a rock-hard brick out of a génoise because she folded the flour in too energetically. So far I have been preserved from such a curse, let's keep it this way, shall we.

Traditional Cassata is usually covered in marzipan, but I thought that trading it for chocolate, in this festive period, would be a lesser evil. Some bloggers went for a Chantilly approach and weren't flogged on Times Square for that (I can't think of a worse torture. Except maybe being pilloried on Times Square on New Year's Eve). You can also spike the cream with orange-flavoured alcohols such as Triple Sec, Grand Marnier or Curacao, and even soak the sponge cake with a syrup made with one of the aforementioned. You booze-head (espèce de poivrot).

Génoise was made by whipping 4 eggs, 125g of sugar, and a fat pinch of salt in a warm bowl until it tripled in size, and then by folding in (gently, in case you don't have the IGT©) 100g of sifted flour and 25g of corn starch. It was baked in a lined deep rectangular pan known to the French as "moule à cake", for 30 minutes at 190°C. No conversions in cups and Farenheits for you today. After it had cooled, it was sliced in flour longitudinally. With a serrated bread knive. Not as inconsequential a detail as you may think.

I prepared the cassata cream by whipping a pound of ricotta cheese with 2tbsp of sugar and 2tbsp of mascarpone, and mixed in diced citron and orange peel and about 70g of grated chocolate. Do yourself a favour darling, freeze the chocolate beforehand and you won't get sticky fingers from grating it.

When the cake is cool enough, layer it with the cream straight on the serving plate, ice it with marzipan/chocolate/Chantilly cream, and refrigerate for 24 hours.

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I said cassata, not cassanta. Besides Christmas is, like, way over (ça fait un bail que c'est fini, Noël).

Get your fluffy mittens off my cake, you old fogey (vire tes mouffles velues de mon gâteau, vieux croûlant).