Slice of Cassata Cake

CUSSata Cake (Italian-inspired cake with Strawberries and Ricotta cream)

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CUSSata Cake  (Italian-inspired cake with Strawberries and Ricotta cream)

CUSSata Cake? …. F*** YES!

Our Cuss Kitchen CUSSata cake is a simplified version of the classic Italian cake that gives you delicious Ricotta cheese, and fresh strawberry layers. While the traditional Cassata cake recipe was made for Easter, the CUSSata cake makes a delicious and light dessert for any Holiday.  Especially beautiful while strawberries are in season.

Where do Cassata Cakes come from?

The Italian Cassata or the original Sicilian Cassata cakes may date back to the 9th or 10th century.  The original version of the cake included a rum -soaked sponge cake with sweetened Ricotta cheese and candied fruit.

Why is it called a Cassata Cake?

Cassata comes from the Latin word for cheese.  Old documents show the cake was made by both nuns for Easter and Sicilian Jews for Purim; they called it cassati. Perhaps the name is borrowed from an old Italian Casiata, egg and cheese pastry, featuring cascio cheese?  It is also possible that the Cassata takes its name from the Arabic qas’at meaning “basin”, perhaps because of its round shape.
What is the Cleveland Cassata Cake?
As a young bride in Chesterland, OH, I discovered the Cleveland Cassata Cake.- and it quickly became a staple for many family parties.  I have moved to many states since, and was always surprised that I could no longer find them.  So I absolutely had to develop my own.

The Cleveland, Ohio “Cassata Cake” uniquely refers to a layered yellow cake soaked in rum or rum syrup, filled with fresh strawberries and custard, and usually decorated with whipped cream and sliced strawberries.  It first appeared in the early 1920s at LaPuma Spumoni & Bakery in Cleveland. The children of the owners did not like the traditional sweetened ricotta and candied fruit.  Tomasso LaPuma made some changes and developed what was to become known as the Cleveland Cassata Cake. The fifth generation of this bakery, now located in the city’s eastern suburb of Chesterland, still continues to make the original Cleveland version, as do many other Italian bakeries in the area

The ‘Cussata’   Here’s what the cake looks like after layer 1:

CUSSata Cake with Ricotta and Strawberry filling

Slice of Cassata Cake
5 from 1 vote

CUSSata Cake

Fresh and moist Italian Cassata Cake
Prep Time40 mins
Active Time28 mins
Assembly Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 38 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: birthday cake, Cassata cake, Cassata Cake recipe, Classic Italian Cake, Cussata cake, Easter Cake, Italian cake, ricotta, ricotta filling, Sicilian Cassata Cake, strawberry dessert
Yield: 12
Author: Hanna Jobs


  • Round 9 inch Cake pans


Cake Mix

  • Your favorite Yellow Cake Mix
  • Oil (as directed by mix)
  • Water (as directed by mix)
  • Eggs (as directed by mix)

Ricotta Filling Milk

  • 1 cup Whole Milk
  • Tbs flour

Ricotta Filling (Rest)

  • 2 sticks Softened Butter
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ cup Ricotta


  • 1 pint Strawberries (Washed, Hulled, and thinly Sliced)

Whipped Cream

  • 1 pint Chilled Heavy Whipping Cream
  • ½ cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract


Preheat the oven as described in cake mix instructions

    Prepare cake in two 8 inch Rounds

    • Prepare round pans with grease or cooking spray
    • Blend ingredients as directed by cake mix - Mix well to make a smooth batter
    • Bake in preheated oven as directed by cake mix
    • Carefully remove the cakes from the oven
    • Allow the cakes to cool for at least 30 minutes

    Tempered milk and flour mixture

    • Add the milk to a pot
    • Whisk in the flour, until you have no lumps
    • Turn stove to simmer
    • Keep stirring until milk begins to bubble
    • Turn the stove off
    • Continue stirring another 30 seconds
    • Let the mixture cool for 3-5 minutes

    Mix the Remainder of the Ricotta mix

    • Mix Softened Butter and Sugar together first with an electric mixer
    • Mix in the Lemon Zest, Vanilla, and Ricotta
    • Mix in Tempered Milk and Flour mixture
    • Chill until you are ready to use. (refrigerate for at least 30 minutes)

    Make Whipping Cream

    • Add Chilled Heavy cream, Sugar, and Vanilla to a large bowl
    • Combine ingredients using a standing mixer, with wire whip or beaters. Start at low speed
    • Increase the mixing speed slowly, to high speed, as the cream starts to firm up
    • Beat for 60-90 seconds or until you see stiff peaks form

    Assembling the Cake

    • Carefully take the flattest round out of the pan, and place it on a cake board or plate
    • Cover the cooled cake with ½ of the Ricotta Mix. Cover to the edge of the cake
    • Add ½ of the washed ,dried, and thinly sliced Strawberries to the top of the Ricotta Mix
    • Place the second layer of cake on top
    • Cover with the remaining Ricotta Mix
    • Place remaining sliced Strawberries on top of the new layer of Ricotta Mix
    • Cover the top and sides of cake with the Whipped Cream topping
    • Decorate the cake with Strawberries
    • Refrigerate your cake until ready to serve


    You could use Cool Whip- Make sure it is cool, but not frozen. If you microwave Cool-Whip, it often becomes a drippy mess

    Be sure to stick with your Milk, while tempering… Don’t let it burn- or you may be adding extra CUSS words to the process!

    While Cassata cakes are traditionally Strawberry, you could Mix it up with your favorite fruit…maybe blueberry or peach?

    Perfect Pairing

    How about a delicious Strawberry Mojito with your cake?  Try our Skinny Whore-jito:

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