Classic versions of cassata involve a covering of marzipan or
tinted royal icing, or both. For a lighter version we've skipped
that extra sweetness and opted instead for a coating of grated
1 tbspMarsala, plus extra for brushing750 gmfirm ricottaCoarsely grated dark chocolate, pure icing sugar and raspberries, to serveSponge cake6eggs220 gm (1 cup)caster sugar220 gm (1½ cups)plain flourFinely grated rind of ½ lemonPinch of ground cinnamonRicotta filling500 gmfirm ricotta80 gmcaster sugar80 gmdark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped80 gmmixed glacé fruits, such as cedro, glacé clementine, and glacé orange, diced45 gm (⅓ cup)coarsely chopped pistachio nuts1 tbspMarsala1 tspvanilla bean pasteFinely grated rind of ½ orange
For sponge cake, preheat oven to 180°C and butter a 21cm-diameter cake tin and a 27cm x 37cm Swiss roll tin and line each with baking paper. Whisk eggs, sugar and a pinch of salt in an electric mixer until pale and tripled in volume (4-5 minutes). Sift in flour in two batches and fold to combine, then fold in lemon rind and cinnamon. Divide batter evenly between tins, smooth tops, and bake until golden brown and centres spring back when lightly pressed with a fingertip (12-15 minutes for Swiss roll; 15-20 minutes for round cake). Cool cakes completely.
For the ricotta filling, mix ingredients in a bowl and chill until required.
Trim top of round cake flush, halve horizontally and place a
cake round in the base of a clean 21cm-diameter cake tin lined with baking paper. Cut two 4cm x 30cm strips from the rectangular cake and use to line the sides of the tin to form a hollow (there will be some cake left over), then brush cake lightly with Marsala. Spoon in ricotta mixture and smooth so it’s flush with the sides. Brush cut-side of remaining cake round lightly with Marsala and place Marsala-side down on ricotta filling. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for flavours to develop (1-2 hours or overnight), then unmould.
Stir ricotta and Marsala in a bowl until smooth, spread over sides of cake and press grated chocolate onto sides. Dust top with icing sugar and serve topped with raspberries.