Cannoli Cupcakes

I love being challenged in the kitchen. Making cannoli cupcakes might not seem like a huge challenge, but it ended up being harder than expected. My friend M’s bridal shower was a few weeks ago at an Italian restaurant. I had offered to bake cupcakes for the event, and it was decided that cannoli cupcakes would be a perfect fit.

So back to why this was such a challenge. First of all, I don’t really like cannolis, maybe I’m weird, but they’re just not my thing. Good thing cannolis are one of Hubby’s favorite desserts, so at least I had an expert on the matter in the house.

Second, I really can’t eat ricotta. There are some dairy-filled foods that I can handle even with my lactose intolerance. And then there are the soft cheeses like mozzarella, brie, cream cheese, and ricotta that are just too much for me.

Third, when I searched the internet for cannoli cupcakes, I didn’t see anything that really won me over. Most of them just had cannoli filling in the cupcake, then a frosting on top. The frosting seemed out of place to me.

But, I like a challenge. So I started by making a test batch. I followed a recipe I found online for some cannoli filling. I filled some yellow cupcakes that I had in the freezer with the filling, then topped them with some leftover Swiss meringue buttercream that I had from some previous cupcakes. Then I gave one to Hubby. He said they didn’t scream cannoli and the filling had the wrong consistency. I also had Aimee, Fiona, and Katie taste the test batch. You can’t believe how hard it is to develop a cupcake that you can’t taste test yourself! They agreed that the cupcake was good, but wasn’t quite cannoli-ey enough. We were able to brainstorm some ideas and I also reached out to my baking buddy, Megan.

With the input from all of these lovely bloggers and Hubby, I came up with a concept for the cannoli cupcake that I was confident would work. And boy did it work! I got tons of compliments from the shower guests about the cupcakes.

I started with my favorite yellow cupcakes. After they were completely cooled, I cut a cone out of each one. Some of these cones may or may not have been snacked on while assembling these cupcakes… The rest of the cones were thrown into a ziplock bag and put in the freezer. I like to do this so that I have little pieces of cake around for snacking whenever the craving hits.

Once the cones were cut out, I dipped the cupcakes in ganache. Last, I made a big batch of cannoli filling. Megan had told me about when she made cannolis with the Daring Bakers, so I used that filling recipe. Again, I couldn’t taste test it, so I can’t vouch to the taste myself, but everyone loved it. Instead of just filling the cupcakes with the filling, I just kept going and piped a swirl of frosting all at once to maximize the amount of ricotta filling in the cupcakes (I’ve done this before). And last, I topped with mini chocolate chips to round out the look.

I’d like to thank everyone who helped me come up with this recipe. It was a lot of fun collaborating with other people to come up with something that was really well received!

One Year Ago: Roasted Asparagus and Strawberry Cobbler
Three Years Ago: Blueberry Lemon Cookies, Stuffed Tomatoes, and Cookie Dough Chocolate Ice Cream Cupcakes

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Cannoli Cupcakes

Yield: 24-27 cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the Cannoli Cupcakes
1 batch yellow cupcakes
Chocolate ganache (recipe below)
Ricotta filling (recipe below)
Mini chocolate chips, for decoration

For the Chocolate Ganache
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
6 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped into 1/2-ounce pieces

For the Ricotta Filling
32 ounces ricotta cheese, drained
1 2/3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp grated orange zest

Directions:

For the Chocolate Ganache
Heat the heavy cream and the butter in a saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil.

Place the semisweet chocolate in a stainless steel bowl. Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth.

For the Ricotta Filling
Line a strainer with cheesecloth. Place the ricotta in the strainer over a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Weight it down with a heavy can, and let the ricotta drain in the refrigerator for several hours to overnight.

In a bowl with electric mixer, beat ricotta until smooth and creamy. Beat in confectioners' sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla, and blend until smooth. Transfer to another bowl, and stir in zest. Chill until firm. (The filling can be made up to 24 hours prior to filling the shells. Just cover and keep refrigerated.)

To assemble the cupcakes
Make the ricotta filling in advance. Bake the cupcakes and allow to cool. While cupcakes are cooling, prepare chocolate ganache.

Once cupcakes are completely cooled, use the cone method to remove a cone from the cupcakes.

Dip the tops of each cupcake in the ganache.

Fill and frost the cupcakes with the ricotta filling. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.

Ricotta Filling Recipe as seen on Delicious Dishings

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45 Responses to “Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Brownies”

  1. #
    1
    Becca — September 28, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    These look fantastic and are so festive!

  2. #
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    The Woman — September 28, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Oh my, these look divine! I recently made something similar, but with no chocolate – just a pumpkin batter with cream cheese topping. But I definitely think I must try these too.

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    ABowlOfMush — September 28, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    These are absolutely beautiful!

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    Carrie — September 28, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Look wonderful!

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    oneordinaryday — September 28, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    These look awesome. I just wish it made a bigger pan!

  6. #
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    Jen — September 28, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    They’re pretty rich, but I would imagine you could just double it and make it in a 9×13 pan if you wanted!

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    Ingrid — September 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    I made pumpkin spice brownies on Friday and they were delish so I bet these are EVEN BETTER! Thanks for sharing and I’ll be following your tweaks!
    ~ingrid

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    Justin — September 28, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    i always make a pumpkin cheesecake in the fall with a ginger cookie crumb crust, but i’m liking the chocolate component in your recipe even more.

  9. #
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    Mia — September 28, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    oh yum – love pumpkin, and the chocolate/pumpkin combo looks wonderful!

  10. #
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    Heather@BFM — September 28, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    These look great! Is there a way I can make them non-dairy? Something I can sub the cream cheese for? Thanks!

  11. #
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    Jen — September 28, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    Heather – I’ve had great luck subbing Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese in cheesecake recipes in the past. I think that would definitely work and you could use Earth Balance in the brownie portion. Let me know how it turns out if you try it.

  12. #
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    Jennifer — September 28, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    Hi Jenn! I just wanted to let you know that you won the giveaway on my blog last week. I emailed you, but never got a response. Could you email me your mailing address to jennharton@paducah.com. I have to pass it along to myblogspark so they can send you your prize package!

  13. #
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    Heather@BFM — September 28, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    Thanks, Jen…I’ll let you know how they come out!

  14. #
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    nutmegnanny — September 28, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    OH wow these do look delicious! I love all that swirled pumpkin…yum!

  15. #
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    Nina — September 29, 2009 at 4:29 am

    Those look amazing!

  16. #
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    Irene — September 29, 2009 at 7:14 am

    Wow, I love these! My husband would die of happiness of I made these for him – pumpkin cheesecake is his favorite thing for fall.

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    thereddeer — September 29, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    They look like tiger fur – very cool! What an interesting flavour combination.

  18. #
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    Colleen — September 29, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    We love these at my house! I like your idea of dark chocolate – I will have to try that next time.

  19. #
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    stephchows — September 29, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    beautiful! And they look so delicious!! I agree I don’t normally think of pumpkin with chocolate… but you have me convinced!

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    Stephanie Wagner — September 29, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    The tops of these are a work of art! Love it!

  21. #
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    Nancy @ Live love laugh — September 30, 2009 at 12:34 am

    Three of my favorite thi ngs in one dessert! Chocolate and pumpkin and cheesecake! How perfect…
    ~Nancy

  22. #
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    Nancy @ Live love laugh — September 30, 2009 at 12:34 am

    Three of my favorite thi ngs in one dessert! Chocolate and pumpkin and cheesecake! How perfect…
    ~Nancy

  23. #
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    tagskie — October 1, 2009 at 8:00 am

    hi.. just dropping by here… have a nice day! http://kantahanan.blogspot.com/

  24. #
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    Pantry Raid Blog — October 6, 2009 at 2:58 am

    The side-view shot totally won me over. These look delicious!

  25. #
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    bakingsimplicity — October 6, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    This looks so yummy.
    I now know what to make for the office potluck!

  26. #
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    Skylar Wolfe — October 12, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Those look amazing. I love pumpkin with chocolate, I plan on making these soon.

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    fawkes — October 14, 2009 at 5:14 am

    Your brownies look delicious! I am curious since I would like mine to taste more like pumpkin pie than plain pumpkin should i add pumpkin pie spices or follow your recipe for the spices?
    Thanks!

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    Jen — October 14, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    fawkes – There are a decent amount of spices in the pumpkin portion of the batter. I would recommend making is as the recipe states, then taste it before you pour it into the pan. Maybe then add some pumpkin pie spice if you’d like.

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    lifeoftheparty — October 20, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    I made these over the weekend and they were scrumptious!! I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin but this recipe is now a fall staple. I plan on making them for the family on Thanksgiving…thanks for sharing this!

  30. #
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    strmywthr3 — October 21, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    I made these the other day and they were great! a hit at work! yum! thanks!

  31. #
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    malelanie — October 29, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    I stumbled across your blog from a Facebook friend and made these brownies last night. DELICIOUS!! I doubled the recipe and it does just fit in a 9×13 pan and took about 60 mins to bake. It’s worth the wait for them to be chilled in the fridge. The flavors are even more delicious that way.

  32. #
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    Dorothy — October 29, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    Oh YUM! And gorgeous, to boot. I never thought pumpkin and chocolate go together either, until I tried it! 🙂 Now I’m hooked. Good idea to double up on the cheesecake layer…you can never have enough pumpkin cheesecake after all!

  33. #
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    nutmegnanny — October 30, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Thank you so much for participating in our event! These brownies look amazing. They say Halloween to me for sure!

  34. #
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    Shortcake — November 2, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    I made these– now I love them! Will be repeated each fall 🙂

  35. #
    35
    Lexi — January 4, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Amazing! I loved these so much I played with them a bit and made cranberry cheesecake brownies for my christmas baking.(I didn’t stumble on to these till christmas.) I’ll let you know when I put those up on my blog! With credit to you of course!

  36. #
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    Jen — January 4, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Lexi – cranberry cheesecake brownies sound very intriguing. Can’t wait to see them.

  37. #
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    Kasey — March 3, 2010 at 1:37 am

    Hi Jen! I made these for Heather@BFM’s (comment listed above) birthday and she loved them! Unfortunately I could not find the Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder (I tried 3 stores) so I had to make them with the regular cocoa powder. Can you tell me where you found the Hershey’s Special Dark??

  38. #
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    Jen — March 3, 2010 at 1:57 am

    Kasey – I have actually had a hard time finding it as well. I had actually all but given up on it until one day it caught my eye at the grocery store. I proceeded to buy all three containers. I would say just keep an eye out for it and good luck!

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    Pup Wanna Be — September 28, 2010 at 12:35 am

    1/2 cup of flour seems like very little. Is that correct?

  40. #
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    Jen — September 28, 2010 at 12:50 am

    Pup – Yes, that is the correct amount of flour. Most brownie batters have very little flour in them.

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    rachellehcar — September 29, 2010 at 1:39 am

    Just made these- delicious! I only had the milk chocolate powder, so I’m excited to try it again with the special dark powder.

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    42
    Courtney — September 13, 2012 at 6:35 am

    I doubled the recipe and it perfectly filled a 13×9 pan so you might try it. 🙂 And they are amazing. Also I used margerine not butter and found they were more moist. Happy Baking!

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    alyssajade23 — October 12, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    I made these with my nieces and over all they were pretty good, but something about the pumpkin part tasted off. Still, fun and festive to make!

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