Boston & Cannoli Cupcakes

I traveled to Boston for work this week, a trip I make a few times each year. I always stay in the same cozy bed and breakfast, The Newbury Guest House.
Located right in the heart of Newbury Street in Back Bay, with reasonable rates and fantastic shopping and dining in either direction, it’s the perfect place to stay…even in crummy weather.
I arrived in Boston in the middle of a difficult weather pattern resulting in cool temperatures and a steady drizzle. Even the Hancock Tower was enveloped in fog.
But when I saw that history-seeking tourists on bikes and duck boats weren’t thwarted,
I decided to put on my rain jacket and head out on my own adventure, a culinary one in search of the best cannoli this side of my grandmother’s kitchen. Having been to Boston many times, I knew exactly where to go.
So I took off east on Newbury Street and strolled through the Public Garden,
making way for ducklings, of course.
(Sculpture Tribute to Robert McClusky, Author of ‘Make Way for Ducklings’)
Continuing through Boston Common and past the Granary Burial Ground,
(Established in 1660, Resting Place of John Hancock and Samuel Adams)
the sight of the Freedom Trail let me know I was on the right track!

I passed through Fanueil Hall and Quincy Market,

over the Greenway,

(Final Part of the Big Dig, Opened in 2008)
and there it was, emerging from the fog, Hanover Street, home to the North End. I was getting closer!
Just a few more blocks, past many of the cafes and restaurants in this city’s Little Italy,

was 300 Hanover Street. I had finally arrived at Mike’s Pastry.

With a wide variety of Italian cookies, cannoli, cakes, and pies, I’ve never been there without a line or a difficult choice to make.

But even more challenging than deciding what type of pastries to purchase and have packaged nostalgically in a box secured with strings,

is waiting to get home to eat it.
Suffice it to say, my cannoli wasn’t going to make it all the way back to Philadelphia — it barely made it back to Newbury Street! So when I did get back to the City of Brotherly Love, missing the sweet treat and lacking the bravery to fry cannoli shells myself, I figured I’d go for the next best thing — Cannoli Cupcakes.
A light cake with mild almond and citrus flavors, chocolate ganache filling, ricotta cream cheese frosting, and garnished with mini chocolate chips — with these around, I may just be able to make it until my next trip to Boston and Mike’s Pastry.

The cake for this recipe is a modified version of The Food Network’s, with Cupcake Day Dreams‘ ricotta cream cheese frosting, and a virgin version of Java Cupcakes’ chocolate ganache.


Yield: 24 cupcakes

Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 cupcake pans.

Combine flour, orange zest, baking powder, and salt in bowl. In a stand mixer, cream the sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping after each addition. Add vanilla and almond extracts. On low speed, alternate adding flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until smooth.

Fill liners 3/4 way. Bake until golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean, approximately 15 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes and transfer to wire rack. Cool completely.

Ganache Filling Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces dark chocolate
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon butter, room temperature

Break chocolate into small pieces and put in a medium bowl.

In a small pot on the stove, heat the cream and corn syrup until simmering. Do not boil. Pour cream mixture over the chocolate and stir until smooth. Add the butter and stir until melted.

Ricotta Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces (2 bars) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese, drained overnight
  • 2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • mini chocolate chips for garnish

In a stand mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add ricotta, sugar, and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Switch stand mixer to high and beat for 2-3 minutes.

Putting It All Together…

  1. Use an apple corer to remove centers of cupcakes.
  2. Use small spoon or piping bag to fill holes with ganache.
  3. Pipe frosting on cupcakes, making sure to pipe to the edge.
  4. Roll cupcake in mini chocolate chips to garnish.



5 responses

  1. Tried these cupcakes and they are just great. In fact, they may be tastier than a real cannoli! The ganache filling was a delicious surprise, too.

    Excellent photos of some favorite Boston places!

  2. Alyssa, I really think we needs to notify someone at Food and Wine or Bon Appetit about this. Always fun to read and to make. Thanks again!

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