Here Comes the Cassata

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There is much debate about the origins of cassata cake, but one thing is clear: it is as elaborate as the Baroque architecture one finds throughout Sicily–and it is as decadent. So much so, that until the mid-20th century, cassata was only eaten by the masses on Easter Sunday. Cassata is made up of sponge cakes (often doused with Marsala or Malvasia wine) that are layered with cannoli cream, and then glazed with almond paste. Finally, it is decorated according to the chef’s aesthetic with additional, colored almond paste and topped with candied fruit. The amount of sugar in one slice is not for the faint of heart, so I don’t recommend eating it if you’d like to sleep in the near future. Today, you can find cassata throughout the year, but in the past, it was attributed to Easter because its shape emulates the sun, which in springtime, brings longer, warmer days so that the newly planted seeds can grow. This cassata is from Pasticceria Don Gino in Bagheria.

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