Cannoli Poke Cake

You are going to love this cake! A vanilla cake, soaked with sweetened condensed milk, covered in sweet cannoli filling. Ah-mazing!

Cannoli Poke Cake - vanilla cake topped with cannoli filling icing!
Cannoli Poke Cake - vanilla cake topped with cannoli filling icing!

Can you believe I’ve never made a poke cake before? I’ve been wanting to for forever, but never quite got around to it. Until now. And boy have I been missing out! This Cannoli Poke Cake is super easy to make and SO tasty!

If you don’t know much about poke cakes, they are basically a cake that’s baked, covered in sweetened condensed milk which soaks up into the cake, making it incredibly moist, and then usually topped with some kind of whipped topping. There are a ton of variations out there. The sky is the limit!

Cannoli Poke Cake - vanilla cake topped with cannoli filling icing!

A friend requested something “cannoli flavored” for her husband’s birthday a while ago and since I’ve been wanting to make a poke cake for so long, it just popped into my head and I knew I had to do it!

There are so many ways to make cannoli’s – particularly the filling – and when done right, they are absolutely delicious!

The filling really is the best part – and that’s exactly what this cake is covered in. Get pumped!

Cannoli Poke Cake - vanilla cake topped with cannoli filling icing!

The cannoli filling “icing” on this cake is one of those things that you just cannot get your finger out of. I was lucky any of it made it onto the cake.

And my small group felt exactly the same way! They were basically licking the sides of the pan where the topping was left behind – using their finger of course. So stinkin’ good.

Cannoli Poke Cake - vanilla cake topped with cannoli filling icing!

One thing I did a little differently with this poke cake is that I didn’t use an entire can of sweetened condensed milk when pouring it over the cake. I didn’t want to the cake to be too soggy, but I wanted it to have the moist-ness and delicious-ness that the sweetened condensed milk gives.

But since it didn’t all go into the cake, and I hate wasting things, I put it into the cannoli filling.

Best. Decision. Ever.

It sweetened the topping up just enough and made it even harder to resist. Pure deliciousness.

Cannoli Poke Cake - vanilla cake topped with cannoli filling icing!

Have you seen my Baklava Poke Cake? Or my Cannoli Icebox Cake? So yummy!

Update 6/10/14: One thing to note about the topping on this cake is that it is not like a traditional icing. It is meant to be more like cannoli filling. The texture is kind of like whipped cream at the soft peak stage. If you’d prefer it to be thicker, you can do one or both of these two things – leave the sweetened condensed milk out of the topping (as it thins it out a bit) and/or add up to about 3 cups of powdered sugar (which would thicken it). I chose to leave it thinner so that I didn’t dilute the cannoli flavor from the cheeses – I love that flavor! And though it’s thinner, it’s still plenty thick to be on top of the cake. I’ve made this cake a couple of times and it has sat out at parties and the icing stays in place. So it isn’t so thin that it runs or anything, it’s just not a traditional icing. I hope that helps, as I know many have been surprised the fact that it isn’t thicker.

Cannoli Poke Cake


1 box white cake mix, plus ingredients on box
1 14 oz cans sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon, optional
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
powdered sugar, for dusting


1. Bake cake according to directions on box for a 9x13 pan.
2. Allow cake to cool completely.
3. Poke holes all over the top of the cake. (I used a straw)
4. Reserve half a cup of sweetened condensed milk and pour the rest of the sweetened condensed milk over the cake.
5. Put cake in refrigerator for about an hour to absorb milk.
6. Combine ricotta cheese, mascarpone cheese and vanilla extract in a mixer bowl. Beat until smooth.
7. Add powdered sugar and cinnamon, if using and mix until combined.
8. Add reserved sweetened condensed milk and mix until combined.
9. Once cake has absorbed milk, spread cannoli topping evenly over cake.
10. Top with mini chocolate chips and a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
11. Cover cake and allow to set in refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Cake should keep for 4-5 days.

NOTE: Do consider straining the ricotta before using, especially if it's a particularly watery brand.
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Cannoli topping modified from The Vintage Mixer.
These are the parties I link up to.

Cannoli Poke Cake - vanilla cake topped with cannoli filling icing!

You might also like:

Cannoli Icebox Cake
Cannoli Poke Cake - layers of cannoli filling and graham crackers make this an easy way to enjoy cannoli's without all the work!

Baklava Poke Cake
Baklava Poke Cake - lots of cinnamon, honey and walnuts! So good!

Classic Tiramisu

Kahlua Ice Cream Pie
Kahlua Ice Cream Pie

Baileys Chocolate Pie

Other fun cannoli inspired recipes:
Cannoli Stuffed French Toast from Two Peas and Their Pod
Cannoli Cups from Gimme Some Oven
Mini Cannoli Cheesecakes from Will Cook For Smiles


  1. The cannoli filling is totally the best part! And the only part I actually eat 😉 So your poke cake sounds like chocolate chip cannoli heaven! I’ve never make a poke cake but yours looks absolutely delicious! Is it bad that I don’t know how to pronounce “poke”? I say it like “pokey” is that wrong?
    Lindsey @ American Heritage Cooking recently posted…Easy Lemon Strawberry Shortcake {For Two}My Profile

    • says:

      Poke cakes are great – so easy! Pronounced without they “Y” :)

    • Thanks for this recipe. Just made it for my wifes birthday tomorrow. was worried about the frosting being to runny but all the reviews were very helpful. I used 1 3/4 cup of conf. sugar and only 3 tbl spoons of the milk and it looks just like the picture and hopefully will taste as good as it looks

    • Hi there….was reading all the comments about the frosting being runny, would it be at all possible to add some gelatin to help set it up and if so how much. Just curious?

      • says:

        I haven’t tried it, so I can’t say for sure. I think there’s a lot of variation in the water in ricotta – if you’re sure to strain it, the icing should be fine without gelatin.

      • I just made this cake last night and it wasn’t runny at all. I used a high quality ricotta from the deli section though, not the cheese section of the grocery store. There was almost no water at all. I don’t know if that is what made the difference. The “frosting” came out nice and fluffy, I swear there is a good inch + of the cannoli filling on top of the 9×13 :) On a side note, I literally could have just taken my kitchenaid bowl off the mixer, gotten a spoon and could have eaten all that delicious frosting/ filling! yummmmm

  2. Lucky friend to have this as his birthday cake!I have been meaning to try a poke cake , I just haven’t gotten to it. This one looks so delicious I was sure this would be the recipe I would try. But maybe I will just make the topping and eat it with a spoon! :)
    Wendy recently posted…Soft Chocolate-Toffee CookiesMy Profile

  3. This cake is serious perfection! I need it in my life!
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  4. Oh this just looks delicious! I’ve seen some interesting cannoli recipes, but I haven’t seen a cake until now! I’ve actually never tried a cannoli, maybe I should start with something similar like this 😉
    Rachel @ Little Ivie Lane recently posted…Telling Our Family!My Profile

  5. OH MY GOD I’m dying for that filling. It would never have made it to the cake ,for sure!
    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust recently posted…Banana Blueberry Baked PancakeMy Profile

  6. This is so perfect right now! I love to bake, but it seems like lately I need an specific reason to make a cake (why does everyone I know need an excuse for cake?!). This is definitely happening for father’s day – my hubby is a huge cannoli addict!
    Risa recently posted…The Best No-Churn Ice Cream Ever!My Profile

    • says:

      I agree – I see no need for an occasion for cake! :) This would be great for father’s day though!

  7. Can’t wait to try this! I was just wondering….is it a 1/2 cup of each of the cheeses or 1 and 1/2 cups? Thanks so much for sharing this, this is going to be a Mother’s Day treat for a good friend and myself!!

  8. I love cannoli- this cake is amazing! I love the flavours!
    whatjessicabakednext recently posted…Eton Mess CupcakesMy Profile

  9. Thank you for posting this Cannoli Poke Cake recipe! I followed your recipe, and served this cake today, for Mother’s Day! It was a huge hit! This is definitely my favorite cake now, and I will be making it as often as I can!!

    • says:

      Awesome!! I’m so glad it was a hit Rachael! Thanks for the feedback! :)

      • I made the cannoli cake again last night for my brother’s birthday. It’s so simple to prepare, and so delicious. I almost always have all the ingredients on hand anyway, which helps a lot! Thanks again!

        • says:

          Awesome! I’m so glad you enjoy it! I love it when I have ingredients for my favorite things handy. :)

  10. holy Cannoli! I have to try this!
    Julianne @ Beyond Frosting recently posted…Big Traveling Potluck Recap #btp2My Profile

  11. I’ve only had cannoli cake one time from a the best local Italian bakery in my area. It was fabulous and it had broken cannoli shells on the outside (an idea for your recipe?). I am so happy to have a recipe to make my own. This sounds GREAT! Pinned!

  12. Wow! This looks so delicious! My husband’s whole family loves cannolis, pinning this to remember to make it for them, next time they are in town. You photos are awesome as well!

    Kristy @ 3 Peppers Recipes – Crafts, Cooking & Color
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  13. Jamie @ Love Bakes Good Cakes says:

    I have to try this!!! Yum-O!!!

  14. Is it best to bake this the same day you plan on serving ? Or could it be made on Friday and served on Sunday, or even the day before. Can’t wait to try it. Thank you!

    • says:

      The day before might be better than 2 days before, but yes you can definitely do it ahead of time.

      • Donna Coffman says:

        In your recipe, you recommended to make the poke cake 4 to 5 days ahead of time. To Vicky G you said serve the day after making or 2 days before. How long should the cake be stay in the fridge before serving? I don’t want to make a mistake.

        • says:

          I’m sorry if it was confusing in the recipe. The 4-5 days is how long I recommend the cake will keep for. I updated the instructions to be more clear. Once the cake has absorbed the sweetened condensed milk and you add the topping, it should sit in the fridge for a few hours until the topping has firmed a bit and then you can serve it.

  15. MDDaniels says:

    My co-worker made the Cannoli poke cake and It was great. I ate 3 pieces and enjoyed every bite.

  16. Alice Schneider says:

    Hi; Just wondering what size cake mix you used…

  17. Is mascarpone cheese found in the cheese section of the grocery store? I’ve never heard of this before. Can you tell maybe what kind of taste it has? Thanks for the recipie. It looks great!

    • says:

      Its usually in the deli section. The taste is hard to describe. Its much lighter and smoother than a traditional cheese. Not really sweet, but lends itself to sweet well. Its also used in tirsamisu.

  18. I will be making this cake for my Hubby, his Birthday is the July Forth! instead of using choclate bits, I’m going to use White Bit’s.
    He doesn’t care for ALL Chocolate.
    What is “Masponecar ?
    I can “Already taste the cake!”.
    Please Reply.
    Thank You.

    • says:

      Great! Mascarpone cheese is a very smooth, light cheese that is usually found in the deli and specialty cheese section of the grocery store. This is the one I use (looks like Walmart must have it too).

  19. Hi, I was wondering if you hand mix or mix with a mixer? Just curious.

  20. I made this last night, covered it and then presented it for my husband’s birthday today. The cannoli topping seemed runny after being in the fridge overnight. In your pictures, you must’ve served it right away. It tasted great, but very sweet, even leaving out the powder sugar. I will def make it again but will make slight modifications to lessen the sugar/sweet. Thank you!

    • says:

      If you left out some powdered sugar, that could be part of the reason that it wasn’t as firm. However, the topping isn’t as thick as a normal icing. You could leave out some of the sweetened condensed milk next time to lessen the sweetness and make it firmer. Glad you liked it! Happy birthday to your husband!

  21. I made this tonight and the cannoli topping is pretty runny. I even used 1 3/4 cups of sugar instead of just one, and it still wasn’t very thick. Is this how it is supposed to be/do you have any tips? I did a taste test and it tastes great, just a bit on the runny side.

    • says:

      Yes, it is a thinner topping. Not nearly as thick as a traditional icing, more like a thinner whipped cream. If you’d like it to be thicker next time, you could leave the sweetened condensed milk out. You could also add more powdered sugar – up to 3 cups probably.

  22. I’m waiting for the cake to cool so I can frost’re right, there’s no keeping your fingers out of the bowl!! It’s delicious :)

  23. Is there a substitute for the mascarpon cheese? I am going to make this for my Bunko group!

    • says:

      You could use all ricotta cheese, or try subbing cream cheese. The cream cheese will be a little thicker and sweeter.

  24. Thank you for the nice recipe, Lindsey. Have a Wonderful Sunday!

  25. Please add me to your email list for updates to your site.

    • says:

      There is a place in the sidebar to add your email to get emails when I post. It will send you a confirmation email.

  26. Made this cannoli poke cake yesterday for my Father’s Day celebration cookout! It was a huge hit cuz it was beyond delicious ……..needless to say the cake was inhaled!! Thank you so much I followed the recipe exactly

  27. I made this cake today and it was a huge hit! I read the comments about the frosting being runny, so I whipped mine a bit with the whip attachment on the mixer and it really helped. I used probably about 1/2 cup more powdered sugar and beat it for about 2 minutes. It set right up in the refrigerator in just about a held hour. Also, I made a 2 later cake instead of using a square pan and the frosting was perfect for spreading on the cake, not runny at all. I was also conserved about the sweetness with the sweetened condensed milk, so I mixed it with an equal portion of milk and used that to pour on the cake. My only regret is that I didn’t use more (used about 2 cups for 2 layers). Otherwise, this recipe was delicious! I could have probably eaten all of the frosting by itself! Will definitely be making this again.

    • says:

      I’m so glad you liked it Olivia! The frosting is the best part! :)

    • i also made this as a two layer cake. Thank you to everyone who posted hints about firming up the frosting. I added 1-1/4 cup powdered sugar, mixed using the whip attachment, and I also folded in a generous 1/2 cup of freshly made whipped cream. Result was perfect. This cake might be the best cake I have ever eaten – it will surely become a regular in the line- up!

  28. Lily Smith says:

    I make cannoli filling and it is different than the way you make it. My grandparents came from Italy and I make it the way they taught me. I really want to make this cake but I think I will use the filling I make and also try it your way. Will let you know how it turns out.

    • says:

      Yes, this filling is a little different, as I added sweetened condensed milk to it. If you have a filling you prefer, I’m sure it’d be delicious!

    • foodlover says:

      I’ve been looking up different cannoli filling recipes since my was SOOOO runny…kinda disappointed…will make again, but perhaps straining the ricotta cheese would help…taste was delicious!!

  29. Whoa, this cake looks crazy good, Lindsay! Pinned. Hope you have a great 4th!
    Julie @ This Gal Cooks recently posted…Stitch Fix June 2014 Review + Shopping LoveMy Profile

  30. This cake sounds great, love poke cakes. My family is coming on the weekend , celebrating my sister’s birthday, so thought this would be good Birthday Cake.

  31. it looks delicious!
    dina recently posted…Key West Key Lime Pie Cookbook WinnerMy Profile

  32. This cake was delicious, but the topping was much too runny, even after sitting in the fridge. I followed the recipe exactly, and then added extra powdered sugar when I saw how soupy the topping was, but I think in the future I would either strain the ricotta first or else greatly decrease the proportion of ricotta to mascarpone. Maybe I just used a particularly runny brand of ricotta, but that was definitely what made the topping too thin.
    It was a bit of a sloppy mess, but it tasted great!

  33. I’m wondering, how thick would the filling have to be to make this into a layer cake and not be too easily oozed out of the layers? This would make an amazing birthday cake for my man!

    • says:

      I love the idea of making this a layered cake, but the filling is pretty thin. I’d be tough to get it thick enough. I think the flavor would be lost by the time enough powdered sugar was added. I’m sorry.

  34. Can I make this at like 10am and not serve til 9pm at night??? Can it sit the fridge that long? Should I wait to put on the chocolate chips? Do you bring to room temperature before you serve it?

    • says:

      Yes, it’ll be fine in the fridge for that long. You don’t need to wait before adding the chocolate chips and you don’t need to bring it to room temperature. In fact, I recommend serving it cold. Enjoy!

  35. Hey there! My dad is turning 40 in a week and were throwing him a surprise party tomorrow! His favorite dessert is cannoli and when I saw this recipe on Pinterest I knew it’d be perfect! I looked at every food store in my area and couldn’t find mascarpone, so I was going to sub ricotta. Would I substitute using a 1:1 ratio? Would I add any additional ingredients in? Thank you so much and I can’t wait to enjoy this recipe!

    • says:

      What a bummer you can’t find the mascarpone. Did you check the deli part of the store? It’s not normally with the cheddars and shredded cheese, but with the fancy cheeses in the deli. You can definitely sub ricotta though. It’d be a 1:1 ratio. And since ricotta has more liquid in it, you might consider draining the ricotta first. The other option would be cream cheese, if you want something a little sweeter. Enjoy it!

  36. Cheri Wilkinson says:

    I wanted to let you know that this recipe was the most awesome cake I have ever made !! I also tried it over a dark chocolate cake which was absolutely heavenly !!! Kuddos to you for sharing this recipe !!!

  37. Tannette B says:

    Made this tonight (according to reipe). Yes, the cannoli filling was runny even though the ricotta was not wet enough to drain. It did not stay on top of the cake but ran to and over the sides. It tastes delicious and was definitely hard to keep from eating out of the bowl. I’m hoping it will harden in the fridge because it does not look like yours. Did you whip the filling with an electric mixer or by hand? Runny or not, I will try it again!

  38. I made the cake today and for the frosting I omitted the extra condensed milk and used 1.5 cups of powdered sugar. I think it taste amazing and looks pretty sturdy. I am bringing this for a potluck along with the no-bake Oreo cheesecake. I love this site!

    • says:

      I’m so glad you are happy with it Sarah! I’m glad you are enjoying the site too – thanks!! :)

      • I used and did everything you said and the frosting was so runny! It would not stay on the cake…..why???? I made it twice and the same terrible end result. Why am I reading people had to alter the recpe. Why did your come out like the picture and not ours? What a mess!

        • says:

          I’m sorry you’re having trouble with the topping. It seems like the ricotta usually is the problem, as there’s a lot of variation in the amount of water in it. You could try replacing the ricotta with mascarpone, to avoid it completely. You could also strain the ricotta, leave the sweetened condensed milk out of the icing entirely or add more powdered sugar.

  39. Miranda Chandler says:

    Made this tonight and the filling is wonderful! I substituted the mascarpone cheese with 1 package of cream cheese, 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream, and 2 tablespoons of softened butter – just whipped them together in my mixer and it turned out awesome!

    • says:

      I’m so glad you were able to make substitutions that worked for you! Thanks Miranda! Glad you enjoyed it! :)

  40. When I make a layered cannoli cake, I use whipped cream to frost the sides. Is there any way to use whipped cream into the recipe?

    • says:

      Maybe you could add some whipped cream around the edges of the cake? Or a scoop when you serve the pieces of cake?

  41. I made this cake into two 8×8 cakes and brought them to two different occasions. They were both met with rave reviews! The cannoli topping is so good!!! I used slightly less than the recommended cinnamon and about 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar. I am baking some white cupcakes right now to attempt to transform this recipe into cupcakes… Here goes nothing!

    • says:

      I’m so glad you like the cake Charlene! Did the cupcakes work out?

      • First crack at cupcakes did not work out… I used a different ricotta that must have been more moist because I could not get the filling to thicken… Next time I will try straining the ricotta. Also, I will alter the white cake batter – adding the sweetened condensed milk wasn’t working and a plain white cupcake was missing something… This is definitely a work in progress and I will be trying again! This cannoli frosting is too good to not be inside a delicious, moist white cupcake!

  42. Love the recipe. Am making today for my stepdaughters birthday. Cannoli cake is her face and we all love homemade. Am going to try to thicken up icing with various tips on your comments section. So so excited

  43. funsize wife says:

    This is a lot easier to make than it looks. I made it for friends that lived in the Chicago area and they were pretty impressed. Just don’t try the frosting until the cake is covered or it will never get to the cake. Using the cinnamon gave the taste a little more complex and I recommend adding it in. Thanks for such a great recipe, because cannoli are a real pain to fill!

  44. funsize wife says:

    It is so good my friends had it for breakfast the next day!

  45. Made this for dinner tonight – absolutely delicious!!! Thinking about adding a little bit of Amaretto to the topping next time – YUM!

  46. My topping wasn’t runny at all. It was thick and fluffy. Is that okay?

  47. I made this today and my icing came out thick. I strained the ricotta as you are supposed to do with cannoli filling. The consistency of the icing was great however, overall I didn’t think the cake itself was great. It wasn’t very sweet and very bland, not much flavor at all. Everyone who tried it thought the same. :(

  48. This is on my menu for Christmas. Can someone tell me do I have to strain the Ricotta? Lindsay do you? Thanks.

    • says:

      I don’t strain it, but I know some have and prefer to. I think it’s a question of just how thick you want your icing. I don’t think you can go wrong either way, but if it’s a particularly wet ricotta, straining it might be good to be safe.

  49. I loved this recipe!! I wondered if it could be made and frozen? It would only be for a week then taken out. Thanks for the delicious recipe!

    • says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I have never tried freezing it, so I’m not sure how well that’d work.

  50. Debbie Lind says:

    This cake is in the fridge now.. It’s
    Christmas Eve and I was asked to bring dessert to a party. I know it will be yummy because it smells amazing and we licked the frosting batters!

  51. I wonder if you mix mini chocolate chips in the cake batter would it still be as amazing as it looks!

  52. Laura James says:

    I made this is week. Delicious! I do have a question…Is it suppose to be 1/2 cup of ricotta and 1/2 cup mascarpone or 1-1/2 cups of both? I did the 1-1/2 c of both and my icing layer was much thicker than what yours appears to be in the photo.

    • says:

      It is 1-1/2 cups of each. It could just be the way the photos look. Sounds like you did it correctly. I hope you enjoyed it!

  53. ive been dying to make this for a while just hadnt had time to go out and find mascarpone cheese i havent been able to find it anywhere and i finally did but instead of regular i got cocoa flavored I saw it and was like why not add more chocolately ❤❤
    the container says made with espresso and cocoa mmmm

  54. Fail….
    The only thing that worked was the cake. The frosting/topping went in the trash. Somehow this recipe is deceptive since it has failed for so many.

    • says:

      I’m not sure what you mean Holly. Looking through the comments, there are a few that had trouble, but the majority have loved it and made it several times. Did you strain the ricotta? It seems like different brands have various amounts of liquid and that could be the problem that some are having.

  55. Currently in the process of making the cake! So far so good, just waiting for the cake to absorb milk in the fridge and then I will frost it! Question about the cannoli filling/topping… thickness is good as I added just a little extra powdered sugar and my ricotta didn’t need straining (I was worried but so far it’s not water) however it is a bit grainy

    • says:

      Hmm, I’m not sure why it’d be grainy. There isn’t really anything in the icing that should cause that. Did it turn out alright?

  56. Made this late tonight. Will be taking it to a get together tomorrow afternoon. Wasn’t sure I would have enough time to make it in the morning. Looks delicious! I was worried with some of the reviews about the consistency of the topping. However mine actually came out thick and whipped like frosting. I really think it does have a lot to do with the water content of the cheeses. I used Mascarpone (container said made for Tiramisu and more) and Fresca Ricotta cheeses found in deli section of grocery store. They each had a thick consistency. I used Ghirardelli semi sweet chocolate chips on top. I can’t wait to eat this tomorrow!

  57. I am so making this cake for work this Thursday coming for a friend that is leaving. I will get back on the turn out. It looks and sounds amazing.

  58. Courtney Gullickson says:

    I made this today. My icing was grainy…maybe from the ricotta. Is that normal? Could I have done something wrong?

    • says:

      Hmm, it isn’t normal for it to be grainy, but I have heard that once before. I’m really not sure what it’d be. The mascarpone and powdered sugar shouldn’t make it grainy, so the only thing I’d think would be the ricotta. Maybe try to beat the ricotta until smooth before adding it to the topping next time.

  59. Miss Madhatter says:

    Hello, love :) I happened to tumble upon this website by accident, and as usual, the sugarey section attracted me to clicking and more clicking. I scrolled down to the reviews and I saw how you replied to each and every one. I think it’s very kind of you to do so, and with those hopes, I decided to tell you thank you and God, how I wish I were your neighbor! And I also had a question; my dad isn’t very fond of too much sugar so I was worried about how sugarey all of that condensed milk plus frosting plus cake box mix, which is already very sweet, is going to be. Can I make the white cake from scratch without adding sugar? Or is it going to taste horrible? Please tell me, oh Great Sweet One. 😀

    • says:

      I’m so glad you found my blog! :) As for how sweet this cake is, I have a pretty big sweet tooth, so probably take this with a grain of salt – or sugar – but I do think this is one of my less sweet cakes. The topping for sure is not super sweet. You could reduce the amount of sweetened condensed milk that you pour over the cake though, if you wanted.

  60. I am making this cake this very second. Looks absolutely amazing. My store did NOT have mascarpone cheese but I did find a substitute recipe…..16oz softened cream cheese, 1/2 cup sour cream & 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream. Blend until smooth. Voila

  61. Christine Gascoine says:

    I am making this now. Going to a rather large gathering and i doubled it. My “frosting” is not overly thick or thin. I did strain the ricotta. It is tasty. I found the type of ricotta you use can be on the “grainy” side. I only used a few tablespoons of the condensed milk in the frosting. I will give it a full review once it has been consumed. So far so good.

  62. Candace Wray says:

    I didn’t read through every comment, so I’m not sure if this has already been answered or asked, but can you make a white cake from scratch and use instead of a box? That may seem like a silly question, but I was curious. I have only recently learned about poke cakes and I always see them made with boxed cake mix. Is it just for convenience?

    • says:

      Yes, you could use a homemade cake. I think it’s mostly convenience to use a box. Box cakes also tend to be very fluffy, which makes it nice for absorbing the liquid easily. I have done other poke cakes with a scratch cake before though.

  63. laura erickson says:

    yummy all reciepies look easy and yummy

  64. This cake was as you said: amazing!! The
    next time I make it though(and there will be
    a next time) I will make the cannoli frosting
    a little thicker. Thanks for the recipe.

  65. I love cannolis. A real connisuer. I made this cake on Sunday. The reviews from family and friends were some of the best I have ever gotten and I bake a lot. I love this cake! So much so, that I am making it again, this Sunday! SO Delish and kind of refreshing! Thank you, Recipe Maker.
    1 note; I used 1 1/2 bars of the new “greek” cream cheese in stead of the mascapone for a nice little tangy zip. I think I’ll keep it that way on the count of the extra protein. Thanks again..Love Love LOVE this recipe!

  66. Dear Lindsay, this cake sounds marvelous. It looks so light and moist…I will be dreaming of this all day! xo, Catherine
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  67. Jewel Penzam says:

    I just made this for Easter and everyone loved it! The frosting came out just like normal frosting for me. I used whole milk ricotta which I could not drain at all. I also used only a 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk in the frosting, along with 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar and it came out exactly like normal frosting. I will definetly be making this cake again!

  68. Kristina says:

    I’m making this for the second time in a week tonight. Tested it out on my family on Sunday – LOVED it. Making it for a work function tomorrow & have no doubt it will be a BIG hit. THANKS!

  69. Anything recommended to replace chocolate chips? I’ve never tried connoli so not sure of the taste.

    • says:

      That depends on why the replacement. Do you not care for chocolate? The chocolate chips are more of a garnish that add a little chocolate flavor and are usually on the ends of a cannoli. You could leave them off if you’d prefer. If you’d like to replace the chocolate with something, you could try some crushed nuts, maybe a sprinkling of cinnamon or cocoa?

  70. Hi!
    This looks so good. I’ve never made a poke cake before and I was just wondering, do you poke the holes all the way down to the bottom of the cake or only part way through?
    Thanks so much!
    My cake is in the oven now. Can’t wait to try it!

    • says:

      You’ll poke the holes all the way through (or at least mostly) so that everything soaks in. Enjoy it!

  71. Lumpy Icing says:

    I just made this cake and I beat the icing FOREVER and could not get lumps out! I beat just the cheeses first and then when I couldn’t get them smooth I added the milk to see if that would help. It still tastes pretty good but I’m worried people will think its too lumpy to enjoy. I have read and re-read all the instructions thinking I missed something and I read most of the comments and no one else had this issue so I’m wondering if I did something wrong.

    • says:

      Hmm, I’m not sure. There isn’t much in the ingredients that could be lumpy. Maybe the ricotta? There’s definitely a lot of variation in the texture of ricotta. If you make it again, maybe try smoothing the ricotta first, then add in the mascarpone and other ingredients.

    • Laura James says:

      It’s probably the brand of ricotta. I bought the store brand the first time, and it was grainy. Tasted delicious, but the texture was a bit off. The last time I got the ricotta in the “fancier” cheese section and it was as smooth as the ricotta in these pictures.

  72. I just made this cannoli poke cake last night and it’s delicious!! My husband doesn’t like treats because they are usually too sweet for him, but he loved it! Thank you!

  73. This popped up on my facebook today and I almost didn’t give it a second look. I’ve only heard of poke cakes with pudding or jello poured over them & I don’t care for them. But this looked SO DELICIOUS that I just HAD to click on it & see – and I’m glad I did. The recipe is more like a Tres Leche cake, which I LOVE, and the idea of the cannoli filling sounds perfect. And then I see all of the other cakes to tempt me following this recipe & now I’ going to be stuck looking through your recipes for several hours now 😀
    Pure sweetened condensed milk sounds a little too sweet to me, so I may try to make 2 version – yours, and then do one with the tres leche millk mix and the cannoli topping and see which we like best.

    • says:

      I’m so glad you clicked over to check it out. Most of my poke cakes use something other than pudding or jello to flavor them, so you’re in the right place. :) The comparison sounds like a great idea. It all depends on how sweet you like things. I definitely have a sweet tooth. 😉

  74. Holy Cannoli!!! This was gooooood! Of course, I didn’t read the recipe ahead of time, so on the day I made it, I realized that I wasn’t going to have enough time to make the cake (with the soak and set times) so I made cupcakes. I used one of the OP’s suggestions, and added 3 Tbsp (ok, it might have been more like 4) of the sweetened condensed milk and 1 3/4 cups of confectioners sugar, since the icing was going on top of cupcakes & I didn’t want it too thin. Finished it with mini chips & powdered sugar & they were adorable! And yummy! I made 24 for a barbecue & there were none left. Even my picky DS loved them! Thanks!

  75. I’m going to be making this week and was wondering how Fat Free Sweetened Condensed Milk would work??

  76. This cake looks amazing! I was thinking about making it in two 8″ pans and stacking the cakes with some of the topping in the middle as well as on top… Will the cakes stand up to stacking, or does the poke and soak make them too flimsy to try stacking them? Thanks!

  77. I absolutely loved this recipe. I did strain my ricotta. The consistency of the frosting was perfect and I wanted to eat the whole cake myself!


  1. […] I love and want to bake – Cannoli Poke Cake from Life, Love and Sugar (on my Gluten-Free Baking Inspiration […]

  2. […] Source: Life Love & Sugar […]

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