Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9” round cake pan with parchment paper and set aside
In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, water, and vegetable oil. Mix by hand vigorously for two minutes until wet and dry ingredients are completely incorporated.
Pour batter evenly into pan. Bake for 28-30 minutes; check for doneness by sticking a butter knife into the center of the sponge. If the knife comes out clean, the cake is done. If there’s batter on the knife, continue baking for 1-2 minute increments.
** Note: this step varies slightly from the box. Since only one 9” pan is being used, it will take slightly longer for the cake to bake completely. The taller, fluffier cake allows the sweetened condensed milk to saturate the sponge without becoming flat and gooey.
Let cake cool in the pan for ten minutes before transferring to a cooling rack for twenty to thirty minutes.
While the cake is cooling, combine ricotta, mascarpone, confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon, and 1 tsp. of cloves into a large mixing bowl. Mix until completely incorporated. Set in the fridge until the cake is ready for frosting.
Once cooled, transfer cake to a plate, cake platter, or 9” pan. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke 15-20 holes completely through the sponge until the handle hits the platter/plate/pan. Placement isn’t important, but try to keep the holes evenly spaced to maintain the structural integrity of the cake.
Slowly pour half a can of sweetened condensed milk evenly over the cake. Stop to pour a bit extra in each poked hole, but be careful not to overfill. The sweetened condensed milk will naturally sink into the sponge as it sets.
Transfer cake to the refrigerator and chill for at least an hour and a half (it’s okay to leave it overnight, too).
Frost the chilled cake with cannoli mixture - get creative with piping and swirls or keep it simple! Sprinkle with 1 tsp. cloves.
Decorate with miniature chocolate chips as desired. I’ll be traveling with my cake, so I made a “crust” of chocolate chips to help keep the frosting from sliding over the edge of the pan en route. You can cover the entire cake with chocolate chips, spell out a message, or make a unique design of your own.
The fusion of simple baking techniques and out-of-the-box flavor combinations keeps me coming back to this cake time and time again. As with any good recipe, there’s always room for variation! Channel your inner pasticcere with these topping variations:
Use extra frosting as a sweet dipping sauce for brownies, graham crackers, or pizzelle cookies. If you’re looking for ways to use up leftover sweetened condensed milk, try these tasty recipes: