I made this for our Valentine’s Day dessert because 1) it’s “Italian” (I put that in quotations because honestly, I think the only reason it’s called “Italian” is because there is ricotta cheese in it), so I thought it would go well with our Spaghetti & Meatballs, and 2) it’s a Love Cake, therefore perfect for Valentine’s Day. :) However, I’m sharing this with you today, a regular non-Hallmark holiday day, because it’s simply a fantastic cake that should be enjoyed and made for those you love on any old day, not just days designated for celebrating your loved ones.
This cake is every bit as good as it looks. I don’t like ricotta because of the texture, but it really works with this cake. It’s not a heavy cake, which is dangerous, because it’s also addictive and the “lightness” makes it easier to trick yourself into thinking that eating half the pan by yourself isn’t all that obscene. Not that I’ve done that or anything.
Chocolate Italian Love Cake
1 package chocolate cake mix (I recommend using Betty Crocker brand), and the ingredients needed to make the cake according to the package directions
- OR your favorite chocolate cake recipe that makes as much batter as a cake mix
2 lbs. ricotta cheese
4 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (5.9 oz.) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 1/2 cups cold milk
1 (8 oz) container frozen whipped topping, defrosted
Preheat your oven to 350*F and spray a 9×13 inch pan with nonstick spray; set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together your cake mix according to the directions on the box or prepare your favorite chocolate cake. Spread into prepared pan and set aside. In another bowl, beat together the ricotta cheese, eggs, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Carefully pour the ricotta mixture over the cake batter, trying to get it evenly distributed, then spread it as best you can over the cake batter with a spatula. The layers will switch during baking!
Bake the cake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Once the cake is cool, whisk the pudding mix and milk together until smooth and slightly thickened. Gently fold the whipped topping into the pudding until incorporated. Spread the pudding mixture over the top of the cooled cake. Do not spread it over the cake if it’s even slightly warm or it will melt and ruin the topping. Cover the cake and refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving. It tastes even better the next day.
Veronica’s notes: 1) I do not recommend my favorite chocolate cake for this recipe as it makes a lot more batter than a box mix and your pan would probably overflow if you tried it. 2) I have a stack of 9×13 baking dishes because I use that size more than any other. My largest one is a Pyrex dish and I highly recommend you use your largest one too – preferrably a Pyrex dish because they seem to be the largest. I know every 9×13 dish should measure 9×13 but apparently they do not…or maybe some companies measure from the inside and some from the outside. This recipe fills it up to the top so you really need to use a large dish. 3) If you live in an area that sells 5.1 ounce pudding mixes, that’s fine – it’s the size called for in the original recipe. You only need a cup of milk if you have a 5.1 ounce box, according to the original recipe. 4) I know ricotta can be expensive so if you have an Aldi in your area – go see if they sell ricotta there. Mine sells it for $1.68 for a pound. It’s also good quality! And get some pumpkin puree while you’re there – it’s usually $1 (or less) for a can and is very good quality. :)
Recipe source: adapted from Chew Nibble Nosh