Cannoli Cupcakes

Cannoli are some of my favorite desserts. My mom used to buy them for me as a treat back when we still lived in New York City. There was always an Italian bakery we could pop into, and we would get a box filled with cannoli, shortbread, and rainbow cookies.

I have tried making cannoli at home—and admittedly, I need a lot more practice. But, what I can say is that I got the filling right! And, on days when I want the soul of a cannoli, but cannot get one, a cannoli cupcake fills the void!

This cannoli cupcake recipe is one of my favorite cupcake recipes to date: the cake is a super moist sponge flavored with marsala wine; the filling is rich with cinnamon and sugar; the icing is buttert Swiss Meringue Buttercream; and there is a pleasant ring of miniature chocolate chips around the edges.


  • Delicious, authentic cannoli filling
  • Rich cake made with Marsala wine
  • Delicious Swiss meringue buttercream
  • Super moist cake
  • Vegetarian

These cupcakes are rather versatile despite seemingly complicated. Since the most important parts of the cupcakes are the cannoli filling and marsala cake, you can make things easier by purchasing ready-made buttercream.

However, I highly recommend Swiss Meringue Buttercream for its mild sweetness and silky smooth texture, or homemade Whipped Cream for a refreshing, light, and airy texture.

The easiest buttercream to make at home is Vanilla Buttercream since it does not require you to temper egg whites, and cannot be over-mixed.

The keys to the cupcakes’ flavor are the cinnamon in the cannoli filling and the marsala wine in the cupcakes. However, if you cannot find either, the best substitute for the cinnamon is nutmeg, and the best substitute for the marsala wine is madeira wine. The flavor will be a little different, but it will at least be comparable.


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Hand or stand mixer

Large and small mixing bowls


Cupcake trays

Cupcake liners

Cannoli Cupcakes

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 cupcakes


For the cupcakes

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (100ml) whole milk
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) marsala wine
  • 2 tsp (8ml) vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (200g) cake flour
  • 1 cup (200g) cane sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp (13g) baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter
  • 24 oz vanilla buttercream homemade or store bought
  • simple syrup for brushing
  • chocolate chips for topping

For the cannoli filling

  • 8 oz (250) whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup (120g) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • lemon zest to taste


Make the cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg whites, milk, wine, and the vanilla extract.

  3. In another large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and mix on medium speed for 30 to 60 seconds.
  5. While the mixer is still running, add the egg and milk mixture to the dry ingredients and butter a third at a time, 20 seconds at a time.
  6. When fully incorporated, scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl, and mix again on high speed for 40 seconds to aerate the batter.
  7. Line a 12-count cupcake tray with 12 jumbo cupcake liners. Fill each line 2/3 high with cake batter.
  8. Bake the cupcakes in the middle of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until the cupcakes are golden brown and a toothpick runs clean when probed into the middle of the cupcakes.
  9. Brush a thin layer of simple syrup over the cake and allow the cake to cool completely before serving or frosting.
  10. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely. You can place them in the freezer for 20 minutes if you’re short on time.

Make the cannoli filling

  1. In a large mixing bowl, blend together the ricotta, powdered sugar, cinnamon, and lemon zest.

  2. Once the cupcakes are cool, fill a piping bag or a sandwich bag with a 1/4 inch hole cut at one corner with the filling.

  3. Use a spoon or gloved finger to poke a hole into the center of each cupcake.

  4. Fill each cupcake with cannoli filling to the brim of the hole.

Decorate the cupcakes

  1. Using a spatula or a piping bag with an open or star tip, ice each cupcake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream, or your choice of buttercream
  2. Top your cupcakes with chocolate chips and a drizzle of melted chocolate.

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  1. So decadent! They look delicious!

    1. Thank you! They’ve been a huge hit at parties!

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