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Cannoli Poke Cake is a super moist white cake topped with a cannoli filling frosting and mini chocolate chips. If you love cannolis, you’re going to love them even more in cake form!

close up of cannoli poke cake topped with mini chocolate chips

Cannoli Poke Cake

Serve this Cannoli Poke Cake after Baked Mostaccioli with Sauteed Asparagus. If you need another cannoli-themed recipe, try my no-bake strawberry cannoli cones!

I originally published this cannoli poke cake recipe June 11, 2014. I’m going to leave the original text, because it’s a journal for me, and add some new, helpful tips and pictures. Here we go 🙂

I’m back to work after maternity leave #sadpanda. Being a mom is hard, guys. In the best way possible, but hard nonetheless.

I can’t seem to find enough hours in the day, especially now that I’m back to work.

I made this cake for Mother’s Day (you know, a month ago), but I’m just getting around to posting it. On top of that, I didn’t even take “real” pictures. These are just quick cell phone shots (scroll down to the bottom to see my “BEFORE” pic).

Hopefully I’ll get the hang of this mom/work/life/blog thing soon and can get back into the swing of things. I miss cooking and baking. [Spoiler alert – I haven’t really gotten the hang of it 5 years and another kid later haha]

white cake topped with cannoli filling and mini chocolate chips

Equipment you’ll need

  • Mixing Bowls – I love this colorful set.
  • Glass Baking Dish – I especially love that this dish has a lid since this cake needs to be stored in the fridge.
  • Hand Mixer – This one comes in such pretty colors.
  • Offset Spatula – To make spreading the frosting a breeze.

Ingredients you’ll need

Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card.

  • White Cake Mix + ingredients called for on box – I usually opt for Duncan Hines. If you want the cake to be truly white, only use egg whites & skip the yolks.
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk – Condensed milk is cow’s milk that’s had the water removed & sugar added. It’s thick and sweet. Not to be confused with evaporated milk!
  • Ricotta Cheese – Ricotta is smooth and creamy with a thick texture. It’s great in sweet and savory dishes. If yours is watery, drain off any excess water.
  • Mascarpone Cheese – Mascarpone is an Italian cream cheese. It has a higher fat content than “American” cream cheese and has a richer taste.
  • Vanilla Extract – I know vanilla extract is pricey, but you can make your own or buy it in bulk from Sam’s or Costco, like I do.
  • Powdered Sugar – Also called confectioners sugar – same thing. It’s just a very fine sugar.
  • Cinnamon – I also recommend getting a decent quality cinnamon for great flavor.
  • Mini Chocolate Chips – Your favorite kind – milk, dark, or semi-sweet – they’re easy to find these days.

How to make cannoli poke cake

This cannoli poke cake cake was my first poke cake recipe and it couldn’t have been easier!

  1. First, prepare & bake a boxed white cake mix, per the box directions.
  2. Once cooled, poke holes in it, then fill it up with sweetened condensed milk, reserving half a cup for the frosting. Let that soak in for about an hour in the fridge.
  3. While it’s soaking in the goodness, make the cannoli frosting. To a large bowl, add the ricotta cheese, mascarpone cheese, and vanilla extract and beat until it’s smooth.
  4. Then add in the powdered sugar and cinnamon and mix until combined. Add in the reserved sweetened condensed milk and mix well.
  5. Smooth the frosting over the cooled cake and sprinkle with powdered sugar and mini chocolate chips.

white cake with holes poked in it with sweetened condensed milk drizzled over

Where can you find mascarpone cheese in the grocery story?

I always have trouble finding the mascarpone cheese in my grocery store. It is usually in the front of the store, by the deli, and not back by the traditional cream cheese. It’s usually by the feta, in a small white tub.

Is mascarpone cheese and cream cheese the same thing?

No, they’re not. Mascarpone is basically Italian cream cheese. It is made with whole cream so it has a higher fat content than American cream cheese, making with richer and creamier.

What is cannoli filling made of?

The cake is then topped with what tastes just like the filling of a cannoli. It made a beautifully light and sweet frosting made with ricotta cheese.

Sprinkled with the chocolate chips and a dusting of powdered sugar, this cake makes a perfect alternative to the traditional cannoli.

Why is my topping so thin?

I’ve had several people tell me their topping is thin/watery and though I have not had this problem, I think I figured out why.

If you beat mascarpone cheese too long, it will get thin. It actually curdles and causes the water to separate from the cheese curds.

To avoid this, mix until just combined and smooth.

overhead shot of frosting in mixing bowl with hand mixer

Need more poke cakes? Try these?

Click here to view my entire collection of cake recipes.

slice of cannoli poke cake sprinkled with powder sugar

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single slice of cannoli poke cake with mini chocolate chips
close up of cannoli poke cake topped with mini chocolate chips
4.87 from 23 votes

Cannoli Poke Cake

Servings: 18 slices
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours
Cannoli Poke Cake is a super moist white cake topped with a cannoli filling frosting and mini chocolate chips. If you love cannolis, you're going to love them even more in cake form!


  • 15.25 ounce white cake mix + ingredients on box
  • 14 ounce sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 ½ cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 ½ cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • powdered sugar for dusting


  • Prepare and bake a 9 x 13 white cake according to the directions on the box.
    15.25 ounce white cake mix
  • Let the cake cool completely then poke holes all over the top of the cake.
  • Reserve ½ cup of the sweetened condensed milk and set aside.
    14 ounce sweetened condensed milk
  • Pour the remaining sweetened condensed milk over the entire cake. Let it soak in for about an hour in the fridge.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add the ricotta cheese, mascarpone cheese, and vanilla extract and beat until just smooth. Do not overmix! It will get thin if you do.
    1 ½ cup ricotta cheese, 1 ½ cup mascarpone cheese, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Add in the powdered sugar and cinnamon and mix until just combined.
    1 cup powdered sugar, ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Add in the reserved ½ cup of sweetened condensed milk and mix until smooth.
  • After the cake has absorbed all the milk, spread the cannoli topping evening over the top.
  • Sprinkle on the mini chocolate chips and, just before serving, sprinkle with some powdered sugar.
    ½ cup mini chocolate chips, powdered sugar for dusting


Store covered in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Source: Life Love & Sugar


Serving: 1g | Calories: 349kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 258mg | Potassium: 121mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 424IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 200mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Cannoli Poke Cake - This is a super moist white cake topped with cannoli filling frosting and mini chocolate chips.| Persnickety Plates

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  1. Holy Cannoli, this looks so good! I have only ever done jello poke cakes… but sc milk sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing at the Caffeinated Crafters Link Party!

  2. Quick question. Does the sweetend condensed milk get sticky like caramel or creamy?

    My hubby has dentures and we don’t want sticky. Lol


  3. While everyone enjoyed the taste of this, I am not sure I will make this again. I also had an issue with the icing being runny/soupy. I’m not sure what happened here since I followed the recipe .

  4. I don’t know what cheeses you’re using, but I followed your recipe exactly and the frosting is a slurry. It’s not thick enough to come close to spreading. It’s pourable. Perhaps the brands you use are better for the desired outcome?

    1. If you over mix mascarpone cheese, it can get watery. I’m thinking that might have happened to you. I’m going to make a note in the recipe. I’m sorry yours was runny!

  5. 5 stars
    The only thing wrong with this cake is that we ate way too much of it. Lol. Seriously, delicious cake. If your topping is too runny, you’re either over mixing or the the cheese was too soft. If you’re using generic ricotta, that tends the be more watery as well.

  6. For those whose frosting Is runny I wonder if they are straining the ricotta? Although it’s not stated I’m assuming you have to do so.