Line a 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°F (180 °C)
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks and vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl, combine cocoa and 1/3 sugar. Set aside.
With an electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
Gradually add the 1/3 cup of sugar and continue to beat until stiff peak forms. Set aside.
Add the cocoa-sugar mixture to the egg yolks. Whisk together until smooth.
Add a couple of tablespoons of the egg whites to this mixture and stir together (this will lighten the batter).
Add the remainder of the egg whites and fold together.
Spread batter evenly in jelly roll pan.
Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly pressed.
Remove from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes.
Invert on a tea towel which has been sprinkled with icing sugar.
Peel off the parchment paper.
When completely cool, cut into thirds.
The Rum Syrup:
Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan.
Over medium heat, bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar (boil for about 1 minute).
Remove from heat and add the rum.
Cool to room temperature.
The Ricotta Cream:
Combine all the ingredients for the filling.
The Chocolate Ganache Frosting:
Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set aside.
In a small saucepan,over medium heat, heat butter and cream together.
Bring to just under a boil. Remove from heat.
Immediately combine with the chocolate and let stand for about 5 minutes. In the meanwhile, start assembling the cake.
Place 1 section of cake on your serving plate.
Brush the rum syrup over top.
Spread 1/2 of the ricotta filling.
Place another section of cake on the ricotta layer.
Brush more rum syrup over the top.
Spread the rest of the ricotta filling.
Place last layer of cake on the ricotta filling.
Brush the top layer off with syrup.
Whisk together the ganache filling until smooth.
Spread over cake.
Decorate with shavings (optional).
Store leftover cake in the refrigerator,
Drain the ricotta. You risk getting a wet mixture which will "leak" once you put your cake together if the ricotta has too much moisture.
Use good quality chocolate. If you want to create an intense chocolate flavor you need to use the real thing. Chocolate chips will not do.
Allow the cake to come to room temperature after it is baked. Since both the layers of ricotta and the chocolate topping are heat sensitive, do not start assembling the cake until it is at room temperature.
What is the soft peak stage? When placing the egg beaters upright, the egg whites will curl downwards.What are stiff peaks? When lifting the egg beaters the egg whites stand straight upright forming a stiff peak. What can I use to replace the rum? A teaspoon of vanilla extract is a great replacement.How do you store this dessert? Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.Please keep in mind that the nutritional information provided below is just a rough estimate and variations can occur depending on the specific ingredients used. *adapted from Homemaker's Magazine