Welcome spring with this amazing Lemon Ricotta Cake! A simple, elegant, and delicious cake that is moist, lemony, and light, yet rich and decadent. Serve a slice of this cake with a dollop of whipped cream and fresh berries/berry compote, a truly delicious treat!
I completed 5 years of blogging on the 17th of this month, and I completely forgot about it until I saw a notification from WordPress. Or else this would have been posted a couple of days ago! Nevertheless, I would still love to share this tasty lemon and ricotta cake recipe, which is one of my favorites
I’d like to dedicate this recipe to all you lovely readers, especially those who keep coming back and hanging around my little space often. I can’t thank you enough! I hope you will continue to visit the site, try more recipes and share your feedback with me <3
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An Italian-inspired cake apt for any occasion
This cake is an adaption of my lemon blueberry cake with the inclusion of ricotta cheese. Ricotta is indeed the star ingredient in this cake and pairs exceptionally well with lemon. The two make a heavenly combination!
So this cake is absolutely tasty, it has a subtle lemon flavor, with the right amount of sweetness, it is a dense cake, but moist and decadent, and yet so light! Perfect summer treat!
I’ve yet to taste an authentic Italian ricotta cake. It is not something that you can stumble upon in a regular bakery outside Italy. Even in the country, I’m sure there are lots of regional variations. The authentic version is made with semolina or almond flour, and I’ve not incorporated either of those in this recipe.
I’m sharing my version of this lovely Italian lemon ricotta cake that always turns out beautifully. I thought it needed to be shared with you guys so that you could try and enjoy it as much as we do.
And what better occasion than this! Since it’s been 5 years of my blogging journey, it is only fair to share a sweet treat 🙂
I love chocolate-based desserts, it is right there on top of my list of favorites. But I lean towards lemon-based desserts during this season. A simple lemon loaf, lemon bars, lemon tart, lemon crinkle cookies are a few of my favorites citrus desserts!
What’s not to love after all! The bright, tart-sweet flavor of this citrus fruit adds a zing to anything and everything it is used in, be it sweet or savory!
Some pointers for this lemon ricotta cake
- Cake pan: I used a regular 8-inch round cake pan. Remember to grease the bottom and sides very well. I also like to line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. You may also use an 8-inch springform pan or a pan with a removable bottom to release the cake easily.
- Room temperature ingredients: It is ideal and the best practice to use room temperature ingredients when it comes to baking. Using room temperature ingredients ensures that the ingredients mix well without overworking the batter. Overmixing the batter always results in a tough cake. Remember to keep your ingredients out at least 30 minutes to an hour before you plan to bake the cake.
- Avoid overmixing: Do not overmix the batter once you add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. I always mention this because we do have a tendency to overmix until we see no more lumps. A few tiny lumps are fine in the batter. Mix until you see no more flour pockets and you should be good to go. This will ensure the cake has a nice and light crumb.
- Sweetness: This cake is not very sweet, the quantity of sugar in this recipe balances out the tartness of the lemon. You can reduce it to 3/4 cup if you prefer a less sweet cake.
- Fresh lemon juice: Please try and use fresh lemons. Besides the juice, you will also need the zest for that lemony flavor. And remember to zest the lemon first, before squeezing out the juice. I’ve used 2 tablespoons of lemon zest in this recipe, you could also add more for more lemon flavor or in addition to the lemon juice and zest, you can also add 1 teaspoon of lemon extract.
- Ricotta cheese: I used store-bought, whole milk ricotta cheese in a tub (BelGioioso con latte brand) and I did not drain it. If you use wetter ricotta, you may need to drain it. You can also use part-skim ricotta cheese, though I highly suggest sticking to whole milk ricotta for best results.
- Frosting: We really enjoy a slice of this cake served with lightly sweetened whipped cream and a berry compote. You can make this cake fancy by dividing it in two-layers and icing it with a simple buttercream or a lemon buttercream frosting for a heightened lemon flavor. Or simply drizzle the cake with lemon glaze.
- Loaf cake: You can transfer the batter to a 9×5-inch loaf pan for a lemon ricotta loaf cake, keep an eye on the baking time, it should take about 55-60 minutes. If you find the top browning too quickly, cover the loaf pan loosely with an aluminum foil after 45 minutes and continue baking until done.
- Cupcakes: You can make cupcakes with this batter instead of baking an entire cake. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
- Make-ahead: You can make this cake a day in advance and store it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days max. I do not recommend keeping it out for longer than that. If you still have leftovers after 2 days, refrigerate the cake in an airtight container. Bring it to room temperature before serving.
- Freezing ricotta cake: Once the cake has cooled down completely, wrap it with a cling film, and aluminum foil. Transfer to an airtight container, label, and freeze up to 2 months. Let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.
What does this cake taste like?
The texture and flavor of this lemon ricotta cake is reminiscent of the popular Indian mawa cake, found in Iranian bakeries. Mawa Cake is a cardamom flavored, dense and moist cake infused with milk solids. Except here we have that lemony flavor from the lemon zest and juice in the recipe.
The lemon adds a refreshing element and the creamy ricotta cheese lends moisture to this cake. This cake is simply amazing and absolutely perfect to welcome spring or great to be served at Easter brunch or end a fabulous meal on a lovely note with this light dessert.
You will love this cake because
- It is simple and luscious, with the perfect balance of sweet-tart, that is great for any occasion.
- It is a lovely citrus dessert, that can be enjoyed plain with a cup of tea or coffee or can be enjoyed as a dessert topped with some whipped cream or mascarpone or creme fraiche and berries.
You may also enjoy these simple cake recipe
- Eggless date and walnut loaf cake
- Eggless mango loaf cake
- Marble loaf cake
- Eggless rava (semolina) cake
How to make lemon ricotta cake – Step by step instructions
Step 1: Preheat the oven and prepare the pan
Preheat the oven to 350° F/180° C, position a rack in the middle of the oven. Prepare an 8-inch round cake pan, by greasing it with oil spray or butter and lining the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Trace the shape of the pan by placing it over the parchment paper, then trim and place the reverse side of the paper on to the bottom of the pan.
Step 2: Whisk dry ingredients
In a medium mixing bowl, sift 1.5 cups flour, 1.5 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, whisk the dry ingredients until well combined. Set aside.
Step 3: Cream butter and sugar
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 1/2 cup unsalted butter and 1 cup sugar on medium-high speed until light and creamy, scraping down in between, about 2-3 minutes. Or you can use an electric hand mixer/beater.
Step 4: Add ricotta cheese
Add 1 cup of whole milk ricotta cheese, continue beating on medium speed until fluffy.
Step 5: Add eggs
Add in the eggs one at a time, continue beating on medium-high speed. Scrape the sides of the bowl in between. The batter will look curdled at this point, and that is okay.
Step 6: Almond extract, lemon zest, and juice
Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or 1.5 teaspoons of vanilla extract), 2 tablespoons of lemon zest, and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Beat on medium speed for another 30 seconds.
Step 7: Add dry ingredients
Add the dry ingredients and mix on the lowest possible speed until there are no more flour pockets. (DO NOT OVERMIX).
Step 8: Bake
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Gently tap it on the counter 2-3 times to remove the air bubbles. Sprinkle about 1 to 2 tablespoons of slivered almonds all over the top (optional). Bake on the middle rack for 35-40 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Step 9: Cool the cake on a wire rack
Transfer the cake to a cooling rack. Let it cool down in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool on the rack completely. Invert the cake gently and peel off the parchment paper. Flip it back, slice the cake, and serve! I used some leftover berry compote that I had remaining from my granola yogurt parfait.
★ If you try this moist ricotta cake recipe, I would love to hear from you! I’d appreciate it if you could rate and leave a review below in the comments. Your reviews help others know the recipe better too. Feel free to share your feedback and suggestions at [email protected] Thanks so much 🙂
Lemon Ricotta Cake Recipe
- 1.5 cups of all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled 214 grams
- 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, 113 grams
- 1 cup granulated sugar, 210 grams
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese, 245 grams
- 2 large eggs, approx 114 grams
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, 45 grams
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons of slivered almonds
- Preheat the oven to 350° F/180° C, position a rack in the middle of the oven. Prepare an 8-inch round cake pan, by greasing it with oil spray or butter and lining the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add salt, whisk the dry ingredients until well combined. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat unsalted butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and creamy, scraping down in between, about 2-3 minutes. Or you can use an electric hand mixer/beater.
- Add ricotta cheese, continue beating on medium speed until fluffy.
- Add in the eggs one at a time, continue beating on medium-high speed. Scrape the sides of the bowl in between. The batter will look curdled at this point, and that is okay.
- Add almond extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Beat on medium speed for another 30 seconds.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix on the lowest possible speed until there are no more flour pockets. (DO NOT OVERMIX).
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Gently tap it on the counter 2-3 times to remove the air bubbles. Sprinkle some slivered almonds all over the top (optional). Bake on the middle rack for 35-40 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Transfer the cake to a cooling rack. Let it cool down in the pan for 15 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool on the rack completely.
- Invert the cake gently and peel off the parchment paper. Flip it back, slice the cake, and serve!