Homemade Lemon Ricotta Cake being cut
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Homemade Lemon Ricotta Cake

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This Homemade Lemon Ricotta Cake is a simple Italian cake made with whole milk ricotta cheese and fresh lemons.

homemade lemon ricotta cake next to a bowl of lemons

Of all the cakes in all the world. Lemon is by far my favorite to eat. For me, it is absolutely sublime. The sweetness from the sugar is paired with that intense citrusy element. All packed into a moist cake. There has yet to be a lemon cake on a dessert menu that I have passed on yet. Citrus to me equates to a fresh bold flavor.

As it happens, Italians are masters in creating bold foods from fresh flavors. In fact, freshness seems to be a common theme the more I explore Italian cooking or baking of any kind. It often comes down to quality and freshness hands down over anything complicated or otherwise fussy. Their food is straightforward, delicious and most often made with only the very best ingredients they can find.

To put it plainly, for them it’s either homegrown or locally sourced from a favorite vendor. But the food is also paired with a love that is unparalleled. Life is celebrated around the table in such a way that outsiders can only be romanced by it. Recipes are often passed down generationally as treasures kept within the confines of the family.

Why I Love This Recipe

Naturally, I had to try my hand at a classic lemon ricotta cake. Especially since I have entered the world of cheese making with this Homemade Ricotta. What better use for it than a lemon cake?

The tangy lemon flavor and the moistness given off from the ricotta in this are an outstanding pair. It’s a blend that creates the most delicious cake with all the elements I think one should have in any good cake. Moist, somewhat dense, and filled with a rich flavor. In this case, it’s fresh lemon and ricotta together. I probably don’t have to tell you that it’s incredibly delicious with a bold style coffee. Like a French Roast or even espresso if you can manage.

Cake with coffee is surely always a great treat but this one is exceptionally so. I like serving it as a light dessert or for a coffee date with a friend. Topped with just a bit of powdered sugar but also rather lovely with a bit of mascarpone cheese slathered on a slice. This Lemon Ricotta Cake is a great cake to try if you love a delicious lemon cake as much as I do.

ingredients to make homemade lemon ricotta cake

What You Will Need To Make It

1 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour

1 cup of sugar

2 medium lemons (for both the juice and the zest)

3 eggs (room temperature)

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese

1 tsp vanilla

pinch of sea salt

powdered sugar to top

Directions

Start by sifting the flour and baking powder through a sifter into a bowl. Add a pinch of salt and stir lightly to combine. Set flour mixture aside. In another bowl, cream the olive oil, sugar, and vanilla until smooth and golden. Add the zest of both lemons along with their juice to the bowl. Once incorporated, begin adding one egg at a time, mixing until well combined. Slowly combine the flour mixture into the wet mixture.

lady sifting flour into a bowl

A good idea is to add half of the flour mix at first and then add the rest gradually. Finally, it is time to fold in the ricotta cheese. Do this by placing the ricotta on top of the batter and using a spoon begin working it into the batter. The batter will appear somewhat lumpy due to the ricotta cheese. It is now time to pour the batter into your cake dish.

a cake in a springform pan ready for the oven

You can opt to use either a loaf-style cake pan for this or a circular pan. I like using my spring form pan for easy removal later. I place a piece of parchment paper down at the bottom. Grease your pan well and add the cake batter. Bake for 40 minutes or until the middle does not wobble. You want the cake at the just done point. Not overly baked. Garnish the cake with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

a homemade lemon ricotta cake on a a white dish

Baking Notes

  • Be sure to bake the cake until it is just done. The cake is best when barely golden and has just set. Check it at the 35 to the 40-minute point. Remove from the oven when the center is no longer wobbly.
  • Use room temperature eggs. This helps create a uniformly textured batter and the eggs are more easily mixed in.
  • I use a hand grater for the lemons but if you don’t have one. You can use a sharp pairing knife to peel the lemon from the rind. Be careful not to get any of the bitter pith on the peels you will be using in the cake. Chop them finely to add the zest to the cake.
  • I use organic unbleached all-purpose flour for this recipe but you can also use cake flour as well.

Serving Suggestions For Homemade Lemon Ricotta Cake

This cake is perfectly delicious on its own however here are a few other ways to serve your Homemade Lemon Ricotta Cake:

  • Try it with a dollop of mascarpone cheese spread across your slice.
  • This cake is delicious during the summer months with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  • For a gathering, it is nice to place a bowl of homemade whipped cream in the center of the table for guests to dollop as they wish. To make a homemade whipped cream simply add 1 cup of heavy whipping cream to a mixer bowl along with 1 tbsp of sugar. Place the whipping paddle on and whip until peaks form in the cream. Place in a pretty bowl with a spoon.

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homemade lemon ricotta cake on a cake platter

If you try this cake and love it, I would appreciate you coming back to give it 5 stars!

Homemade Lemon Ricotta Cake being cut

Homemade Lemon Ricotta Cake

Yield: 1 cake
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

a sweet simple Italian cake made with whole milk ricotta cheese and fresh lemons

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups whole ricotta cheese
  • 2 medium lemons (for zest and juice)
  • pinch of salt
  • powdered sugar to top

Instructions

    1. Start by sifting the flour and baking powder through a sifter into a bowl.
    2. Add a pinch of salt and stir lightly to combine. Set flour mixture aside.
    3. In another bowl, cream the olive oil, sugar, and vanilla until smooth and golden.
    4. Add the zest of both lemons along with their juice to the bowl.
    5. Once incorporated, begin adding one egg at a time, mixing until well combined.
    6. Slowly combine the flour mix into the wet mixture. A good idea is to add half of the flour mix at first and then add the rest gradually.
    7. Finally, it is time to fold in the ricotta cheese. Do this by placing the ricotta on top of the batter and using a spoon to begin working it into the batter. The batter will appear somewhat lumpy due to the ricotta cheese. It is now time to pour the batter into your cake dish.
    8. You can opt to use either a loaf-style cake pan for this or a circular pan. I like using my spring form pan for easy removal later. I place a piece of parchment paper down at the bottom.
    9. Grease your pan well and add the cake batter.
    10. Bake for 40 minutes or until the middle does not wobble. You want the cake at the just done point. Not overly baked.
    11. Garnish the cake with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 448Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 205mgCarbohydrates: 62gFiber: 1gSugar: 40gProtein: 9g

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