The next time you need a simple yet delicious dessert, try this lemon ricotta cake recipe. It’s soft, rich, and wonderfully citrusy.
Better yet, it’s got the most dreamy ricotta cheese flavor. And it’s so moist, you don’t even need frosting or glaze.
What is Lemon Ricotta Cake?
As the name suggests, this cake features plenty of zippy citrus and lots of tangy, creamy ricotta cheese.
It’s not as sweet as some cakes, and while it’s plenty moist, it’s not very fluffy. Instead, it’s a bit dense - but it still melts in your mouth!
Easy Lemon Ricotta Cake Recipe
When you read this recipe, you might not think there’s enough lemon for it to be a lemon ricotta cake.
But I promise the zest of 1 whole lemon is more than enough flavor. And if you beat it with the butter and sugar, you’ll release all the oils (and flavor), so it’s insanely fragrant.
As for the sponge, it’s super rich and tender. But it’s not light and airy. Instead, it’s just the right amount of fluffy yet dense, thanks to the ricotta.
Feel free to serve it with a lemon glaze or frosting. But really, it doesn’t need it.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this yummy lemon ricotta cake:
- Butter - the key to making this rich and moist is real butter
- Flour - you’ll need self-raising flour for this, though you can also use a mix of all-purpose flour with baking powder
- Sugar - white sugar for sweetness
- Ricotta - full fat is best for taste and texture
- Eggs - to help the cake rise
- Vanilla - for warmth
- Lemon - you’ll need a whole lemon’s worth of zest to make this cake, plus the juice for the glaze
How to Make Lemon Ricotta Cake
As mentioned, this cake is quite dense. But if you mix the butter and ricotta well, it’ll be much lighter than usual.
- Cream the butter and sugar well - add the lemon zest at this point to help release the oils
- Add the ricotta and mix well - beat it until it’s very smooth
- Add the eggs - do this one at a time, and don’t worry if it looks curdled
- Add the flour and mix gently - stir by hand until you no longer see streaks of flour
- Bake until golden - it should spring back when pressed lightly
This recipe is pretty darn perfect. But you can’t go wrong with a few variations!:
Bake the cake with:
- Orange or lime zest instead of lemon
- Fresh strawberry slices on top
- Fresh raspberries on top
- Fresh blueberries
- Sliced almonds on top
Top it with:
- Lemon, raspberry, orange, or strawberry glaze
- Lemon and mascarpone frosting
- Candied lemon slices
Lemon Ricotta Cake Recipe
- 180 grams of Soft Butter (6.5 ounces)
- 180 grams of Self Raising Flour* (1 1/2 cups)
- 300 grams of White Sugar (1 1/2 cups)
- 400 grams of Ricotta (2 cups)
- 3 Eggs
- 2 teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- 50 grams of Powdered Sugar (1/2 cup)
- *180 grams of Cake or All-Purpose Flour + 1 3/4 teaspoons of Baking Powder
- Preheat the oven to 180°C / 360°F and lightly grease a 9x9-inch, round cake pan or springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Beat the butter with the sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Use an electric mixer or paddle attachment in a stand mixer.
- Add the ricotta cheese (drain it if it’s watery), then mix on low-medium speed for about 5 minutes until smooth and creamy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between additions. Add the vanilla with the final egg. (It may look curdled but don’t worry, that’s normal.)
- Add the flour and stir by hand with a spatula until it’s just combined.
- Pour the batter into the baking dish and bake for 35-45 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center.
- If it comes out clean, it’s ready.
- If not, bake in 5-minute intervals until done.
- Take the cake out of the oven and leave it to cool for 15 minutes in the cake pan. Then turn the cake onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- When the cake is cold, dust it with powdered sugar and serve.