This moist, not too sweet Lemon Ricotta Cake is topped with a fresh lemon glaze for a delicious snack or dessert the whole family will love!
Growing up I thought I did not like cake, which I realize is sort of odd for a child. Most of those old school birthday party cakes picked up from the grocery store were dry and topped with a sickeningly sweet icing that just wasn't my jam.
Fast forward some (read "many") years down the road and y'all, I love me some cake.
This Lemon Ricotta Cake is one of my absolutely favorites. It's incredibly easy to make. It's not too sweet or heavy and that fresh lemon glaze on top gives it just the right amount of sweet and tang.
My children devoured this cake and I think your family will too! Enjoy!
What is ricotta cheese?
Ricotta is a type of Italian cheese made from whey leftover in cheese production. Ricotta is creamy, surprisingly fresh tasting and absolutely perfect for desserts!
You can find ricotta in the cheese aisle at most grocery stores. I highly recommend using full fat ricotta for this recipe (and all others) as the reduced fat options do not have the same texture and flavor.
Other dessert recipes you will love!
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Mixing bowls: These Pyrex glass mixing bowls are my go to!
- Stand mixer or hand mixer: I absolutely love my KitchenAid Stand Mixer but they also have a great hand mixer that works amazing well.
- Microplane, grater or zester: I like this Oxo Zester and Grater.
- 9 inch Spring form cake pan: You can use a regular round cake pan but I prefer using a Springform pan for this recipe as it's so easy to remove.
- All purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Nutmeg: Dried or freshly grated both work.
- White granulated sugar
- Lemons: You will need the zest and juice of 1 lemon, and just juice of another.
- Unsalted butter: If you only have salted butter that will work. Just don't add any additional salt to the recipe.
- Olive oil
- Eggs: Ideally at room temperature.
- Vanilla extract
- Ricotta cheese: I HIGHLY recommend using full fat ricotta. The low fat versions do not have the same flavor and texture.
- Powdered sugar
Step by Step Instructions
Time needed: 45 minutes.
How to make Lemon Ricotta Cake
- Combine the dry ingredients.
- Pinch the lemon zest into the sugar.
- Cream the lemon sugar and butter and add the remaining wet ingredients.
- Add the dry ingredients in two batches. Mix until just combined.
- Transfer mixture to a springform pan and bake at 350 degrees F for around 30-35 minutes.
- Take cake out of the oven and allow to cool. Make lemon glaze.
- Pour glaze on top of the cake and enjoy!
This cake is not overly sweet and this makes a great breakfast or snack in addition to dessert.
Serve on its own or top with some fresh berries and cream.
Oven temperatures do vary so you'll want to keep an eye on the cake the last 5-10 minutes of cooking. You'll know when the cake is done when you insert and toothpick or metal skewer into the center of the cake and it comes out clean.
Yes, you can. I love the zing and sweetness the glaze gives the cake but it is still delicious on its own.
This cake will last about 3 days on the counter in an air tight container.
I don't recommend freezing this cake. It changes the texture quite a bit and ends up being less pleasant.
I don't recommend it. A lot of flavor comes from the zest of fresh lemons which you won't get from bottled juice.
Tips and tricks
- Pinch the lemon zest into the sugar before adding other ingredients. It may sound tempting to skip this step but I recommend you don't. It only takes a minutes and really infuses lemon flavor into the cake.
- Grease the cake pan. You can go old school and use butter and flour, or a baking spray. But don't skip the step of greasing the pan as this cake has a tendency to stick.
Other recipes you might enjoy
Made this recipe? Let me know what you think in the comments!
Lemon Ricotta Cake
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Mixing bowls
- Microplane or grater
- Stand mixer or hand mixer
- spring form pan or 9 inch round cake pan
For the lemon ricotta cake
- 1.5 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- pinch of nutmeg
- pinch of salt
- ¾ cup white granulated sugar
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 eggs ideally at room temperature
- 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup ricotta cheese, full fat
For the lemon glaze
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 4 tsp fresh lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9 inch round spring form or cake pan.
- In a mixing bowl add flour, baking powder, baking soda and a pinch of nutmeg.Stir to combine, breaking up any lumps. Set aside.
- In another mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer combine granulated sugar with lemon zest. Use your fingers to pinch the zest into the sugar until it is well incorporated and fragrant. Add butter to the sugar and cream together on medium speed for 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. Add in olive oil and continue mixing on medium for another minute. While continuing to mix on medium speed add in eggs one at a time and vanilla extract for another minute until well combined. Stop the mixer and add in the juice of 1 lemon and ricotta cheese. Mix on low for about 15-30 seconds until the ricotta is well incorporated.
- Add about ½ of the flour mixture into the bowl with the wet mixture. Mix on low for 15-20 seconds until just combined. Then add the remaining flour and mix on low for another 15-20 seconds until combined with no streaks of flour. Be careful not to over mix.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 32-37 minutes or until a toothpick or metal skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes. out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and, if using a spring form pan, detach the sides. Allow the cake to cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the glaze
- When the cake it cool to the touch make the lemon glaze. Combine ½ cup of powdered sugar with about 4 tsps of fresh lemon juice. Mix until there are no more lumps. Pour of brush the glaze on top of the cake and serve. Enjoy!