Lemon Ricotta Cake

lemonricottacake2 copy
I am not one for fancy desserts that require a lot of fiddling with, and I really prefer rustic fruit tarts, or simple cakes that can be enjoyed from breakfast right through dinner just like this one. I have had this easy recipe for a very moist Lemon Ricotta Cake in my files for quite a while, and although I have made it a number of times in the past, I just recently realized that I have never shared it.

This is a lovely cake as the ricotta keeps the cake nice and moist and it has just enough lemon flavor to keep it from being at all boring. Because it is a fairly basic cake though, you do do a lot with it. It is wonderful glazed with a light lemon glaze, or served sliced with a scoop full of macerated berries, or other fruit on top which is how I prefer to serve it.

This cake will keep at room temperature well wrapped for two days, but if you are keeping it longer, or if your kitchen is warm I’d store it in the refrigerator. The texture does become a little more dense once it has been refrigerated, but it is just as delicious.

I am very lucky living here in Umbria that I can buy freshly made sheep’s milk ricotta cheese as well as organic lemons from the Amalfi coast, but any good quality full fat ricotta cheese will work just fine. If your ricotta seems very wet, simply place it in a sieve over a bowl to remove excess liquid for 30 minutes or so. Use unwaxed lemons for the best flavor.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 

Lemon Ricotta Cake

Lemon Ricotta Cake

Yield: Serves 6 - 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

A simple lemon flavored cake that includes ricotta cheese, keeping the cake ver moist.


  • 3/4 Cup Softened Butter
  • 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • Zest From 3 Large Lemons
  • 1 Teaspoon Lemon Extract
  • 3 Large Eggs, Separated
  • 1 Cup Full Fat Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Plus 2 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • Dash of Salt

To Serve:

  • Fresh Strawberries


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Lightly grease and flour a 7 or 8 inch spring-form pan.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar with a hand mixer until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the lemon zest, extract, egg yolks and ricotta cheese and beat until smooth.
  5. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt, and beat into the butter mixture just until combined.
  6. Wash your beaters well, and then beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff.
  7. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter then spoon the batter into your prepared tin.
  8. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a cake tester stuck into the center comes out clean.
  9. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. Hi,

    My parents dont eat egg. Can there be a replacement of egg here? I really would like to try this cake.


  2. I replaced all lemon products with lime, used lime juice instead of extract and made this cake with some homemade ricotta I had….topped with a little lime glaze and more zest…..DELISH!

  3. This is such a Beautiful cake..So easy to make. Keep very well..If it stay that long as everyone want’ the recipe its so moist and delisious…
    Thank you for sharing your recepie..I love it and have made it several times this week and given some away as gifts…
    Many thanks..I am trying some of your other cakes now..
    Jenny West Australia..

  4. This cake was absolutely delicious. I added cocounut and made it in a 10″ springform pan because it was all I had. As a result, it was very thin, so a made another layer and put a bit of vanilla pudding in between the layers and on top, then topped with lots of strawberries. This cake was an absolute hit, and one of the best I’ve ever eaten. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Hi, Deborah,

    I made this wonderful cake this weekend and it was so delicious I ate about half of it myself:)! I think I’ll make it again soon:). And that’s why I have some questions about it:

    1. Though the cake rose very well, it settled later while cooling and became quite thin. How can I prevent it next time?

    2. If I want to add some lemon juice to the batter, should I increase the amount of flour? If yes, how much should I add for 1 teaspoon of lemon juice?

    Thank you very much for the recipe and advices:)

  6. Sounds GREAT! My husband heard about a chocolate/ricotta cake and like the comment above I’m thinking of layering them with the chocolate in the middle. Think it will work? I also love the coconut idea!

  7. Just made this gorgeous cake with some of my own homemade ricotta cheese. Amazingly moist and lemony. Think I should have perhaps cooked it a wee bit longer as it sunk in the middle as it cooled. Tastes amazing though!

  8. I have two packages of beautiful, fresh raspberries… Do you think this cake would work with raspberries incorporated into the batter?

  9. Thanks for the recipe. This was delicious. I didn’t have lemon extract so I used lemon juice. I was worried that the lemon juice was curdling the ricotta because I was not getting a smooth mixture, but I just went for it and it baked up just fine and tasted great. I made a lemon curd for the topping because strawberries weren’t in season. Very tasty.

    1. This cake is perfect and delicious! Moist, lightly lemony. A perfect foil for fresh fruits and berries. I glazed mine with powdered Swerve and a few teaspoons of the juice from the grated lemons. Ill take this any day over cheesecake! Thank you for sharing.

  10. What a fantastic cake! I made it, holding back on the lemon flavoring the slightest bit, and it was simply delicious! I loved discovering your site and will be back frequently for inspiration!

  11. Thanks for the recipe! Looks delicious and can’t wait to try it. I currently only have a 6″ springform pan on hand — will it still work, do you think, or is too small? Thanks.

    1. Sara, the cake will obviously be smaller but thicker but I think it should work just fine. The baking time may be a little different though, so just keep an eye on that. I’m heading to Amalfi tomorrow so hope to find some new lemon recipes!

  12. I’m so happy that you reposted your recipe for the ricotta cheesecake as my husband likes it much better than the typical American cheesecake. I made blueberry sauce yesterday so maybe this was meant to be. 🙂

  13. I did try this recipe. The cake was wonderful. In India , we have ricotta version called paneer.So I got a block of paneer which I smashed into a fine paste in a mixer. I used Keylime juice. People said that it was the best!

  14. This cake looks fantastic,,i want to bake it for my husbands birthday.
    Is there any way i can replace the butter in the cake?
    Please advice.

    1. DV, it would be tricky to replace the butter with anything else. I have replaced butter with coconut oil in things like muffins or cookies, but not sure that it would work in this cake.

      1. What a lovely cake,,,thank you so much.I did not replace the butter and the cake was delicious…My family enjoyed it..the birthday was a hit…a big thank you .

  15. My food bill has risen since I found your outstanding website! I’m cooking meals that are restaurant quality! Therefore I’m really SAVING money! Haha! Thank you!!

  16. Thank you for sharing this recipe, I can’t wait to try it.  I love ricotta cheese and this seems like a lighter version of the traditional cheesecake.  Much healthier for me and my family!  Much appreciation.  

  17. Beautiful cake. I made this to console myself after trying (and failing) to recreate an amazing Italian Rice & Ricotta Cake that a suburb cafe near my office serves at breakfast. I was very happy with the result. Cooking time took a little longer than stated but I simply waited until the centre had lost its wobble. For anyone who can’t get their head around the US obsession with using ‘cups’ to measure everything (Even butter?! Why, America, WHY?) 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour = 80 grams. 3/4 cup butter = roughly 175 grams. 1 cup ricotta = 250g. The cake was delicious. I made a really good, tart lemon syrup to go with it, and served with cream on the side. I have half left so I’m going to see how well it freezes. I run a tiny part-time catering business and if it freezes well (and I can’t see why not) I will make another one trialing GF flour and see if that works too. Fingers crossed! Thanks again for the recipe. It’s a winner.

    1. Hi Chris! I noticed you were going to try GF flour and wondered if you had and could share results? I would like to make this for a friends birthday who is allergic to gluten. Thanks 

  18. It smells delicious. I haven’t tried it yet, because I have to bring it tomorrow for someone’s birthday, but I can’t wait to taste it. Actually I tasted the batter before it baked and it was so yummy. I realized as I was set to add in the extract that I was out of lemon, so I just added orange extract, but I think that will just be a different citrusy deliciousness added to the recipe. I would love to make it again. My question is though whether the recipe could be doubled in the pan as the cake came out rather thin once baked. I know it is supposed to be that way and is a very dense rich cake, but I wondered if it could be made to fill the pan more to create a higher cake and how I would adjust the temperature/cooking time so that it doesn’t get overcooked on the outside and undercooked on the inside.

  19. I have been wanting to try this cake for a while and finally did for a friend’s birthday last night. It was fantastic! Beautiful and delicious. I also love the fact that it is small since I ordinarily don’t have many to cook for.

    I thought i had a very tight springform pan, but it still leaked (maybe the grease from greasing the pan?) onto my oven floor. Next time I will put a sheet pan under it.

    I love this website and I love Italy, so thanks for including pictures and stories about the country, as well.

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