This lemon ricotta cake has moist, fluffy texture and a light, creamy flavor from ricotta and fresh lemon. It's super easy to make and only takes a little powdered sugar to look beautiful!
Lemon ricotta cake is a classic dessert that can be found all over Italy in bakeries and cafes, but especially Sicily where it originated. There are a ton of variations in flavors and toppings! My version has a light almond flavor to compliment the lemon and creamy ricotta. Lemon ricotta cake is perfect for a summer desserts, but also delicious with fresh fruit for a weekend brunch!
You just need a few ingredients to make this lemon ricotta cake!
Cake flour - I always use cake flour in my cakes because it makes them super soft and tender, but all purpose flour also works great!
Almond flour - Substituting a portion of the flour for almond flour is one of my favorite tricks! It yields tender baked goods with a slightly nutty flavor. But if you prefer, just substitute all purpose flour.
Almond extract - I love using almond extract for a little extra almond flavor, but you can leave it out if you prefer!
Ricotta cheese - Full-fat whole milk ricotta is best for this cake because it's less runny and has a richer, creamier flavor!
Lemon juice & zest - I highly recommend using fresh lemons for the best flavor! But you can always substitute with a little bottled lemon juice if necessary.
The complete list of ingredients and amounts is located in the recipe card below.
Cake Topping Suggestions
How to Make Lemon Ricotta Cake
Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray a 9 inch round cake pan with pan spray (you can also use a 9 inch springform pan instead).
Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a hand mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, and lemon zest until fully combined and fluffy.
Then add in the ricotta and mix in for at least 5 minutes (this helps make the cake fluffy)!
Next mix in the eggs, lemon juice, vanilla, and almond extract until fully incorporated.
Gently fold in the flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until just combined. The batter will be thick.
Pour into your prepared cake pan.
Bake at 350°F for 45-55 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
To remove from the pan, gently slide a butter knife around the edges. Then place a cooling rack on top the cake pan and invert. The pan should slide cleanly away.
Let the lemon ricotta cake cool completely. Then dust the top with powdered sugar.
Serve with whipped cream, fresh mint, and fresh berries if desired!
Tips for the Best Baked Goods
Use room temperature ingredients! Always make sure ingredients like butter, eggs, milk, yogurt, etc. are at room temperature before baking (unless the recipe indicates otherwise)! This ensures they'll incorporate into the batter more easily and leads to overall better texture. Remove all ingredients from the fridge 30 minutes to an hour before baking for best results.
Measure your flour correctly! It's most accurate to use a kitchen scale, but if you're measuring by volume you want to spoon and level! Fluff up the flour a bit with a spoon, and then spoon flour into the measuring cup. Once it's overflowing, use the back of a knife to level it off. Don't ever pack flour into the measuring cup or you'll end up with way too much! Improperly measured flour can lead to dry, dense baked goods. [Measure cocoa powder the same way!]
Use an oven thermometer! Just because your oven says it's 350, doesn't mean it is! If you oven hasn't been calibrated recently, it can be as much as 30 degrees off, which will negatively affect all baked goods from cakes to macarons! An oven thermometer is the easiest/cheapest way to ensure your oven is always at the proper temperature.
Make sure you baking powder is fresh! Baking powder is important for helping baked goods rise properly, but it has a relatively short shelf life once opened, so it's one of the few items I never buy in bulk! To test if your baking powder is still fresh, add a small amount to boiling water. If it bubbles it's still good to use, but if not it's time to toss it!
Store the lemon ricotta cake in the fridge for up to 5 days! Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
Tips for Success!
For best results I always recommend using weight measurements (especially when baking) because it's the most accurate. Kitchen scales are super affordable and also reduce the number of dishes you have to do! However, all my recipes also include US customary measurements for convince. Use this chart to convert measurements for common ingredients!
Substitutions: In all my recipes, I've included substitutions that I know will work, but I cannot guarantee results if you substitute ingredients that I have not recommended. [For example, granulated sugar and honey are indeed both sweeteners but they have very different properties so they can not always be swapped 1:1. Using honey in a cookie recipe that calls for granulated sugar will yield a giant mess.] In the recipe card you'll find links to the specific ingredients/brands that I use.
A note on salt: I almost exclusively use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt because it's the best all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If you're not using kosher salt, consult this handy guide for a conversion chart! When in doubt, if you're using table salt just reduce the amount by half for baked goods. When cooking, I prefer to under-salt because you can always add more! If you've over-salted, adding a little bit of acid (like lemon juice) can help.
More Recipes You Might Like!
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Lemon Ricotta Cake
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 1 ½ cups whole milk ricotta cheese
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract, optional
- 1 ½ cups cake flour, substitute all purpose flour
- ¼ cup almond flour, substitute all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- powdered sugar
- whipped cream
- fresh mint
- lemon slices
- fresh berries
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray a 9 inch round cake pan with pan spray (you can also use a 9 inch springform pan instead).
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a hand mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, and lemon zest until fully combined and fluffy.
- Then add in the ricotta and mix in for at least 5 minutes (this helps make the cake fluffy)!
- Next mix in the eggs, lemon juice, vanilla, and almond extract until fully incorporated.
- Gently fold in the flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until just combined. The batter will be thick.
- Pour into your prepared cake pan.
- Bake at 350°F for 45-55 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- To remove from the pan, gently slide a butter knife around the edges. Then place a cooling rack on top the cake pan and invert. The pan should slide cleanly away.
- Let the lemon ricotta cake cool completely. Then dust the top with powdered sugar. Serve with whipped cream, fresh mint, and fresh berries if desired!
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.