I am always trying to find new recipes to have on hand for easy entertaining, even if that just means entertaining myself!
An arsenal of recipes that are fresh, easy, and that allow you to spend your time in with the guests or family members, rather than being stuck in the kitchen, are good to have.
I have a range of chocolate recipes, but once in a while I crave something light and refreshing.
During my recipe quest I found this delicious Italian lemon ricotta cake and decided to make my own, cheesecake style. This no-fuss recipe is perfect for warm summer days (or frankly, any time of year), as well as any celebration.
This cake is not dripping in chocolate or caramel. It does not even have sprinkles. But the flavors are pure and nothing short of delicious.
A slice of this lemon ricotta cheesecake is great on its own, but I like to additionally dust it with some powdered sugar, and when I really want refreshing piece, I drizzle it with a sugar-lemon glaze.
This cake can easily be made ahead (and I personally like it after sitting in the fridge). All you have to do is dress it quickly just before serving.
Either way, this fluffy cheesecake with ricotta and lemony lightness makes for the ultimate Italian style cake.
Let’s get started!
What is Italian Lemon Ricotta Cake?
The lemon ricotta cake is similar to traditional lemon cake, but is not too sweet and has a slightly denser texture. This cake is a traditional Italian dessert or even served with a piece of fruit for breakfast as a special treat.
How to Get a Strong Lemon Flavor?
To get most of the lemon flavor in your cake, make sure you zest the lemon directly into the mixing bowl. This way every drop of lemon oil will end up in your cake and not on the kitchen surface.
Which Lemons to Use
There is something magical in lemons – the bright color, the beautiful scent, and refreshing taste have always seemed decadently alluring to me.
Lemons are endlessly versatile in the kitchen and can be used for both, sweet and savory dishes. Can you imagine fish without lemons or a cheesecake without one? This bright yellow fruit has won my heart and I use it almost daily in my kitchen.
Speaking about lemon varieties, there are three common types: Meyer, Lisbon, and Eureka. You can choose which you like based on their slight flavor note differences:
Meyer lemons are a cross between mandarin oranges and lemons. They are small, a touch sweet, and super special.
While they are not too spectacularly sweet, they do have substantially less of a tangy flavor than a regular lemon. Another fabulous fact about Meyer lemons is that they are seedless so you can forget about picking pesky seeds from the juice.
When you go to the store to buy lemons, there’s a really high chance you will find Eureka lemons, known also as citrus limon.
These lemons are larger, tarter, and more vibrant in color color than Meyer lemons. The zest and juice of Eureka lemons can bring life to chicken and seafood, berries, and of course, cheesecake!
The Lisbon lemon is a somewhat bitter-flavored lemon. As with other varieties, however, it can be used for savory and sweet dishes. The Lisbon lemon is similar to the Eureka lemon in flavor and acidity.
If you want to choose Lisbon lemon, you should know it has a thinner skin than the Eureka, and is a bit smoother.
Unlike the Eureka, Lisbon lemons are seedless. Lisbon lemons are also great because they have more juice than the Eureka lemon.
Making a Fluffy Ricotta Cake
The key to making ricotta cake fluffy rather than dense is to beat ricotta with butter and sugar. If you just whip the ricotta in you will get a dense cake. Also, make sure to start with your butter and ricotta at room temperature.
Of course this does not have to be an issue and will certainly not impact the flavor, but a fluffier cake always looks better.
To achieve the desired texture, I usually beat ricotta for a few minutes. For this I recommend using a stand mixer. There is no need to stand over it, but if you do not have one, a plain handheld mixer will work as well.
Ricotta cake is notorious for being dense like a pound cake, however this simple task of taking time to whip in the air will make a difference how your cake turns out.
The key here is patience.
How To Make an Italian Lemon Ricotta Cake
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add ricotta and beat for a few minutes until light.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
Add lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla.
Fold in baking powder and flour.
Stir until you have a smooth batter.
Pour the batter into a 9-inch springform pan lined with parchment paper.
Bake the cake for 45 minutes.
Cool the cake on a wire rack before removing from the spring form. Dust the cake with powdered sugar, serve, and enjoy.
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 15oz. whole milk ricotta cheese
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy.
- Add ricotta and beat for a few minutes until light.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
- Add lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla.
- Fold in baking powder and flour. Stir until you have a smooth batter.
- Pour the batter into a 9-inch springform pan lined with parchment paper.
- Bake the cake for 45 minutes.
- Cool the cake on a wire rack before removing from the spring form. Dust the cake with powdered sugar, serve, and enjoy.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 9 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 545Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 140mgSodium: 254mgCarbohydrates: 64gFiber: 1gSugar: 47gProtein: 10g
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