I tend to love desserts I can eat anytime, not just when I’m already feeling completely bloated after a delicious meal. Don’t get me wrong. I love a perfectly prepared tiramisu or panna cotta or anything with ridiculous amounts of ultra gooey cream cheese frosting. I just can’t seem to eat them for, say…breakfast. They’re just too much. These desserts are wearing tuxedos and I’m sitting in the kitchen with curlers in my hair and worn pjs. I can’t do it. This lemon ricotta cake on the other hand…
Hmmmm…this lemon ricotta cake is a perfect, any time-type sweet.
Delectable dessert to present proudly to friends and loved ones? Check.
Weeee! This cake has the loveliest, oh so subtle lemon-y flavor and a dense, creamy and buttery texture that is magically easy to down…even on a very full belly. It also tastes, remarkably, like it contains vanilla extract though it doesn’t have a lick of it. It’s the natural sweetness of the ricotta that creates the illusion that it does. Why, it’s downright magic if you ask me.
You may just need to make it to see for yourself….
By the way, I grew up eating my mom’s version of ricotta cake, which was a crostata, or tart. While I adore my mom’s I like this just as much because it bypasses the crust and is perfect for those times when I’ve maxed out on wheat and feel I need a break from it. It’s also faster and easier to make to boot while still achieving incredible currency in the palate department. This recipe in particular is an ever so slight adaptation I discovered on an absolutely beautiful food blog, Italian Food Forever. I cut down on the amount of lemon flavor because I typically like just a flirtatious glance in lemon’s direction and not a full body experience.
making lemon ricotta cake
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan with parchment paper and then grease it with butter.
Beat 12 tablespoons (3/4 cup) of softened, unsalted butter and 3/4 cups of sugar with a hand or stand mixer until light and fluffy.
The fluffiness will only happen if the butter has reached room temperature.
Add the zest of 2 lemons, the eggs yolks, and 1 cup of whole milk ricotta cheese(store bought or homemade) and beat until smooth.
In a small bowl, add 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of all-purpose white flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder and a dash of salt and aerate the mixture with a whisk for a few seconds. Add the flour mixture slowly into the butter mixture until combined. It is fully integrated with the flour when you see that the dough starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl.
Beat the three egg whites in a separate bowl (I use the whisk attachment of my immersion blender for the job) until stiff.
Add the stiff egg whites to the batter.
Using a plastic spatula, gently fold the stiff egg whites into the batter, and then spoon the batter into the prepared springform pan.
Place the pan in the oven and lower the temperature to 350°F. Bake for about 40-50 minutes, or until a cake tester stuck into the center comes out clean and the top of the cake has a nice golden color.
Cool to room temperature before serving topped with powdered sugar and optional strawberry slices.
Makes 8-10 servings.