Italy has been famously described as “the land where lemons grow.” Picture a sunny coast blooming with citrus trees weighed down heavily with golden summery lemons. Couple that with Sicily (the island just off the “toe” of Italy’s boot) being known for ‘ricotta’ – today’s version of a truly ancient cheesemaking method, and you can see how an abundance of this regional produce culminated in the creation of lemon & ricotta cake with whipped ricotta is originally known as “La torta con ricotta e limone”.
Lemon and ricotta cake with whipped ricotta is fresh and unique on the palate. It is soft and delicious with a stunning zesty sharpness from the lemon flavour. The refreshing tang of the citrus and the creamy ricotta produce a satisfying dense result. Overall the cake is moist and has a delicate crumb. The whole family can enjoy this at anytime of the day or serve as a dessert after dinner to guests. The wholesome goodness and compact consistency make it a lovely choice to pack for a picnic or a special treat for your child’s lunchbox.
This is a really simple easy cake recipe you can make a day ahead if you wish to be organised and I can confirm it will keep well for 2 days. (Beyond this I was not able to sustain the test period!) This is the perfect cake to have in your repertoire it’s not too over the top but is pure and honest just like a good carrot cake or a loaf of banana bread.
If you can, use organic lemons as both the juice and the grated zest of the lemons are used. I purchased the best quality ricotta I could get from a deli for this however if you want to or you aren’t able to get ricotta you could also make your own. (To do this you warm a large quantity of milk and use a squeeze of lemon which affects the milk by curdling it into lumps, these lumps are what you want and you strain this solution over a few hours into a cheese cloth and let it solidify).
-The key tip when baking this recipe is when using the ricotta you want to ensure you really strain the liquid out of it well before using it.
-I found it much easier to use a hand held mixer because a stand mixer may not scrape the bottom of the bowl properly for this recipe.
-The recipe calls for raw castor sugar however you could also use regular castor sugar.
-So the cake is not difficult to remove use a cake tin with removable base or spring form cake tin. Make sure to grease it well and put baking paper.
Once the cake has cooled you can dust some extra icing sugar across the top of it using a sifter so it’s even. Remember to wait until it has cooled before slicing to ensure a nice clean cut.
Serving Tips for your Lemon Ricotta Cake
Serve with zesty whipped ricotta and if you like add your favourite fruit. I chose strawberries since they are in season at the moment however I think passionfruit would go well too. In Italy they puree strawberries with lemon juice for a bright and cheery accompaniment.
This is a nice treat to enjoy that doesn’t feel too naughty. Perfect with a cup of tea!
As they say in Italy – Buon appetito!
How to make lemon ricotta cake with whipped ricotta
Watch this video to see how to make it
Check out our Decadent Desserts category for more delicious Dessert Recipes.
- 8” cake tin
- 125 butter softened to room temperature
- 1 1/4 cup fresh ricotta strain well
- 1 cup raw castor sugar 201 grams
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup self raising flour 136 grams
- 3 large eggs
- 1 Large lemon 3 tablespoons lemon juice & zest 1 tablespoon
Topping – Whipped Ricotta Ingredients:
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Lemon zest
- 1 ½ cups of ricotta
- ¼ cup of icing sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon of vanilla
- Preheat oven to 175 C Fan forced Oven or 180 C Convection Oven.
- Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together (with a hand held electric mixer).
- Add the eggs one by one.
- Add ricotta, ensuring liquid is strained out well. (use a strainer) When combining mix well so the lumps smooth out. If it starts to look curdled don’t despair it should adjust when cooked.
- Add lemon zest, lemon juice and SR flour – mix well with spatula
- Grease the sides of the tin with butter and line with baking paper
- Pour mix into tin & using a spatula smooth the top so its even
- Bake in the oven for 35-40min using 175 C Fan forced Oven or 180 C Convection Oven. Bake in the middle rack of the oven, at the last 10min of cooking rotate the cake tin halfway so it browns evenly. Cook until golden brown. Test with skewer, (its quite a moist cake so it wont be completely dry when skewer come out, but there shouldn’t be any raw batter)
- Run a knife around the tin to loosen the cake while hot then leave to cool in the tin completely before removing tin.
- Once completely cooled, dust with icing sugar and serve with whipped ricotta.
Topping – Whipped Ricotta Method
- In a mixing bowl place the ricotta, zest, icing sugar, and vanilla. Use an electric mixer to whip together. The consistency will be like thickened cream.
If you loved this recipe, check out our Burnt Basque Cheesecake.
Recipe creation Scarlett Forward, Story by Carmen Forward,
Photography by Rachel Trevarton. © Recipe to taste All rights reserved.