This version of Lemon Ricotta Cake features fresh lemon juice, ricotta cheese, almond flour, and olive oil. Super moist, lemony, and delicious!
This Lemon Ricotta Cake with almond flour puts an Italian spin on my favorite French Yogurt Cake. Rather than using yogurt in the cake, this recipe uses ricotta cheese instead. And replaces sliced almonds with fresh lemon flavor. The result is a tender cake, lightly sweet and lemony, made even more moist with the inclusion of almond flour and olive oil in the batter. A dusting of powdered sugar is all this cake needs to shine.
Why Make This Recipe
- One-Pan Cake: I’m a big fan of one-pan cakes that don’t require much time or effort to pull together. You can frost them, or not. And they won't be in your house for days, staring at you!
- Easy but Elegant: This recipe is dead easy to make (no mixer required!), but is pretty enough for a special occasion, especially if you dress it up with whipped cream or berries.
- Healthy-ish: Yes, it's a cake, but with no frosting on top and almond flour and ricotta cheese in the mix, this is a sweet treat you won't feel guilty about eating.
🥗 Ingredients for Lemon Ricotta Cake
- Ricotta Cheese: I prefer whole milk ricotta for this recipe, but beware, ricotta cheese can be quite different between brands. Some are more dense, with a small curd, and some are lighter and fluffier. In general, higher quality ingredients will produce a higher quality cake. Test this recipe with your favorite version of ricotta, and try another brand if you don’t think the texture is quite right. Or, you can make your own (see FAQ below).
- Almond Flour: Almond meal and almond flour are terms used for the same thing—both mean finely ground almonds. The majority of almond flour products are made by finely grinding blanched almonds (almonds where the skins have been removed). Almond meal can mean finely ground blanched or unblanched almonds, and almond meal may be a coarser grind than almond flour. In general, I prefer almond flour for my baking recipes. you could try hazelnut flour as well, for a different flavor.
- Olive Oil: Choose a mild olive oil for baking (unless you love the flavor of strong olive oil!). No need to buy an expensive, fancy one at the store either—just a basic olive oil is fine.
- Lemons: I love the bright flavor of this lemon cake, but you could change it up with other flavors as well. Try orange juice/zest instead or leave out the lemons and add a teaspoon of almond extract for an almond ricotta cake.
🥣 Step-by-Step Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 175 degrees Celsius. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan (or springform pan) and line the bottom with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine ¾ cup (90 grams) of all-purpose flour, ½ cup (48 grams) of almond flour, ¾ cup (150 grams) of granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and ¼ teaspoon salt, and whisk gently.
In a large bowl, whisk together 1 packed cup (250 grams) of ricotta cheese, 3 eggs, 1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla extract, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, ½ teaspoon lemon zest, and 3.5 ounces of olive oil until the oil is fully incorporated.
Then add the dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients and stir just until the batter comes together.
Pour the batter into the pan.
Bake for 30 minutes, until top is golden brown and springy, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (When you gently press the middle of the top of the cake with your finger, the cake should feel solid underneath and should spring right back up when you remove your finger.)
Remove lemon cake from oven and put onto a cake rack to cool. It may have some cracks on the top—don't worry, the dome on the cake will fall slightly as it cools, and the cracks will virtually disappear. After 15 minutes, when cake is still warm, invert cake pan onto a plate to unmold. Remove the parchment paper and then flip the cake right-side up again. Let cake cool completely, then sprinkle with powdered sugar to serve.
🧐 Recipe FAQs
No, this Italian lemon ricotta cake does not need to be refrigerated. Store it in an airtight container or wrap tightly in plastic wrap or foil. It will last at least 3 days at room temperature—the ricotta and almond flour in the cake will keep it moist! If you want to store it longer, you can keep it in the refrigerator for a few more days. Note that if you think you will have leftovers, don't sprinkle the entire top with powdered sugar. The sugar will melt into the cake over time and leave the top a bit soggy.
Yes, this ricotta cake freezes well. Make sure cake is fully cooled first, and don't sprinkle with powdered sugar. Then wrap slices tightly with plastic wrap or store in freezer bags. Cake will last up to 3 months in the freezer. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator, then leave out at room temperature before serving.
Ricotta cheese is actually one of the easiest cheeses you can make at home. You can make it with just whole milk and lemon juice. And, you can control its texture by deciding how long to drain it. Here’s a great article from the Kitchn that walks you through it.
Yes! Just double the recipe and use two cake pans instead of one. I would put a layer of lemon buttercream between them and on top. Garnishing with candied lemon peel would be gorgeous. If you don't want to double down on the lemon, a mascarpone whipped cream would make a lovely frosting as well.
👩🍳 Expert Tips for Lemon Ricotta Cake
If you don’t have a kitchen scale yet, and you enjoy baking, I encourage you to buy one. In recipe testing my baked goods, I measure my ingredients time and time again. I am always surprised when my measurements do not match what I can find on the Internet. For example, King Arthur Flour tells me that 1 cup of all-purpose flour weighs 120 grams, but the Cooks Illustrated baking chart tells me it weighs 142 grams. When I used my measuring cup to spoon and level my flour into it, I came out with 150 grams. (?!) I’ve used King Arthur Flour’s recommendations in my recipe to convert into cup measures, but I encourage you to use the weights when measuring as much as possible.
Measurements get even trickier with ingredients like almond flour and olive oil, which come in many different versions. As a bonus, when you measure using a scale, there are fewer dishes to wash! You can measure ingredients directly into the bowl on your scale, and zero out the scale before you add each new ingredient.
Wondering what else you can do with ricotta cheese? I seem to always have an open, half-used container in my fridge, and often forget to use it. But, in fact, there are some great ways to use extra ricotta cheese. Check out the following ideas:
- add to pancake batter
- mix with eggs and herbs for lasagna filling
- spread on pizza dough before topping your pizza
- mix with lemon zest and serve on crostini, drizzled with honey
- make ricotta gnocchi
- make Sweet Pea Ricotta Crostini or Red Radish Crostini with Lemon Ricotta
- serve dollops on softly scrambled eggs
Also, there are so many delicious dessert recipes with ricotta cheese! Cheesecake of course, but you can also try ricotta in tiramisu or mix with whipped cream to top fresh fruit. Or how about cannolis or ricotta cheese fritters? So many possibilities!
Baking with Almond Flour
Almond flour is used in many French desserts—try making macarons or making a frangipane base for a tart. You can also use almond flour as a replacement for all-purpose flour (or for some of the flour) in regular cake or cookie recipes. Almond meal can make a delicious crumble topping for a fruit crisp, crumble, or tart when mixed with flour, sugar, and butter. Finally, you can replace breadcrumbs with almond flour when you are making breaded chicken or fish—though almond flour will burn more quickly than traditional breadcrumbs. For more information about substituting some almond flour in your baking recipes, consult this almond flour baking guide from King Arthur Flour. It’s a great resource that shows you exactly how different kinds of recipes react to almond flour.
If you enjoyed baking with almond flour in this Lemon Ricotta Cake recipe, you might also want to check out some of my other almond flour desserts:
🧁Other Dessert Recipes
If you try this Lemon Ricotta Cake recipe, I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below—I read them all, and your feedback is invaluable to me. And please follow along on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook or subscribe to my newsletter. I'd love to inspire you with more delicious, healthy, and seasonal recipes!
📖 Recipe Card
- Butter, for greasing pan
- ¾ cup (90 grams) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (48 grams) almond flour
- ¾ cup (150 grams) sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 8.8 ounces (250 grams) full-fat ricotta cheese (about 1 packed cup)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ cup (3.5 ounces) olive oil
- Powdered sugar, to serve
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 175 degrees Celsius.
- Butter the sides and bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt, and whisk gently.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the ricotta, eggs, vanilla extract, lemon juice, lemon zest, and olive oil until the oil is fully incorporated.
- Then add the dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients and stir just until the batter comes together.
- Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 30 minutes, until top is golden brown and springy.
- Remove cake from oven and put onto a cake rack to cool.
- After 15 minutes, when cake is still warm, invert cake pan onto a plate to unmold. Remove the parchment paper, then flip right-side up again.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar to serve.
Cake will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days in an airtight container, or can be frozen. Let it cool completely before freezing.
I really encourage baking with weight measurements instead of cup measurements whenever possible. You will find that your baked goods are much more consistent when the ingredients are weighed. Invest in a baking scale, and you won't regret it!
When you remove the cake from the oven, it may have some cracks on the top—don't worry, the dome on the cake will fall slightly as it cools, and the cracks will virtually disappear.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 414Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 261mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 1gSugar: 34gProtein: 8g
Nutrition information is provided as a general reference for users courtesy of the online nutrition calculator Nutritionix.