all sweets

Lemon & Almond Ricotta Cake with Berries

lemonricottacake1

Originally, my family’s Christmas eve plans included lasagna. My mom commissioned me to make it, and per my request went grocery shopping, buying noodles, tomatoes, and tubs of ricotta cheese among other ingredients.

The problem was, no one really wanted lasagna, and I didn’t especially want to make it either. I made a sample batch, and with homemade tomato sauce, it took me nearly three hours. I couldn’t really imagine repeating that process, especially in the midst of our Christmas dinner chaos.

So, instead we had fish tacos, shrimp, beans, rice, turkey, and mashed potatoes…a strange (but delicious) combination. Seeing this left me with two and a half tubs of ricotta cheese, I decided to make ricotta cake for dessert. I’m not a fan of cheese in dessert (though I’m learning to appreciate cream cheese frosting – cheesecake is still a nope), but the ricotta simply made this cake deliciously tender and moist.

Everyone loved it, so much so that I’ve made two batches to use up all the ricotta. I brought it to a gathering with friends, and every last crumb was devoured. My friends and family all loved it, so hopefully you’ll try it and love it just as much.

Lemon & Almond Ricotta Cake with Berries

NOTE: The first time I made the recipe, I used a loaf pan. The second time (pictured) I doubled the recipe and baked it in a 13×18 in jelly roll pan.

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cups oil
  • 1 ½ cups whole-milk ricotta
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • lemon zest from 1 lemon (save the juice for a glaze – recipe below)
  • 1 carton (~1 ½ cups) blackberries/raspberries
  • ~½ cup sliced almonds (i used the extra crushed almonds from a batch a macarons i made)
  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Whisk together the oil, ricotta, and sugar in large bowl for several minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the extracts and lemon zest.
  3. Add the dry ingredients, and stir until most of the flour is incorporated.
  4. Fold in the berries, continuing to stir until no streaks of flour remain.
  5. Pour in a 9 inch loaf pan, sprinkle with almonds, and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  6. Allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to cool on rack completely.

Lemon Glaze

  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • ½ – 2 cups powdered sugar (depending on how much lemon juice))
  1. There are two ways to use the lemon: for a glaze or for an ‘infuser’.
  2. To make a lemon glaze topping, combine the juice from the lemon and enough powdered sugar to form a thin glaze. Pour or spread over cooled cake.
  3. To make a lemon ‘infuser,’ add enough powdered sugar to temper the sourness of the lemon juice. Poke the cake with a fork when still warm, then pour the sweetened lemon juice over it. The sauce will add additional moistness and flavor.
  4. I can vouch that both work well for this cake! It’s a great way to use up the part of the lemon the cake doesn’t use.