Lemon ricotta cake

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The fine crumble and the fresh creamy ricotta filling make this wonderful lemon ricotta cake to die for. It requires minimal preparation, 6 ingredients, and no stand mixer.

Welcome to the best new ricotta cake you’re going to love!

Close-up of a slice of delicious lemon ricotta cake dusted with icing sugar.

This is absolutely one of our favorite cakes ever and is inspired by the Italian sbrisolonaa typical crumb cake very popular in Northern Italy.

I can’t even explain how much we all love this cake, and I’ve lost count of how many times I baked it. This is my go-to cake recipe for any special occasion, and it’s also my Easter dessert of choice this year!

And it’s always a hit.

First, the refreshing yet delicate flavor and texture are incredible. The crispy crumble outside, the soft filling inside made with sweet ricotta and bright lemon zest and juice.

Best? It’s a breeze to make; it keeps well in the fridge and is freezable, too, so it’s perfect if you want to make it ahead.

If you haven’t tried ricotta desserts, you’ll be amazed. This lemon ricotta cake is ideal for Easter, spring, and really any time you’d like a simple but beautiful cake.

I will make this lemon ricotta cake for the rest of my life. It’s that good. So good! Please make it right now and let me know what you think. x


List of the ingredients

  • Ricotta
  • All-purpose flour
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Lemons
  • Vanilla extract
  • Vegetable or olive oil
  • Baking powder
The ingredients to make this lemon ricotta cake are arranged over a white background.

How to make lemon ricotta cake

(Note: this is simply a quick explanation; the full recipe is at the bottom of the page)

  • To make the lemon ricotta filling, add ricotta, egg, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract to a bowl.
  • Stir until well combined and smooth. You’ve just made the filling, set aside.
Top view of a glass bowl full of lemon ricotta mixture.
  • Make the crumbs: add flour, sugar, baking powder, and lemon zest to a large bowl. Mix the dry ingredients until well combined.
  • Stir in the egg and the vegetable or olive oil.
Top view of a glass bowl full of the dry ingredients to make the crumbs.
  • Use your fingers and rub oil and egg into the dry ingredients until you get a crumb-like mixture.
  • Use about ⅔ of the crumbs to cover the bottom and edges of a round cake tin.
  • Fill this shell with the ricotta mixture, then sprinkle the crumble mixture all over.
  • Bake for 30 minutes and serve dusted with icing sugar.
  • Enjoy at room temperature. The following day tastes even better!
Close-up of the fine crumble and top view of a round tin full of crumble and lemon ricotta mixture before baking.

Recipe Notes

Ricotta cake variations

This is the ricotta pie of your dreams, and it’s also amazingly versatile!

  • Amaretti cookies: If you find some Italian amaretti cookies, skip the lemon zest and add a generous handful of crushed amaretti to the ricotta filling.
  • Orange zest: Another simple and delicious option is using orange zest instead of lemon zest to make a refreshing and delightful ricotta orange cake.
  • Dark chocolate chips: You can’t go wrong with dark chocolate and ricotta. Just skip the lemon zest and add about 1/3 cup chocolate chips to the ricotta mixture.
  • Raspberries: Ricotta and fresh raspberries are another terrific combination; I have tested it many times. Spread the ricotta mixture first, then scatter about 3/4 cup raspberries on top, push them down with your finger, and cover with the remaining crumbles.

More ricotta cake recipes…

If you haven’t tried ricotta in desserts, you’ll be amazed. This fresh, soft Italian cheese brings plenty of moisture and a delicate flavor without weighting down. It makes rich, refreshing fillings, or moist, delicious crumbs like in these strawberry cake and raspberry cake or easy ricotta cake.

Close-up of a slice of lemon ricotta cake with other slices in the background.

Does lemon ricotta cake need to be refrigerated?

This cake keeps well at room temperature for about 4-5 hours, but if your kitchen is too warm or if you’re planning to store it longer, wrap it in cling film and store in the refrigerator. It doesn’t dry out and it keeps very well for 3 days.

It freezes beautifully!

This lemon ricotta cake freezes very well: wrap it in cling film and freeze it for up to 1 month.

Close-up of a slice of lemon ricotta cake showing the soft ricotta filling.

If you love ricotta…

Oh I love ricotta! This fresh Italian cheese is brilliant for sweet or savoury recipes, from scrumptious quick pasta dishes to moist cakesand more. Have a look at this inspiring collection of amazing ricotta recipes to see how to get the most of it. Just to name a few:

If you make this delicious lemon ricotta cake or if you have a question, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it or tag a photo #theclevermeal on Instagram. I would love to hear from you!

Recipe update: originally published in March 2020, I’ve tweaked recipe and added new photos.

Close-up of a slice of lemon ricotta cake.
Print Recipe
4.74 from 15 votes

Lemon ricotta cake

The crumbles and the creamy refreshing ricotta filling with hints of lemon make this amazing ricotta cake simply to die for. You will fall in love with its incredible flavor and texture.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Course: desserts
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: lemon ricotta cake
Servings: 10
Calories: 284kcal
Author: Katia

Ingredients

Lemon Ricotta filling:

  • 2 cups (500 grams) ricotta
  • 7 Tbsp (90 grams) sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ large lemons, zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Crumb shell:

  • 2 ¼ cup (300 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ scant cup (90 grams) sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 6 tablespoon (90 ml) olive oil or vegetable oil
  • ½ large lemon, zest

To serve:

  • icing sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350F°/180C°.
  • Line with parchment paper or grease with oil or butter a loosed bottom cake pan* (size 9 inches/23 cm).
  • To make the lemon ricotta filling, place the first group of ingredients in a bowl and mix with a fork or a whisk, until well combined and smooth. Set aside.
  • To make the crumb shell, place flour, baking powder, lemon zest in a large bowl and mix the dry ingredients until well combined.
  • Stir in egg and oil and using your fingers, rub the egg and the oil into the flour and sugar to make a crumb-like mixture.
  • Using about ⅔ of the crumbs, make the cake bottom and edges (about 1 ½ inch hight), but don't press the mixture too much.
  • Fill this crumble shell with the ricotta mixture, then sprinkle the crumble mixture all over the ricotta filling.
  • Bake for 30 minutes until lightly golden.
  • Let it cool, and serve at room temperature dusted with icing sugar. The following day tastes even better! Enjoy.

Notes

Loosed bottom cake pan: it’s a cake pan that has a removable base to ensure the cooked cake can be easily removed from the tin. However, if you don’t have this loosed bottom cake pan on hand, you can bake it in a normal pan using parchment paper, then let it cool and refrigerate overnight. I advise you to refrigerate it because the cold makes this cake harder, therefore it’s easier to remove it from its pan. Once you remove it, let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving. It’s best at room temperature.

Storage:
it keeps well at room temperature for about 4-5 hours, but if your kitchen is too warm or if you’re planning to store it longer, wrap it in cling film and store in the refrigerator. It keeps very well for at least 3 days. Also, this ricotta freezes very well: wrap it in cling film and freeze it for up to 1 month
NOTE: the nutrition values are  for one serving and are based on an online nutrition calculator.  It’s an estimate only and it should not be considered as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice. Please see my disclosure policies.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 284kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 55mg | Potassium: 97mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 270IU | Calcium: 113mg | Iron: 2mg

74 Comments

  1. In the early part of your posting you mention vanilla as an ingredient, but its not mentioned in the actual recipe. Did you eliminate it?

    1. Hi Dixie! Vanilla exctract is def one of the ingredients, that’s an oversight! Thanks for asking. x

  2. Can you make this in cupcake version for a crowd? Have the crust on the bottom of the muffin cup, fill then have a little crumb mixture on top? Store it in fridge to serve the next day?

    1. Hi Suzanne! Yes, you can, but spread some crumb mixture also on the sides of each cupcake case (I recommend making more crumb mixture for this version). Another way to make this case for a crowd is to bake a rectangular or square cake, let it rest in the fridge overnight, and then cut it into smaller squares while the cake is still cold. Enjoy.x

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