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Overhead view of a golden brown lemon cake on a cooling rack
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5 from 3 votes

Lemon Ricotta Cake

An amazing cake with a crispy, sweet top crust and tender, light and lemony crumb. Easy to make and freezes beautifully!
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Cake, Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: brunch,, cake, dessert, lemon, ricotta
Servings: 8
Calories: 361kcal
Author: Tricia


  • 9-inch springform pan


  • 1 ⅓ cup granulated sugar, divided (300g)
  • zest of 3 lemons (no white pith)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (252g)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 15 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (2oz) strained of seeds and pulp
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature (113g or 4oz)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sugar for topping


  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Invert the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Attach the sides and lightly grease and flour the sides and bottom. Set aside.
  • Measure out the granulated sugar and remove 3 tablespoons to a small food processor. Add the lemon zest to the 3 tablespoons sugar and process until the mixture is bright yellow and the zest is broken down into tiny pieces.
  • In a small mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • Combine the ricotta, lemon juice and vanilla in a large measuring cup. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the butter, lemon sugar and all remaining granulated sugar. Using an electric mixer, beat for several minutes or until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Add ⅓ of the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Beat on low until incorporated. Add ½ of the ricotta mixture and blend until smooth. Repeat adding ½ of the remaining flour, then all of the remaining ricotta. Finally blend in all remaining flour. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and fold gently with a spatula to ensure the batter is well mixed.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top and sprinkle generously with coarse sugar. Bake in the preheated 325°F oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with no wet batter. Moist crumbs are great.
  • Cool at least 20 minutes before removing the sides of the pan. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature garnished with powdered sugar, fresh fruit and/or a dollop of whipped cream.


  • If you don't have a small food processor smash the sugar and lemon zest together using a fork until well blended and fragrant. 
  • The batter will be thick, but no worries. The cake comes out light and moist.
  • If using a dark colored pan, bake at 325F. If you have a light colored pan or a deep-dish 9-inch cake pan bake at 350F and check the cake at 40 minutes. 
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. When multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.


Calories: 361kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 381mg | Potassium: 115mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 296IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 181mg | Iron: 2mg