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 1/3 of the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Beat on low until incorporated. Add 1/2 of the ricotta mixture and blend until smooth. Repeat adding 1/2 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.