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Lemon Ricotta Cake

Featuring the rich, creamy texture of ricotta cheese and the bright flavor of zesty citrus, this lemon ricotta cake is all about versatility and crowd-pleasing appeal.

a slice of lemon ricotta cake served with fresh berries on a white plate

There’s a charming simplicity to a cake that combines everyday ingredients with a touch of baking magic. That’s precisely what you get with this classic ricotta cake—a delightfully moist, subtly sweet treat that’s as perfect for a family dinner as it is for a festive gathering. Whether you’re looking to impress guests or just want to indulge in a little baking therapy, this recipe promises big results with minimal fuss.

Why You’ll Love This Ricotta Cake Recipe

  • Simple ingredients. This ricotta cake calls for everyday ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry or can easily find at any grocery store. There’s nothing fancy required, but the outcome tastes extraordinary!
  • Perfect texture. The ricotta cheese in this cake ensures a moist and tender crumb that’s irresistible.
  • Effortlessly elegant. With its rich texture and sophisticated flavor, this ricotta cake is deceptively simple to make but looks and tastes like a gourmet bakery item. It’s perfect for impressing guests or treating yourself to a special dessert.
  • Great for all occasions. Whether it’s a casual family gathering, a formal dinner party, or just a quiet weekday treat, this ricotta cake fits the bill. It’s as suitable for a festive celebration as it is for a cozy dessert at home.
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overhead view of ingredients for lemon ricotta cake

What You’ll Need

See the recipe card below for the full recipe, including ingredient quantities and full instructions.

  • All-purpose flour – Measure by weight or use the spoon and sweep method. Learn more: How to Measure Flour
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Unsalted butter – Let this soften before mixing. Learn more: How to Soften Butter
  • Granulated sugar
  • Eggs – Set these out along with the butter to let them come to room temperature. I recommend baking with large eggs.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Lemon zest – Fresh lemon zest will give you the best flavor.
  • Ricotta cheese – Use whole milk ricotta cheese. This also should come to room temperature before mixing.
a slice of lemon ricotta cake on a white plate with more cake in the background

How to Make Lemon Ricotta Cake

  • Prepare for baking. Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch round springform pan. (I recommend a cooking spray with flour, like Baker’s Joy or Pam Baking.) If you prefer, first line the pan with parchment paper.
  • Mix the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Mix the wet ingredients. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and lemon zest, and finally mix in the ricotta.
  • Finish mixing. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, mixing just until combined.
  • Bake. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan, and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Cool. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan and cooling completely on a wire rack.
a slice of lemon ricotta cake on a cake server being pulled away from the remaining cake

Tips for Success

  • Use full-fat ricotta. For the creamiest and most flavorful results, opt for full-fat ricotta cheese. It adds to the richness and moisture of the cake. Be sure to drain it if it seems watery.
  • Temperature matters. Let the butter soften and bring the eggs and ricotta to room temperature to ensure a smooth batter.
  • Don’t over-mix. When combining the dry and wet ingredients, only mix just until combined. Too much mixing leads to a dense, tough texture instead of a light, fluffy one.

Serving Suggestions

  • Confectioners’ sugar – Just a simple dusting is a lovely accompaniment to this cake.
  • Fresh fruit – Serve your favorite fresh fruits alongside slices of this cake.
  • Sweetened whipped cream – A dollop of whipped cream pairs very well, too. Flavor it with vanilla or lemon juice if you like.
  • Citrus glaze – For an extra zing, drizzle a simple citrus glaze made from powdered sugar and either lemon (like my lemon loaf cake) or orange juice (like orange pound cake) over the cake.
overhead view of two slices of lemon ricotta cake on white plates with fresh berries


  • Orange – Swap out the lemon zest for orange zest for a different citrus spin.
  • Chocolate chip – Fold a cup of dark chocolate chips into the batter before baking. Omit the citrus zest if you like.
  • Berries – Sprinkle a handful of fresh berries over the top of the batter before baking for a burst of flavor and added color. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries are all great options. Choose one or use a combination.
  • Almond – Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of almond extract, and top the batter with sliced almonds before baking for a nutty flavor and a crunchy texture.
  • Spiced – Stir in a teaspoon of cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg, and a dash of allspice to add a warm spiciness to the cake, perfect for cooler weather.
a slice of lemon ricotta cake on a white plate with a bite on a fork

How to Store

After the cake has cooled, place it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. Store at room temperature for a day or two. For longer storage, refrigerate up to 5 days.

Can This Ricotta Cake Be Frozen?

Yes, you can freeze individual slices or the entire cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and then wrap again in aluminum foil or place in an airtight, freezer-safe container or bag. Properly stored, the cake should keep in the freezer up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or for a few hours at room temperature.

a slice of lemon ricotta cake topped with fresh berries served on a white plate

Lemon Ricotta Cake

Yield 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

With its moist, tender crumb and a hint of citrus, this ricotta cake offers a perfect blend of rich flavor and subtle sweetness.

a slice of lemon ricotta cake served with fresh berries on a white plate


  • 1 & 1/2 cups (180g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 & 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup (227g) ricotta cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. If you like, first line it with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. (This should take about 3-4 minutes.)
  4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
  5. Mix in the ricotta cheese until just combined.
  6. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.


To store: Place in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days or in the refrigerator up to 5 days.

To freeze: Wrap well in plastic wrap and either wrap again in foil or place in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months.

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    2 Comments on “Lemon Ricotta Cake”

  1. I don’t see quantities for the ingredients. How do I get those?

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