Lemon Ricotta Cake

My refreshing Lemon Ricotta Cake satisfies without being overly sweet. Thanks to the addition of ricotta cheese, this easy Italian classic has a light, tender crumb that will melt in your mouth. 

Start your meal with a pan of our homemade lasagna recipe. Or give our million dollar spaghetti casserole a try. Don’t forget to buy an extra tub of ricotta to make dessert!

Whole lemon ricotta cake cut into slices.

Why Lemon Ricotta Cake Works

If you’re looking for a cake recipe that will leave your taste buds tingling with delight, look no further than this Lemon Ricotta Cake.

Not only is it scrumptious, but it’s also quick and easy to prepare. 

While we all know that ricotta cookies are amazing, here’s why it’s also delicious in cake!

  • It’s excellent as a dessert, but it’s also perfect as a breakfast or brunch cake with a cup of coffee or tea. 
  • With just 15 minutes of prep time and easy instructions, this cake recipe is a cinch to put together. 
  • This elegant cake doesn’t require any fancy decorating skills, so it’s an excellent choice for any home baker looking for professional results. 
  • This cake recipe is suitable for all ages, so it’s a family-friendly option for any gathering, potluck, or special occasion.
  • Making Italian food like spaghettios and meatballs for dinner? This recipe is a perfect way to use up leftover ricotta to make something amazing. 

So go ahead and indulge in a slice of this fluffy and mouth-watering classic! And since you love lemon and ricotta together, be sure to try our lemon ricotta cookies next!

Ingredient Notes 

Ingredients needed to make lemon ricotta cake.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice & Zest – Fresh lemons are essential for this recipe, and you don’t want to skip on either the juice or the zest. They add different dimensions to the end result. The zest gives bold, sweet lemon tones to the cake. And the juice adds the classic tart flavor. Be sure to check out our tips on how to zest a lemon for best results!
  • Ricotta Cheese – This cheese is whipped in this recipe for a light, airy cake texture. Use whole-milk ricotta for the best flavor.
  • All-Purpose Flour – Creates structure in the cake without weighing it down. 
  • Granulated Sugar – Sweetens the cake and helps it maintain moisture over time.
  • Unsalted Butter – Adds richness and comforting buttery flavor. 
  • Eggs – These bring moisture, volume, and richness to the cake. 
  • Baking Powder – Helps the cake rise in the oven for a light texture.
  • Salt – Balances out and enhances the flavors.
  • Powdered Sugar – Used for decorating the cake just before serving.

Easy Instructions

Step by step photos showing how to make lemon ricotta cake.
  1. Make the creamy cake batter base. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter with the sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Add the ricotta and beat for 4-5 minutes until light and airy.
  2. Add the eggs and juice. Beat in the eggs and lemon juice just until combined.
  3. Add the dry ingredients. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir just until no flour is visible.
  4. Scrape bowl. Make sure all flour has been incorporated, without overmixing.
Step by step photos showing how to bake lemon ricotta cake.
  1. Bake. Spoon the cake batter into the prepared baking pan. Smooth out the top, then bake it for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  2. Cool, decorate, and serve. Cool the cake on a wire rack. When it’s at room temperature, remove it from the springform pan. Dust the cake with powdered sugar and serve. 

Tips and Tricks 

  • Use room-temperature ingredients. Prevent the cake from cracking by bringing all the ingredients to room temperature before getting started. 
  • Don’t skip the step of whipping the ricotta. For this cake to achieve the ideal fluffy texture, you must beat the ricotta into the creamed butter and sugar base until it’s light and airy. For this step, you’ll need a stand mixer or electric beaters unless you want a serious arm workout!
  • Try a different type of citrus. Try using oranges, ruby red grapefruit, or blood oranges for this cake instead of lemon. Just be aware that you may need to adjust the amount of sugar depending on how sweet the citrus juice is. 
  • Serve it with accompaniments. Serve Lemon Ricotta Cake with fresh whipped cream and berries for a restaurant-worthy dessert.
Slice of ricotta cake with a bite taken out.

Serving Suggestions

Serve this cake as an elegant dessert with a fresh batch of Homemade Whipped Cream after dinner. Or take it to the next level and pipe generous rosettes of Lemon Whipped Cream Frosting on each slice.

If you’re making a layer cake with this recipe, fill it with homemade Lemon Curd for a rich and heavenly ricotta cake. Top off the outside of the cake with Lemon Buttercream Frosting for a sweet finishing touch that you can decorate as you wish.

Slice of lemon ricotta cake being lifted out of pan.

Recipe FAQs 

What’s the best way to store lemon ricotta cake?

Keep the ricotta cake in an airtight container, or cover it with plastic wrap. Store it at room temperature for up to 3 days. It may also be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week, but it will dry out the longer you keep it in the fridge. For the best taste, let it return to room temperature before serving.

Can you freeze Lemon Ricotta Cake?

Freeze Lemon Ricotta Cake by wrapping the cooled cake with plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil. Freeze it for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat it, let the cake thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Can I use low-fat ricotta in this recipe?

If you only have low-fat ricotta on hand, you can use it in this recipe and still have good results. For the fullest flavor, we’d recommend using whole milk ricotta if you can.

Can I make this cake in a non-springform pan?

If you don’t have a springform pan, no worries. It can be baked in a regular 8 or 9-inch square pan. For the best results and easy cake removal, grease your cake pan well and line the bottom with parchment. 

Slice of lemon ricotta cake topped with powdered sugar and berries.

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Lemon Ricotta Cake

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By: Aimee
My refreshing Lemon Ricotta Cake satisfies without being overly sweet. Thanks to the addition of ricotta cheese, this easy Italian classic has a light, tender crumb that will melt in your mouth. 
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 8 slices


  • 1 ⅔ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 15 ounce ricotta cheese
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar, for dusting cake
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  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with shortening (or homemade cake release). Set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, lemon zest, and butter. Beat until light and fluffy. Add ricotta and beat for about 4-5 minutes until light and airy.
  • Add in eggs, and lemon juice. Beat just until combined.
  • Add flour, baking powder, and salt, just until the batter is blended. Do not over mix.
  • Spoon batter into prepared baking pan, smoothing out the top. Bake for 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Cool cake on a wire rack to room temperature. Remove from springform pan. Dust cake with powdered sugar and serve.


  • Using room temperature ingredients helps prevent the cake from cracking.
  • Store cake in airtight container or covered with plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  • Freeze cake by wrapping cooled cake with plastic wrap, then in foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator overnight.
  • Serve cake with fresh whipped cream, and berries if desired.
  • See blog post for more recipe tips and tricks.


Serving: 1slice, Calories: 529kcal, Carbohydrates: 66g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 134mg, Sodium: 323mg, Potassium: 115mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 46g, Vitamin A: 851IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 188mg, Iron: 2mg
Course: Cake
Cuisine: Italian
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!
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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

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Posted on August 28, 2023

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