Ricotta and lemon cake

This recipe is the perfect Christmas dessert! I discovered the ricotta and lemon cake while I was looking for ideas of cake to match with homemade buttercream: very common in the United States or in England, this icing became also very popular in the rest of Europe, even though I personally discovered it last year only.


I was looking for a sponge cake type recipe, thick and soft, and found out this ricotta and lemon cake. It is so nice and easy to do that it is about to become a classic of my kitchen.

The ricotta is an Italian cheese that is widely used in Italian baking, pasta dishes or pizzas. In Spain there is a very similar cheese called requesón. It is not as tasty as ricotta but I give this information just in case you do not have other option.

The combination of this ricotta and lemon cake with lemon buttercream is just perfect! You can also use this buttercream with the chocolate loaf cake.


I like it because:

– It is a thick and soft pastel, and also light because I use less ricotta than other recipes. You can add more if it suits you better as well.

The mix of sugar and lemon in the buttercream is very pleasant in the mouth.

– It is very fashionable adding a red, blue or any other food colour to the icing, making the cake look like a cartoon picture.



– Use a springform pan and cover the bottom with a piece of kitchen paper: this helps to unmold the cake.

In order to cut the paper at the good dimension, put the baking pan on the paper and draw an outline with a pencil. Then cut the paper with scissors and place it the pan.

– The cooking time varies a lot depending on the type of baking pan and oven you have, so you better check from time to time the cooking with a knife. The cake is ready when the knife comes out of the cake clean.

– For a good buttercream, you absolutely need to beat the ingredients for at least 10 minutes in total, to make the taste of butter disappear.

– Decorate the cake once it is cool downed, otherwise the buttercream will melt. Sounds stupid, but it can happen…

Bon appétit!


Ricotta and lemon cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Serving Size: 8 to 12 people

Ricotta and lemon cake

Ricotta and lemon cake


  • - A little bit of butter and flour to spread over the baking pan
  • - 170g butter (3/4 US cup), at room temperature
  • - 250g ricotta cheese (1 US cup)
  • - 340g sugar (1 3/4 US cup)
  • - 3 large eggs
  • - 2 lemons (the skin of 2 lemons and 1 juice for the cake, the other juice for the buttercream)
  • - 190g flour (1 1/2 US cup)
  • - 10g baking powder ( 10ml - 2 teaspoons)
  • - 3g salt (3ml - ½ teaspoon)
  • - 100g butter, at room temperature (1/2 US cup)
  • - 200g icing sugar (1 1/2 US cup)
  • - The juice of the second lemon.
  • - A little bit of milk to soften the cream if it is too firm


  1. - Preheat the oven at 180º C (350ºF), line the bottom of the tin with kitchen paper, spread a little bit of butter in the border and sprinkle flour on it.
  2. - Mix the butter and the sugar in a large bowl with your hand until the mixture is light and fluffy. Incorporate the ricotta and stir well during a couple of minutes with a whisk or a big spoon.
  3. - Incorporate the eggs one by one, mixing between each.
  4. - Finally add the lemon shells and juice, always mixing, and reserve.
  5. - Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda together in another bowl and add the salt at the end. Then incorporate the dry mixture to the other ingredients, in 2 times so that they are easier to combine.
  6. - Pour the content of the bowl into the pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, checking with a knife the cooking from time to time. The cake is ready when the knife comes out of the cake clean.
  7. Once it is cooked, leave the cake in the turned-off oven 15 minutes, and put it in the fridge to cool it down.
  9. - Cut the butter into small pieces in a large bowl and beat it with an electric mixing tool until it starts whiten, around 3 or 5 minutes.
  10. - Sift the icing sugar and gradually add it to the butter, along with the lemon juice.
  11. - Continue whisking about 5 minutes at least, until the cream is firm and almost white.
  12. If the cream is too liquid add a bit more of sugar, and if it is too firm add a spoon of milk in order to get the right consistency.
  13. Pour the the buttercream over the cooled cake and spread it with a flat plastic spoon, and leave it in the fridge one more hour before serving, so that the buttercream get stronger.





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