Lemon-Ricotta Cake

The light and airy cake is textured thanks to the whole milk ricotta in the batter. “I first created this cake by accident, substituting the ricotta I had in my refrigerator for the sour cream that my recipe called for,” says 2020 F&W Best New Chef Camille Cogswell of Asheville, North Carolina, who shared her recipe with Food & Wine. “The result was, happily, far superior to the original! Now, this super moist and tender ricotta cake with bright lemon flavor is one of my go-to’s; it comes together quickly and easily and is still exceptional even after a few days of sitting on the counter. By itself, it’s a perfect gift to a friend. Dressed up with soft whipped cream and showered in seasonal fresh fruit, it becomes quite an elegant dinner dessert with minimal effort.”

Active Time:

25 minutes

Total Time:

1 hour 55 minutes





  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup plus two tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Two tablespoons grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
  • Nine tablespoons unsalted butter (4 1/2 ounces), softened.
  • Three large eggs at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (optional)
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose millet (about five 3/4oz. )
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup plus one tablespoon of whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • Creamy powdered sugar and autum


  1. Bake at 350°F. Cover an 8-inch cake pan using cooking spray. The bottom of the cake pan is lined with a circle of parchment paper. Spray the parchment with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Combine lemon zest and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Rub them using your hands, dispersing the spice and blending the sugar with lemon oils. Mix butter with lemon sugar and then attach the paddle attachments to the mixer. Mix lemon sugar and butter at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 10 minutes. I am stopping to scrape the bowl and paddle often.
  3. Add eggs to the butter mixture one at a time and beat slowly between each addition to ensure that the mixture is fully incorporated before adding another egg, approximately 45 minutes total. Mix in lemon extract, if you have it, until it is all combined, about 10 seconds.
  4. Mix baking powder, flour, and salt in a large bowl. Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture in a mixing bowl. Beat at a slow speed until together, around 15 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the edges of the bowl. Add ricotta, and beat low until the mixture is combined for about 15 minutes. Add the remaining flour mixture beating on a low beat until it’s connected, approximately 15 minutes. Give the paddle and bowl an even scrape using your spatula. Beat for another 3 seconds to ensure the mixture is homogenous.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth it with an offset spoon. Bake in the preheated oven until the cake’s top springs back to the touch and has an ethereal golden hue. A wooden toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake emerges without appearing wet between 30 and 35 minutes.
  6. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes. Cut a slice around the edge of the pan. Turn the cake over onto a wire rack. Allow cake to cool until room temperature, approximately 45 minutes. Then dust with the powdered sugar. Serve with fruit and whipped cream.


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