There are so many wonderful things to cook and bake with ricotta cheese. Like this fantastic lemon ricotta cake. It is a cake that is loved by all and it is a cake that can be changed up in so many ways.
This is actually originally a pound cake recipe. What is a pound cake? A pound cake is simply a not too difficult and flavorful cake traditionally made with a pound each of flour, butter, eggs, and sugar -- or a 1:1:1:1 ratio of the ingredients.
But when I made it as it should be, it was just too heavy, too sweet. I had to change it up a bit. The lighter version is, in our opinion, the way to go!
And did you know Mother's Day is coming up? I know you did! You could bake this for your mom or any special lady you love and want to impress. It's so easy to put together. I like the little bit of lemon flavor. You could also make an orange version.
Are you afraid to bake a Bundt cake because your cake always sticks to the pan? I know that feeling when you flip the pan and the cake doesn't release all the way. There's complete silence and you await that very quiet thump when the cake hits the serving plate. I found this tip in a Cook's Illustrated Holiday Baking book and you should try it out!! You can see my cake had no problem popping right of the pan!
Bundt Cake Pan Tip:
Here is how they suggest you prep your pan to ensure an easy release of the cake: Mix 1 Tablepsoon of melted butter than has been cooled with 1 Tablespoon of flour. Use a pastry brush (or your fingers)and grease the Bundt pan. This creates a coating that prevents the cake from sticking to the pan.
Such a great baking tip, especially for Bundt pan bakers that sometimes encounter a problem with the pan! It truly works and you will be thrilled each time your Bundt pops right out onto your serving dish...no more waiting in fear to see if it sticks or not!
I found on the Southern Living site 13 tips on how not to ruin a pound cake. They are actually pretty good general baking tips. My favorite is this one:
Beat softened butter (and cream cheese or vegetable shortening) at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. This can take from 1 to 7 minutes, depending on the power of your mixer. Gradually add sugar, continuing to beat until light and fluffy. These steps are important because they whip air into the cake batter so it will rise during baking.
I have to admit, I am guilty as charged of not being a patient butter beater!! Raise your hands if you also don't take the time (7 minutes??). I don't think I've mixed my butter for more than a few minutes, maximum! But maybe I need to try to see what will happen when I do mix it a bit longer.
Now this is something I've never thought that could happen and it sounds like baking disaster:
Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until the yolk disappears. Overbeating the eggs may cause the batter to overflow the sides of the pan during baking or create a fragile crust that crumbles and separates from the cake as it cools.
I always add the eggs one at a time. I have to admit, on occasion, 3 eggs may slip all together into the batter (I usually crack my eggs and let them come to room temperature in a little bowl). I've never mixed them for more than a minute in a batter. Have you? Is it true that the batter will overflow?
Now this tip I've read every since I've started baking:
Always add the dry ingredients alternately with the liquid, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. This will help to ensure that the dry and wet ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the batter. Mix just until blended after each addition. Overmixing the batter creates a tough, rubbery cake.
I always have in my mind to end with the dry ingredients. There has been an occasion when I forgot to add the last bit of wet ingredients, and added it last. My cake turned out fine (I don't remember which cake this happened with recently). I am slightly paranoid about overmixing my cake batters and will usually stop the mixer, and fold in the last part of the ingredients.
Another tip to note:
I do use cake flour. I have made it once with regular flour, I didn't like the results. It wasn't as fluffy. So I cut the butter from 1 1/2 sticks to just one stick (8 Tablespoons). I also cut the sugar from 1 1/2 cups to 1 cup. The ricotta is already sweet enough. I thought 1 1/2 cups of sugar made the cake way too sweet (at least for our taste)and the cake is so moist from the ricotta, the one stick of butter is plenty enough. So I guess isn't really a pound cake any more, but just a really awesome ricotta cake that I make all the time! I mentioned here I had to share this with you, and finally, I did!
You could dust powdered sugar on top or make a simple lemon powdered sugar glaze and drizzle on top. Can't go wrong either way!
adapted from Giada
Lemon Ricotta Cake
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: approx 55-60 minutes
- 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more to grease the baking pan
- 1 1/2 cups cake flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- zest of 1 to 2 lemons
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (less than 1 lemon, usually)
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour Bundt pan (or you could use baking spray, as I did).
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir to blend.
Using a mixer, cream the butter, ricotta and granulated sugar until blended, about 3 minutes — I never really go over three minutes, and it’s ok if there are some visible pieces of butter. In other words, the batter will not look entirely smooth (see photo). With the machine running, add the eggs 1 at a time.
Add the vanilla, zest and lemon juice until combined. Add the dry ingredients, a small amount at a time, until just incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place on middle rack of oven.
Bake for 25 minutes on 350. Lower heat, bake about another 20 minutes on 325, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan. I always have to lower my oven to 325 with cakes. My cakes bake too fast if I bake all the way on 350.