Lemon + Olive Oil + Ricotta Cake

While researching on what to make for our next cooking party, themed olive oil, most recipes were either some sort of pasta or dip. I was so excited to find this cake for several reasons: (1) Eddie loves any lemony desserts and (2) I had exactly the amount of ricotta left in the fridge from a previous recipe that was called for in this recipe, and (3) Easter just happened and the thought of a springfest dessert sounded wonderful. 

Lemon + Olive Oil + Ricotta Cake

Lemon + Olive Oil + Ricotta Cake

From the cooking site A Cup of Mascarpone, this Italian dessert had a few steps, but fun steps. Most of the ingredients were already in the pantry, and those steps were fairly easy. I have yet to master whisking the egg whites to stiff foam, but I tried, and it came out okay. The lemon glaze on top may be a tiny bit much for some, but you can adjust the consistency and tartness of it. This may look like some sort of lemon tart, but fair not, it is all cake!


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp whole milk
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese 
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • a small amount of butter, softened, for buttering the pan

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of fresh lemon juice (or limoncello)
  • confectioner's sugar for dusting on top (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 325. Line the bottom of a removable bottom quiche/tart pan with parchment paper, lightly butter the pan, and the paper. You can use a non-removable bottom one as well.
  2. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using a stand mixer, combine the egg yolks, granulated sugar, and lemon zest. Beat on medium speed until mixture thickens, is pale yellow, and forms ribbons when the whisk is lifted, 3-4 minutes. Allow to sit. 
  4. In a separate bowl, with an electric hand mixer, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Set aside.
  5. In another bowl (yes, yet another one), hand whisk together olive oil, milk, ricotta cheese, and lemon juice. Slowly drizzle the oil mixture into the egg mixture in stand mixer, while the mixer is running. Reduce the speed to low, and now add the flour mixture, and mix just until combined. Drizzle in the butter, and mix just until combined.
  6. Remove the mixing bowl from the stand mixer, and fold in the stiff egg whites. 
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake, rotating midway through, for approximately 40-45 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center must come out clean, the top is golden, and the center bounced back when touched. 
  8. Remove from pan after about 10 minutes, and cool enough to touch. Let it cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze. Combine the lemon juice, or limoncello, with the powdered sugar until completely smooth, and combined. Adjust the consistency to how you like it.: if thinner, add more lemon juice, and thicker, add more confectioner's sugar. Place the cooled cake on a serving plate, and pour the glaze over the cake and let it set up for at least 30 minutes before slicing. If desired, dust a small amount of powdered sugar over the top. 8 servings.