Italian Lemon Ricotta Cake: The Recipe for a Moist and Zesty Dessert!

Total time: 15 min prep/ 40 min bake
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 6-8
By Cookist

Get ready to indulge in a slice of pure Italian bliss with this delightful ricotta cake recipe. Made with creamy ricotta cheese, a touch of sugar, and the perfect balance of lemon zest, this cake is light, airy, and oh-so-flavorful. The secret to its high rise and tender crumb? A unique addition of potato starch and whisked egg whites, creates a texture that is both melt-in-your-mouth and incredibly satisfying. Whether you're hosting a special occasion or just want to treat yourself to a little taste of Italy, this ricotta cake is sure to bring a smile to your face. You’ll love the sweet and sunny flavors of this Italian classic.

What Is Lemon Ricotta Cake

Lemon Ricotta Cake is a traditional Italian dessert (particularly in Sicily) that combines the richness of ricotta cheese with the zesty flavor of fresh lemons. The cake is not too sweet and is slightly denser than a typical lemon cake. The ricotta cheese makes the cake moist, while the lemon zest adds a welcome break to the richness. It’s often served after a meal or even as a breakfast treat. These days there are many regional variations, with each region having its own twist on the traditional recipe. Some swap the lemon for oranges, while others even add cinnamon! Feel free to customize the recipe to your liking!


  • Eggs should be at room temperature. The eggs will beat better this way.
  • You can use either sheep’s milk or cow’s milk ricotta— sheep’s milk ricotta will have a more intense flavor. Use full-fat ricotta for the best flavor and texture.
  • Beat the mixture well until it is smooth with no lumps. Once the egg whites are added, the mixture should only be folded to mix. Overmixing will reduce the air beaten into the mixture.
  • It’s best to use a springform tin for this cake, as it’s easier to release the cake after baking. Make sure to grease the baking tin well, and line with parchment paper.
  • Make an orange ricotta cake by using oranges instead of lemon.

How to Store Lemon Ricotta Cake

The cake will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Just make sure to store it in an airtight container, so that it doesn’t absorb flavors from elsewhere in the fridge.

You can also freeze individual slices. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and keep them in an airtight freezer container for up to one month. Thaw in the fridge.


Ricotta cheese
520g (18.4 oz)
140g (5/8 cup)
Potato starch
60g (1/2 cup)
Lemon zest
2 tsp
1/3 tsp
Egg whites
Egg yolks
Powdered sugar

How To Make Lemon Ricotta Cake

In a large mixing, bowl beat egg whites to form stiff peaks.

In another bowl beat the egg yolks with sugar, and lemon zest.

Add the ricotta cheese and beat again.

Add in potato starch and salt, and beat again.

Add the egg whites and fold in using a spatula.

Transfer the mixture to the baking pan and bake at 170°C (340°F) for 40 minutes.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and lemon zest, and serve.


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