La-La-Lemon Ricotta Cake
This rich, moist lemon ricotta cake with tangy lemon glaze traveled to work with me to celebrate the birthday of one of my fabulous staff. (Have I mentioned how much I love my ridiculously expensive Tupperware portable cake saver? Worth every penny.) We enjoyed this citrusy treat along with mugs of creamy hot chocolate — a perfect combination of flavors. My staff is small, so the cake lasted for a few days’ worth of snack breaks, and we all agreed it tastes even better after sitting around for a day or two at room temperature. My modifications to a recipe from The Daily Loaf are below. I increased the amount of lemon in the cake, and I also altered the recipe to use regular (salted) butter. I chose to bake the cake in a springform pan rather than a bundt, because I wanted a smooth layer of icing to coat the top of the cake, rather than just a bit of drizzle. I also found the recipe for the glaze didn’t work for me, so my changes are below. You don’t have to add the lemon extract to the icing, but it will smooth out the flavor, unifying the acidic lemon juice and the sweetness of the powdered sugar. Adding a bit of lemon zest to the icing creates a subtle but pretty “confetti” effect. You need three lemons for this recipe: the zest of 2 and juice of 1 go into the cake batter, while the zest of 1 and juice of 2 go into the glaze. That’s the most complicated part of this cake, I promise!
Lemon Ricotta Cake
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
15 oz. container whole milk ricotta, at room temperature
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 2 lemons
juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9-inch springform pan.
Cream the butter and sugar together, then add in the ricotta, and continue to beat for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. (I recommend an electric mixer for this.) Beat in the eggs one at a time until the mixture is smooth. Beat in the vanilla and lemon.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients by hand, being careful not to overmix. Pour the batter into the pan, and smooth out the top. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 F, then lower the temperature to 325 F and continue to bake until the center springs back when touched, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean (about 40 minutes).
Cool the cake for about 10 minutes, then run a knife carefully around the pan, and unlock the spring mechanism. Allow the cake to cool completely before pouring on the glaze.
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 2 lemons
6-7 drops of lemon extract
Combine the sugar and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Add the lemon juice 1 Tbsp at a time, whisking well, until the desired consistency is reached. The icing should be thick, but smooth and pourable. Whisk in the lemon extract. Pour the icing onto the top of the cake, and use a spatula to gently coax it across the surface of the cake. Allow it to cascade down the sides of the cake in a natural pattern. The cake will keep for about 5 or 6 days stored at room temperature… if it lasts that long!