Keep Things Light and Airy With This Italian-style Lemon Ricotta Cake
People see ricotta cheese is an ingredient in this Lemon Ricotta Cake, and assume that they are making an Italian-style cheesecake. However, this recipe surprises as it produces more of a light and airy cake rather than a heavy cheesecake, although with a few simple alterations you can turn this recipe into a full fledged cheesecake, which perhaps I will do in a future post.
The lemon flavoring comes from grated zest of lemon and a bit of fresh squeezed lemon juice, which will fill your kitchen with a pleasing citrus-cake aroma. This cake is said to originate from Sardinia, Italy, a large island in the Mediterranean Sea, whose climate supports the growing of citrus fruit, including lemons. If you enjoy lemon, you will certainly enjoy this cake.
Here is how you do it:
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- generous 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- 3 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
- Grease a nine inch cake pan. Line the bottom with waxed paper. Grease the paper and dust with some of the flour. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Beat in the ricotta. I do this by hand, but this is an excellent job for a mechanical whisk.
- Beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Add two tablespoons of flour, lemon juice and grated zest. Sift the baking powder into the remaining flour and beat into the batter until well mixed.
- Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Stiff peaks requires the eggs to be very well whipped, until the consistency of the mixture is thick and heavy enough that the eggs hold their shape very well. Carefully fold the whipped egg whites into the batter. This is an important step for producing a light and airy cake in the end.
- Turn the cake batter into the cake pan and bake on lower rack for 45 minutes or until cake tester inserted into cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for ten minutes before turning out and letting cool on a rack.
- Dust the top of the cake with confectioner’s sugar and serve.