This lovely, light lemon ricotta cake is a wonderful way to end any meal or for a special dessert. Featured here topped with Candied Lemons, but adaptable to any topping.

lemon ricotta cake sliced on cake plate

Ricotta cakes are such a lovely and light dessert and this lemon version is the perfect way to enjoy some bright flavours and colours in the middle of winter.

If you’ve never had a ricotta cake, it is lighter than a cheesecake and as its ricotta cheese based instead of cream cheese based, it’s flavour is more subtle. It’s lovely and light, so a nice way to finish a meal. It’s also a great base cake for any number of toppings.

I’ve topped mine with candied lemons (instructions on how to make the candied lemons is below!), but this cake is lovely with lemon curd and/or fresh berries and/or a dollop of creme fraiche or whipped cream.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Ricotta – As ricotta forms the majority of the ingredients of this cake, seek out some great, fresh ricotta. Be sure to allow it to sit to remove as much moisture as possible, before using in the cake. No cheesecloth? Use a coffee filter to line your strainer!

Recipe Tips

As I mentioned above, this cake is lovely with any number of toppings. Fresh fruit is always a great option, as is a chunky sauce or puree of blueberries or raspberries. Lemon curd would be perfect.

The candied lemons can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to a month. (Candied lemons can be eaten, or you can use them simply as decoration).

lemon ricotta cake sliced on white plate

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lemon ricotta cake sliced on cake plate

Get the Recipe: Lemon Ricotta Cake with Candied Lemons

A lovely light lemon ricotta cake, topped with homemade candied lemons. This cake is also lovely serve with fresh fruit, fruit puree or sauce or lemon curd.
5 stars from 3 ratings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Yield: 8 servings


  • 3 cups ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • Icing/confectioners sugar, for dusting

Candied Lemons:

  • 2 large lemons
  • Ice water
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups water


  • Do ahead: In a cheesecloth lined strainer placed over a bowl, strain the ricotta for 12 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
  • To make Candied Lemons (if using): Thinly slice the lemons and remove any pits. Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water. Set aside. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and boil lemon slices for one minute, then remove to the ice water until completely cooled, then drain the water/ice. In a medium-sized skillet, bring white sugar and water to a simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add lemon slices in a single layer and gently simmer, turning a few times, for about 1 hour, or until rinds are translucent. Remove lemon slices to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • For the lemon ricotta cake: Preheat oven to 325 Butter an 8-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl with an electric mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the ricotta, 3/4 cup white sugar, flour, egg yolks, lemon zest and juice until smooth. Set aside or if using stand mixer, remove to a large bowl and clean bowl.
  • In another bowl (or clean stand mixer bowl, fitted with a whisk), beat the egg whites with 1/4 sugar until stiff peaks form.
  • Use a spatula to gently fold the egg whites in to the ricotta mixture. Pour in to prepared pan.
  • Place in to preheated oven and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until it is golden and set. Remove to a cooling rack to cool in the pan. Cake will sag or sink in the middle. Once cooled, leave in pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
  • When ready to serve, run a knife around the outside of the pan and unmould. Dust with icing sugar and top with Candied Lemons or the topping of your choice.


Be sure to read the notes above this Recipe Card, for more tips on making this recipe.
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Course: Dessert
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 307kcal, Carbohydrates: 31g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 139mg, Sodium: 109mg, Potassium: 140mg, Fiber: 0.1g, Sugar: 25g, Vitamin A: 533IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 204mg, Iron: 1mg
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