Lemon is such a fresh and fragrant flavor that I always begin to crave when Spring rolls around. The pumpkin spice frenzy ends and bright, warm weather tastes become the seasonal special. This cake combines the citrus notes of lemon with velvety ricotta cheese, yielding a perfect addition to your brunch table or the ideal end to a meal grilled outdoors. It keeps really well at room temperature as well, while retaining its amazingly moist quality. As an added bonus, the cake makes your house smell like heaven while baking, filling your living space with sweet, warm, buttery-lemon air.
There are a few very simple but important tricks to getting the consistency of the cake batter just right. It is key to make sure the butter you use isnt cold so that it incorporates well with the sugar and ricotta. Also make a point to use whole milk ricotta for its richness and lower water content, rather than skim or part-skim. Thats really the secret ingredient for this recipe and makes a huge difference in texture and moistness. Note also that room temperature eggs will give you a more fluffy cake and a better rise overall. As a general rule, room temp eggs are the best for baking.
When glazing the cake, you may want to place it onto a raised wire cooling rack with parchment paper underneath to catch excess. Otherwise, if you glaze it on a platter it will pool in the center of the cake and around the sides, rather than draining off and leaving an even layer all the way down. This way you can also give it another coat by pouring over whatever gathers on the parchment below. While the cake itself has lemon essence to it, the tart and sugary glaze is truly the crowning glory and what gives this recipe its punch.
Heres the recipe:
Lemon Glazed Ricotta Cake
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
15 ounces whole milk ricotta
1 ½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Zest and Juice of 1 large lemon
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a bundt cake pan and set aside.
In a large mixer bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until well combined. Add the ricotta and blend until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mix in the eggs one at a time, incorporating well. Add the vanilla, lemon juice/zest and mix until fully combined.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients in 2 increments, mixing just until incorporated. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth our as needed. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until the cake is set and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Let cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle the lemon glaze over the top of the cake and serve.