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Italian Orange Ricotta Cake

4.75 from 74 community reviews

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 A simple Italian-inspired almond cake batter baked with fresh orange-infused ricotta.

Italian Orange Ricotta Cake

The story of this orange-infused ricotta cake starts with my growing up in an Italian-American family.

I learned early on that every holiday and special occasion came with its own special food, to be enjoyed on that day and probably not to be tasted again until its time reappeared on the calendar.

Many of those foods happen to be sweet things (or maybe they’re what I loved best).

A picture of a cake with a slice being served, with ricotta baked into the top, with orange zest and powdered sugar on top.

There were St. Joseph’s day zeppole (fried dough filled with creamy custard), Christmas panettone (sweet yeast bread), torrone (nougat with nuts).

My very favorite were the sfogilatelle, flaky ricotta-filled pastries that sat on the table in a brown cardboard pastry box every Sunday after dinner.

A picture of a cake with ricotta baked into the top, with orange zest and powdered sugar on top.

I should also mention the traditional Neapolitan Easter pie, filled with an orange-scented rice pudding.

That pie could take days to make, chill and set and from what I recall seemed to weigh as much as the 20-pound sack of Russet potatoes my mother kept in the pantry. 

This recipe is inspired in part by each one of those sweets, only lightened up and simplified.

It reminds me especially of the lightly sweet, orange-scented ricotta filling in a sfogliatelle. 

When you bake this cake, the moist, almondy cake batter puffs up around the ricotta, creating sweet, creamy pockets in each slice.

Italian Orange Ricotta Cake

Karen Tedesco
A moist, simply delicious orange ricotta cake baked in a tart pan, with an almond-flour cake batter and a creamy orange-infused ricotta filling.
Print Pin
4.75 from 74 community reviews
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Desserts
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons melted butter for the baking pan
  • 1 cup (245 g) whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) honey
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) freshly grated orange zest, from 1 large orange, or 2 small
  • ½ cup (50 g) almond flour
  • 1 cup (140) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (120 g) 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (240 g) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • Powdered sugar, for serving
Makes: 8inch round

Instructions 

  • Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush the top, bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform pan with the melted butter.
  • Whisk together the ricotta, honey and orange zest in a small bowl until combined.
  • Combine the almond flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
  • In a standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one; lower the mixer speed and stir in the flour mixture until just combined.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread so that it meets the edges of the pan. Evenly top the outside edge and the middle of cake with tablespoon-sized scoops of the ricotta.
  • Bake 30-35 minutes. The cake should be golden and the batter around the ricotta lightly firm to the touch. Cool 10 minutes, then release the pan sides and cool the cake completely.
  • Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Karen’s Notes and Tips

  • The cake will keep well refrigerated up to 2 days.
Recipe updated 2018.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 463kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Sodium: 247mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 46g

Nutrition facts are calculated by third-party software. If you have specific dietary needs, please refer to your favorite calculator.

Did you make this recipe? Search @Familystylefood or tag #familystylefood on Pinterest

Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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57 Comments

  1. Would this work with lemon zest instead?

  2. Can the ricotta mixture be mixed into the rest of the batter? If so, how would baking time change? Thanks! Also, do you have an icing or glaze to go with this?

  3. Looking forward to making this. How much almond flour could I substitute for the AP?

    1. Hi Lisa – For the best texture, I suggest using a total of 1 cup of almond flour and 1/2 cup all-purpose or a gluten-free blend.

  4. Jessica Vance says:

    5 stars
    Can I get to the stage of putting the dollops of ricotta on top and instead of putting it in the oven, can I can store it overnight in the fridge and bake it the next day?? I made this during covid last year and it was a hit!!

    1. Hi Jessica – I haven’t tried, but it’s probably fine to do that. Let me know how it turns out!

  5. Christine says:

    5 stars
    One of the best cakes I ever made! Delicious.

  6. I’m so sorry for another question . . . 30 gm of almond flour does not equal 1/2 cup. In a previous comment you did mention that 1/2 cups AF is 50 gm? Is there a misprint in the recipe?

    1. The correct amount of almond flour is 1/2 cup, which should be 50 grams. Thanks for pointing out that error!

  7. Uh oh. Equipment needed says tart pan, recipe states springform pan. Two very different pans. Wanting to make this this morning but not sure I will hear back in time!

    1. Hi Lori – Thanks for your comment. You can use either an 8-inch tart pan with removable bottom or an 8-inch springform pan.

      1. Thank you so much for your immediate response! I just wanted to make sure I wouldn’t have an overflow issue!

  8. Piccola Walter says:

    Hi!
    I am looking to make this cake but didn’t know how much ricotta I needed.

    Is it one cup into the batter and additional tablespoons of ricotta? Or 1 cup of ricotta in total?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Piccola – You need just the one cup of ricotta. It goes on top of the cake.

  9. Lisa Jones says:

    Can this orange ricotta cake be frozen? I’m having a family brunch on Sunday but would like to make this cake today / Thursday and freeze or refrigerate until Sunday . Directions state keeps in frig for 2 days.

    1. Hi Lisa – I don’t recommend freezing it as the ricotta will separate and become watery. If you keep covered in the refrigerator 3 days it should be fine! Bring it to room temp before serving.

      1. Thank you for your quick response. I made it and it turned out beautifully . I can hardly wait to serve it on Sunday . Thank you again .

  10. Bryan Gogal says:

    Hmmm… I envision this cake baked as a tart. I don’t see why a person couldn’t make a pasta frolla tart shell, bake it off, then put the filling in and bake it? (I see “pie” and “tart” and “cake” used interchangeably in the comments.) I imagine if a person just left out the cup of AP flour and the baking powder they’d have just a tart filling?

    1. Bryan – thanks for your comment. The texture of this is actually more like a cake and not a filling. It’s just baked in a tart pan.