Desserts | Italian

Italian Orange Ricotta Cake

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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.

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Italian Orange Ricotta Cake

Familystyle Food
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
4.54 from 39 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 50 mins
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 (30 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

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.

Notes

Keep leftover cake refrigerated 2 days.
 
Recipe updated 2018.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 463kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 247mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 46g
Did you make this recipe? Mention @Familystylefood or tag #familystylefood on Instagram!!

Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about making cooking fun and doable, with easy to follow tested recipes and incredibly tasty food!

26 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made this today. It was amazing. The only bad part is that it was too small, lol. If i want to bake it in a 9” or 10” springform, should i do a 1 1/2 x for 9” and double for 10”? This was incredibly delicious. All of my favorite ingredients, orange zest, ricotta and almond meal. I did use slivered almonds and ground them finely in the food processor. And i love that crust that a lot of people talked about in the reviews. This is definitely a keeper. My son said it reminded him of a cannoli filling with the pillowy ricotta on top. Thank you for this great recipe!

    1. Wow so glad you enjoyed the cake! It’s one of my absolute favorites. I understand the problem wanting more — I suggest doubling the recipe and making it in two 8-inch pans rather than using one larger size. You’ll have better success that way!

  2. I am baking this cake now and it smells delicious. I followed the recipe exactly but after 35 min. it still wasn’t done in the middle. So I am baking it for another 20 min. I have a fairly new oven so I’m not sure if that was the issue. Any advice would be welcome. Thank you for the beautiful website and delicious recipes.

  3. I made it exactly as called for and it was delicious. Nice soft crust and creamy ricotta filling. Would definitely recommend this recipe.

  4. 5 stars
    I would love to try your recipe but my husband is highly allergic to tree nuts. Can I substitute AP flour in place of ground almond? Thank you.

  5. Just made this and popped it in the oven. I added about 1/8 tsp of almond extract, since this recipe reminded me of a ricotta almond cake I had in Italy once, and I wanted a bit more almond flavor. the batter tastes amazing! Not too sweet, but just right. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  6. Karen,

    Thanks for getting back to me so quickly! I made the tart again this morning and I followed your advice—it turned out perfectly!! No sinking ricotta & stunningly beautiful :-))) I am looking forward to baking the Pistachio Crumbly Cake next…

    Again, thanks for your advice!

    1. Great! Thanks for letting me know, Jason. I’m glad it worked out! Share a photo next time – I’d love to see your creation.

  7. Karen,

    I just made this and it tastes great!! I used 75g of ground almonds instead of roasting/grounding 1/2 cup of almonds. My ricotta mixture didn’t stay on top but sank to the middle/lower third. I also used cake flour instead of all-purpose flour. So, I made a few substitutions/changes. Could you tell me if my changes caused the ricotta mixture to sink? Is 75g ground almonds the same as 1/2 cup roasted/ground? I thought the cake flour would lighten the mixture but maybe it had an adverse reaction with the rest of the ingredients? The flavor is great but I would like it to look as stunningly beautiful as yours!

    Keep up the good work & thank you in advance for your response!!

    1. Hi Jason, I’m glad to see your comment. Hmmm, my conversion table says that 1/2 cup almonds is equal to 50 grams ground almonds. 75 grams would be 25 grams more than what I use in the recipe by just 1/8 of a cup; the cake flour in place of all-purpose will yield a slightly more tender crumb. Did you use an 8-inch diameter cake pan? The ricotta should sink a tiny bit into the cake as it bakes. I can only guess that the little extra volume in cake batter (from the extra almonds) caused the cake to rise higher over the filling. Hope that helps!

  8. This recipe is delicious! I made it exactly as written, except I used lime zest since I made it for St. Patrick’s Day. We all loved it! Since it is not too sweet, it would be lovely for breakfast too.

  9. I am looking for a recipe for a crust that they use in a bakery when they make a italian ricotta pie. Does anyone have the bakery recipe of the ricotta pie

  10. This recipe with the addition of the almond crust sounds amazing.
    I make a different version of an orange ricotta pie, but they are all delicious, with our without a crust.

    Wow Penny, you really seem to have an opinion on other people’s recipes….and it’s INA Garten, fyi.
    I will try your recipe Karen, it looks fab.

    Stacey

  11. Good recipe. Although I sometimes enjoy over-the-top sweet, my preference is for a more toned down sugar presence. And I seem to be using ricotta more and more these days – this is a great use for it. Thanks for this.

  12. Suggestion: use Almond Meal, widely available, especially at Trader Joe’s. I find this recipe for a simple ricotta pie to be overly complex; in fact, this recipe has increased the usual prep time from 20 minutes to 45 (not including the baking). Many Italian households used a simple pie pan. Springform makes the heel of the crust too thick and you’ll notice most people will leave it on their plate. I would never add baking powder to ground almonds — bakign powder should be added to flour and lightly stirred in, so that the almond oil does not attach to the bitter baking powder. I’m sure this is a delicious ricotta pie, after all the work, and it is probably a better one than Ima Garten’s which is quite bitter and has a 2 hour prep time (your have to boil whole tangerines & chop the cooled peel.) Sometimes we forget that the idea is to have fun in the kitchen, not be a stressed out slave to the stove in the kitchen.

    1. Penny,
      As a professional chef for over 20 years, I can appreciate your considerations. Any suggestions that will reduce prep time without sacrificing quality are always welcome, and to me, the fun and art of cooking has to do with making adjustments for a better outcome!
      I wonder how fresh goat ricotta would work with this recipe-

      Karen, thanks for an attractive website and new information!

    2. Penny, thanks for the tip about adding baking powder to flour before adding almond meal. I too will use a simple pie pan as I’ve also noticed how thick crust is left behind. I agree about the simplicity of this in an Italian household. It seems basic recipes have to be made complex, not sure why.

  13. Is there a flour I could use to make this GF? Need to deliver food to a family whose mom died tomorrow, thinking this would be perfect. One of the daughters if gluten intolerant, not celiac.

    1. Alanna – Not sure since I can’t test it out, but I would suggest subbing oat or rice flour. Spelt flour would be very good too, if she can tolerate that.

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