The Surprising Ingredient for the Best Lemon Cake Ever

Take a tip from the Italians.



The best part about baking a cake is the enticing smell that wafts from your oven through your home. All problems become a little bit easier, and family gatherings become bearable (even enjoyable!), all thanks to the enchanting aroma of a baked cake.

On such occasions when a cake is called for, you might jump for chocolate, red velvet, or even carrot. However, I’d humbly suggest you take a tip from the Italians and try a new bold and bright option: our Limoncello Ricotta Cake.

Whether it's the holiday season or a bright day in spring, this Limoncello Ricotta Cake will be a crowd-pleaser (even for those who don’t prefer lemon desserts). Moist and deliciously dense, this cake pops with citrus flavors thanks to both limoncello and fresh lemon zest and juice. However, unlike some lemon cakes where the citrus can be overpowering, this dessert is mellowed out by the addition of one creamy ingredient that makes it even more decadent.

The Key Ingredient to the Perfect Lemon Cake

So, what’s the secret to a perfectly balanced lemon cake? Ricotta cheese. This soft and creamy cheese has a mild, fresh milk flavor and a rich, silky mouthfeel. It elegantly complements the bright bite of the lemon flavor while making the texture moist and delightful.

Similar to mascarpone, Ricotta is a versatile cheese with many uses. Often, you’ll see it used in lasagna or ravioli filling, but it can also be made into everything from herby ricotta biscuits to light and fluffy pancakes.

Believe it or not, you can even make your own ricotta at home fairly easily. Yes, homemade cheese might sound like a massive task, but it’s a surprisingly approachable project (and it makes the freshest, tastiest ricotta you can find).

What is Limoncello?

Limoncello is the second ingredient that infuses this cake with flavor, and it’s not one you commonly find in baked goods. The Italian lemon liqueur is often enjoyed cold and savored slowly after dinner as a digestif. The versatile liqueur is delicious in cocktails, sorbets, and fruit salads, but it can also be used in salad dressings and seafood marinades.

Just like ricotta, limoncello is surprisingly simple to make at home if you can’t find it in stores. All it takes is lemons, sugar, water, and vodka. Just remember to prepare it well ahead of time—the recipe takes about a month to come together.

How To Make Limoncello Ricotta Cake

To make this dreamy lemon cake, you’ll need a 9-inch springform pan and your stand (or hand) mixer. Pro tip: make sure to take your eggs and ricotta cheese out of the fridge to get them to room temperature before mixing.

Start by sifting together cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. I prefer to sift the ingredients onto a sheet of parchment paper rather than into a bowl (that way, you can easily pour them into a stand mixer without making a mess).  In the bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl, beat eggs and sugar together until the mixture is pale yellow and fluffy.

Next, add ricotta, olive oil, limoncello, vanilla, lemon zest, and juice to the egg mixture and mix until fully incorporated. Pour in half the flour mixture, mix, and then add the second half, stirring until combined. Grease your cake pan before filling it with the batter, then bake in a 350-degree F oven for 65 to 75 minutes. Keep an eye out as the cake bakes—if it begins to brown too quickly, cover the top with aluminum foil and continue baking until it’s done.

Finally, mix together powdered sugar, limoncello, heavy cream, lemon juice, and lemon zest until it forms a smooth, runny glaze. Let the cake cool completely before pouring the glaze over the top.

Get the Recipe

Read the original article on All Recipes.