The first time I made a ricotta cake, it was at the Italian bakery where I worked. We had a few standard recipes, but the owner and I liked to brainstorm new ideas for seasonal flavors. I would gather a few recipes and begin to test. This particular time, we liked the idea of candied oranges baked into the batter. After a few tries I found a pound cake-like cake with the sweet flavor of orange throughout.
Fast forward a few years and I began craving that same dense, moist cake, but I couldn’t find the recipe. My mind was set on a ricotta cake, this time made with olive oil, and a quick internet search revealed a few promising options. I eagerly baked one off, only to discover it was fluffy! What magic was this? Where did my dense, moist cake go?
Back to the drawing board! I thought about adjusting the leavening, since the moisture from the ricotta was adding extra lift. However, I found the bag of almond flour in the pantry and knew it would be the perfect addition. I like the extra flavor, texture and nutrition they add to recipes. Cherry season made almond flour the obvious choice, and it was a hit! A soft, subtle cake perfect for breakfast, tea time or after dinner bite, this is the all purpose cake you’ve been looking for. Be warned, it’s the type of cake you keep sneaking little slices of until you come back and realize a quarter of the cake is gone and you’re the only one home (nooo, that wasn’t me, nope.)
Olive Oil Ricotta Cake
- 1 cup ricotta
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup almond flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups sweet cherries pitted
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Prep a 9” cake pan with pan spray or oil of choice and parchment on the bottom.
- In a bowl combine the first 5 ingredients, whisking out any large lumps of ricotta. Add the dry ingredients, and whisk together.
- Pour into the prepared pan, and begin placing the cherries in concentric circles around the cake until completely full, you may need more or less cherries, depending on your preference.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes, until moist crumbs cling to a toothpick tested in the center. Allow to cool 30 minutes before removing from the pan.
- Top with powdered sugar if desired. The cake will keep in an airtight container on the counter for 2-3 days, or in the fridge up to a week, if it lasts that long.
Try another fruit! Any stone fruit would swap in delightfully, and berries would be beautiful. Heck, those candied orange slices from all those years ago would be beautiful chopped up inside and lining the bottom of the pan. No cherry pitter? Grab a thick straw or pastry tip and thread the stem inside, then push out towards the bottom. Wear gloves if you prefer not to have red cuticles