Sicilian Citrus Ricotta Cake

This is a super easy summer dessert that will have you going back for seconds for sure. Every summer we find ourselves competing with the crows and raccoons for the cherries in our tree, so we have to be quick to pick them as soon as they start to ripen. Cherries are so delicious. Who can blame them for wanting to eat them?

This year was no exception. A furry friend was up in the tree twice so far this week and he wasn’t in a hurry to come down. He feasted on cherries for hours. The crows always alert us when a raccoon visits the yard, but there’s not much we can do to calm the crows. They just have to make peace with sharing the cherries with the raccoons. It’s actually kind of fun seeing this frenzy of activity for a couple weeks of the summer. The only problem is that the raccoons tend to be early risers, so the crows wake us up around five in the morning to let us know that a raccoon is close by and likely in our cherry tree. They are good climbers.

The ricotta, honey and olive oil make this cake really moist. It’s not super sweet so you can enjoy two pieces without much guilt. The cherries go so well with the ricotta and citrus. Fresh oranges and blueberries work well too.

This cake totally reminds me of the flavours of Sicily. I developed this recipe on a whim one morning with ingredients I had in my fridge and pantry and it turned out great.

I hope you enjoy it too.

Citrus Olive Oil Cake
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
55 mins

Citrus olive oil cake with fresh fruit

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: citrus olive oil cake, grape olive oil cake, lemon olive oil cake, lemon ricotta cake, olive oil cake
Servings: 12
Author: Rosa
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature, see note)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 medium orange, zest only (optional)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups fresh grapes (see note) (reserve 1 cup for the top of the cake)
  • 1/4 cup almond slices for the top of the cake (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Grease a 9 inch round pan generously with oil or butter and then coat with flour.

  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.

  4. In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with the whisk or paddle attachment, blend the eggs and sugar for 3 to 4 minutes or until pale yellow and frothy.

  5. Gradually add the olive oil and blend on low speed until incorporated.

  6. Add the ricotta, lemon juice, vanilla, honey, orange zest and lemon zest. Blend on low speed until incorporated.

  7. Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the wet ingredients. Mix gently by hand with a spatula until mostly combined. Then add half of the fresh fruit. (Reserve 1 cup for the top of the cake). Mix until incorporated. Be careful not to overmix.

  8. Pour the batter into the pan. Use a spatula to push the batter into the corners of the pan and smooth out the top of the cake. Place the remaining fresh fruit on the top of the cake. Sprinkle the top of the cake with 1/4 cup almond slices if you like.

  9. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Check at 40 minutes.

  10. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes before flipping it onto a serving plate. Sprinkle with icing sugar. Serve as is or with whipping cream or vanilla yogurt and fresh fruit.

Recipe Notes
  • If you forget to take the eggs out of the fridge in advance, just run the eggs under warm water for a minute.
  • This is a very thick batter. Use a spatula to spread the batter out evenly in the pan.
  • I have only tested this recipe with fresh fruit: grapes, cherries, blueberries and 1/2 inch orange pieces. I’m not sure how frozen fruit will affect the texture of this cake.
  • You may need to extend the cook time by a few minutes if you’re using a high moisture ricotta. Traditional ricotta has a higher moisture level than smooth ricotta. I have made this cake with both kinds of ricotta as well as different brands and it has always worked well. The cake is ready when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. The cake will be a medium golden brown colour.
  • For an extra moist cake, you can top the cake with a glaze. See recipe below.

4 thoughts on “Sicilian Citrus Ricotta Cake”

  1. I tried this with some ricotta I needed to use up and didn’t get it cooked quite through. I’m pretty sure it was my mistake and the edges were delicious!

    I wondered though- when do you add the honey? I added it with the ricotta…


    1. Hi Kelly,
      Yes, add the honey in with the ricotta. My oven may run a little hotter than yours, but it could also be that the brand of ricotta that you used was more moist than the one I used, which would impact the cook time. You’ll know the cake is done when a toothpick comes out of the center of the cake dry. The next time I make it, I’ll pay closer attention to the consistency of the ricotta and add more details to the recipe. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it.

  2. I made this again with fresh ricotta and gave it the full cook time and it came out great! I substituted frozen cherries for fresh. My kids and husband all loved it.

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