Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake is made with ricotta cheese and fresh lemon, and is topped with a simple lemon glaze. Have a slice at breakfast with your cup of coffee, or as a midday snack!

Lemon Ricotta Pound cake with glaze on a wood cutting board with a lemon in the background.

This deliciously moist and dense lemon ricotta pound cake is topped with a simple lemon glaze. It’s the perfect recipe for any occasion. I like to have a slice with a cup of coffee in the morning. It also makes a great midday snack or a light dessert.

If you love all things lemon ricotta, be sure to try my Lemon Ricotta Bundt Cake, or my fan-favorite Italian Lemon Ricotta Cake. And, for a delicious treat, don’t miss my Soft Lemon Cookies or this Cinnamon Coffee Cake! For a classic recipe, give this Sour Cream Pound Cake a try!

Why You Need to Make this Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake!

When life gives you lemons, make lemon cake! This lemon ricotta pound cake recipe is super easy to make is delicious anytime of the day. Plus, it stays moist for days, so you can make it ahead and have for later.

This simple recipe comes together fast and is done in one bowl. All you need is an electric hand mixer, bowl, and a 9 x 5 inch baking pan. It’s also great for gifting and makes a beautiful presentation.

Traditional pound cake gets its name from the ingredients: a pound each of flour, butter, eggs, and sugar. This formula has been tweaked over the years, but the basic components are still the same.

Overhead photo of Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake on a wood cutting board.

Here, the butter, sugar, flour, and eggs are scaled down. However, you are still left with a moist and slightly dense cake that is so flavorful. To stay moist, the ricotta takes the place of the some of the butter. The sugar and eggs are reduced as well.

Read on to see how easy it is to make Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake.

Ingredients and Substitutions

overhead photo of ingredients including eggs, flour, and sugar.
  • Butter: use unsalted room temperature butter. If you use salted butter, just omit the additional salt in the recipe.
  • Sugar: use regular granulated sugar here.
  • Ricotta Cheese: I always like to bake with whole milk ricotta cheese, but part skim would work. Be sure to drain the ricotta before using if it appears wet.
  • Lemon: since you are using the zest of the lemon, be sure to use an organic lemon if you have it.
  • All purpose flour: sifted if necessary.
  • Baking Powder: this will help the cake rise.
  • Powdered Sugar: use the powdered sugar to make the icing for the Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake. You can always omit the icing altogether if desired.

How to Make Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake

To start, you need to grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray and then line with parchment. I like to line with parchment just to ensure that my cake comes out clean without leaving any batter behind in the pan.

process shots showing how to make recipe including pouring the batter into the baking pan.

Step 1: mix the butter and sugar.

In a large mixing bowl, use a handheld mixer to cream together the butter and sugar. You could also use a standup mixer for this. Mix for about two minutes.

Step 2: add in remaining ingredients.

Next, add in the ricotta cheese. If your ricotta cheese is dry, there is no need to strain it ahead of time. However, if you are using a wetter cheese, or a homemade cheese, you will want to strain it in cheesecloth or fine mesh sieve before adding.

Mix the ricotta with the butter/sugar mixture for about two minutes. Then add in the eggs, mixing again. Use a zester to zest the lemon peel, then squeeze in all of the juice of the lemon; stir to combine.

Lastly, add in the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix until just combined and pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

Step 3: pour into lined baking pan.

Pour the batter into a lined 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. You could also use a bundt cake pan or 9 x 9 inch baking pan for this recipe.

Step 4: bake and cool.

Bake the pound cake for about an hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Let the pound cake cool on a baking rack for 15 minutes before removing from pan. Let cool completely before adding glaze.

Simple Lemon Glaze

The lemon ricotta pound cake is the star of this recipe. So I like to keep the glaze simple and mimic the flavors of the pound cake.

This simple lemon glaze uses just powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. All you have to do is whisk these ingredients together and pour over the cooled cake.

Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake with lemon glaze on a wood cutting board.

The consistency of the lemon glaze should be spreadable but not too runny. To reach the desired consistency, adjust the lemon juice and powdered sugar amounts.

Expert Tips

  • Use room temperature butter so that it mixes well with the sugar.
  • Drain your ricotta cheese if it appears wet. To do so, just place the ricotta in a fine mesh sieve and let it sit for about a hour before using.
  • Fresh lemon juice is necessary here. You can add more or less depending on your taste preference.
  • Bake the lemon ricotta pound cake just until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake the cake.
  • Let the cake cool completely before adding a the icing.
  • You can adjust the thickness of your icing by adding more or less lemon juice.
Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake on a cutting board with lemons in the background.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use part skim ricotta cheese?

Whenever you bake using ricotta cheese it is best to use whole milk ricotta. Because you are using the ricotta to replace some of the fat of the butter, whole milk cheese is best.
However, in a pinch, part skim ricotta cheese would work. Your cake may not be as rich, but you’ll still have the same moist and flavorful cake as you would otherwise.
I like to save the part skim ricotta cheese for cooking rather than baking. It’s the star in some of my lightened-up Italian recipes such as Baked Spaghetti, Turkey Spinach Manicotti, and Italian Turkey Lasagna.

How to store lemon ricotta pound cake?

The beauty of this pound cake is that it stays moist for days. There are different ways to store the cake: covered on the counter, in the refrigerator, or in the freezer.
You can display your pound cake on the counter or table using a domed glass cake stand. I love to keep cakes this way, especially when guests are around. This pound cake will stay fresh for about three days covered at room temperature.
You can also slice and refrigerate this pound cake in an airtight container. I like this method because the cake stays fresh longer (about a week) and you can just grab a cooled slice whenever you’re hungry.
Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake also freezes nicely. You can freeze with or without the frosting for up to three months. Freeze in an airtight container whole rather than sliced.

Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake on a wood cutting board with a slice in front of it and lemons in the background.

More Italian Dessert Recipes!

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or review in the comments section further down the page.

Stay in touch with me though social media @ InstagramPinterest, and Facebook. Don’t forget to tag me when you try one of my recipes!

Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake

Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake

Deliciously moist and dense lemon ricotta pound cake topped with a simple lemon glaze. This is the perfect treat for any occasion.
4.93 from 26 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 318kcal
Cost: 5-7

Equipment

  • 9 x 5 inch loaf pan

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup butter, softened (one and a half sticks)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ cup lemon juice (from one large lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (from one large lemon)
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour (203 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Lemon Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray then line with parchment paper; set aside.
  • In an large bowl, mix together the sugar and butter using a handheld mixer until light and fluffy; about 2 minutes. Add in the ricotta cheese and mix on high for another 2 minutes. Add in the eggs and beat well. Stir in the ¼ cup of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest. To the batter add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix until just combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 60-65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the pound cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely before adding glaze.

Lemon Glaze

  • To make the lemon glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Spread glaze over top of the cooled pound cake.

Video

Notes

  • Use room temperature butter so that it mixes well with the sugar.
  • Drain your ricotta cheese if it appears wet. To do so, just place the ricotta in a fine mesh sieve and let it sit for about a hour before using.
  • Fresh lemon juice is necessary here. You can add more or less depending on your taste preference.
  • Bake the lemon ricotta pound cake just until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake the cake.
  • Let the cake cool completely before adding a the icing.
  • You can adjust the thickness of your icing by adding more or less lemon juice.
  • Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a week or freeze for up to three months. 

Nutrition

Calories: 318kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 87mg | Sodium: 295mg | Potassium: 68mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 514IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 1mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Please leave a comment below or pin it to your Pinterest account!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




33 Comments

  1. I just made this. I love ricotta and have made many recipes from Italian chefs. This is hands down, the best ricotta cake recipe I ever made. I am grateful I found your food blog. You are a master Chef Allison.

  2. 4 stars
    This was amazing but the top of the loaf burned a bit should I cover it half way through?

    1. yes. Every oven bakes different, so foil works. Also, be sure you are baking on the center rack in the oven.

    1. Made the Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake, it was REALLY good. I have another cup of Ricotta and would possibly like to try it without lemon but make something Almond. Thinking 1 teas. Almond Extract in the cake, will that be enough? Some recipes call for 2 teas. extract. Slivered Almonds on top before baking? And since I liked making the glaze, 1/2 teas. almond extract & whole milk to = 2 tablespoons liquid to add to powdered sugar. Or perhaps no extract in glaze? Do you think these alterations will work?

      1. I think almond would be delicious! I would do a teaspoon in the batter and 1/2 teaspoon in the glaze. Let me know how it turns out for you. Also, be sure to check out my very similar recipe for Almond Ricotta Cake!

  3. 5 stars
    Just made this today. Absolutely loved it! I thought it would be heavy, but it was light, tangy, delicious, and easy to make. This one is a winner!

    1. You can. I would just do about a teaspoon of vanilla, you just won’t have the lemon flavor.

  4. 5 stars
    I love lemon pound cake but adding ricotta to it! I bet that really adds something special! I know what I’ll be making this weekend – thanks for the recipe! 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    The ricotta is such a great addition to this cake! It definitely makes it tastes rich and delicious! Saving this to make this weekend!

  6. 5 stars
    This ricotta pound cake is right up my alley. I always have some ricotta in my fridge, it is such a versatile cheese for many recipes. I love having breakfast cake and this one seems the perfect pairing to my morning coffee. There’s nothing like the zesty scent of lemon cake to awaken my senses!