Lemon Ricotta Olive Oil Cake

Lemon Ricotta Olive Oil Cake

with a craggy, crackly, sugary, meringue-like crust. OMG.

This Lemon Ricotta Olive Oil Cake is 100% appropriate for breakfast and if anyone questions you on that you just send them to talk to me. I can also justify cold leftover pizza, movie popcorn or cookies for breakfast so heed my advice using your own best judgement.

But, hear me out… this cake has ricotta cheese and eggs AND yogurt. All protein foods, yes? It has extra virgin olive oil too, and I know there are people out there who drink a straight of olive oil first thing in the morning for health benefits which is gross btw, but a supporting argument nonetheless. Plus, lemons. That’s fruit. So I think you can agree that we’ve covered all the food groups here. Thank you.

Lemon Ricotta Olive Oil Cake

my foodie Chatter

There are only a few instances where I will accept cake without frosting (that’s a total lie, I will always accept cake), and yes, if you search “cake” on my site you will find a few examples of frosting-less cake like my Sour Cream Donut Cake, my Gooey Fresh Strawberry Buttermilk Coffee Cake, my Italian Ricotta Almond Cake with Blueberries, my Ricotta & Chocolate Crumble Cake, and there are probably more. There is a good reason for this and that reason is that I live for frosting. I love it. I make extra because I know I’m going to dip into it in offensive amounts before it even hits the cake. I am also that person who will steal icing from the rest of the cake when cutting myself a slice. I. Love. Frosting.

What you will notice about all of my unfrosted cake recipes is that if they do not have frosting they do have a “topping” of some kind. This cake is no exception. This delicious little snack cake is my attempt at getting the feel of lemon meringue pie without having to actually make lemon meringue pie. I hope you love it as much as we do.

Lemon Ricotta Olive Oil Cake

Lemon Ricotta Olive Oil Cake, the details…

The hardest part of making this cake is zesting lemons and separating eggs, so let’s do that first. Get it out of the way. Nothing else requires much focus so go ahead and put your Netflix on.

Next, we’ll whisk together some olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, ricotta, yogurt, vanilla, and egg yolks. To that we’ll whisk in some sugar and mix it all really well.

Then we’ll combine some cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. We’ll add all that to the olive oil mixture and mix until it’s all just combined.

Pause your Netflix and whip up your egg whites. We’re looking for medium-firm peaks here. Take about 3/4 of those whipped up whites and fold them into the cake batter. Once that’s done, take the remaining egg whites and dollop them over the top of the batter. Give that a little swirl with a knife or a toothpick to spread it out evenly over the batter.

Now, sprinkle all with superfine, or berry, sugar. This is what makes the crackly crust. That’s it. We’re ready to bake!

Lemon Ricotta Olive Oil Cake

Recipe ingredients, tips, substitutions:

Flour – I’m a big fan of the soft, tender texture cake flour gives a recipe, but you can use all purpose if that’s what you have.

Sugar – superfine sugar is sometimes called berry sugar and if you can’t find it you can use regular white sugar, or you can make your own.

Lemon Juice – fresh lemon juice is best – always – but you can use the bottled stuff if you must.

Olive Oil– I use extra virgin olive oil pretty much exclusively, but you can use regular oil or any other oil instead.

Lemon Ricotta Olive Oil Cake

what meal would go well with this Lemon Ricotta Olive Oil Cake? How about…

Lemon Ricotta Olive Oil Cake
Lemon Ricotta Olive Oil Cake

Lemon Ricotta Olive Oil Cake

This tender, moist and absolutely delicious snack cake has a craggy, crackly, meringue-like top created by whipped egg white and a generous layer of superfine sugar.
5 from 2 votes


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • Zest from 2 lemons divided
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs separated plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp superfine/berry sugar


  • Zest the lemons, reserving 1 tsp of zest for the topping. Juice 1/4 cup juice from the lemons.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, ricotta, yogurt, vanilla, and egg yolks. Mix well.
  • Add in the sugar and whisk again.
  • In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well.
  • Add the flour mixture to the oil mixture and mix until just combined.
  • Whisk the egg whites to medium-firm peaks. Fold 3/4 of the egg whites into the batter.
  • Spread the batter into a 9×9 pan, greased and lined with parchment.
  • Dollop the top of the batter with the remaining egg whites and use a knife to lightly swirl into the batter.
  • Mix the superfine sugar with the 1 tsp lemon zest and sprinkle evenly over the top of the batter.
  • Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Let me know what you think below and if you like this Lemon Ricotta Olive Oil Cake Recipe I know you’ll also love my Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Filling! It’s topped with the fluffiest whipped buttercream frosting.

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