- nonstick spray or butter for the pan
- 350g (2 cups) gluten-free all-purpose baking flour (I use either Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 baking flour or King Arthur )
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 150 ml (⅔ cup) fruity extra-virgin olive oil (preferably Agrumato limone oil if you can get it)
- 150 g (⅔ cup) caster (super-fine) sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 5 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest
- 1 tsp pure lemon extract
- 250g (1 cup) whole milk ricotta cheese, at room temperature and stirred to lighten
- 2 Tbsp confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
If you can’t get to the Amalfi coast, this light-as-a-cloud lemon ricotta cake might be the next best thing. It’s a lovely afternoon pick-me-up alongside an espresso. For an extra burst of sunny citrus flavor, I urge you to use Agrumato limone oil in the recipe. It’s a traditional type of extra-virgin olive oil from Abruzzo, Italy, in which whole lemons are crushed along with the olives. If you can’t find it, opt for a fruity extra-virgin olive oil, such as a Spanish oil made from Arbequina or Picual olives or a Hojiblanca varietal from Australia or New Zealand. (P.S. This cake is gluten-free, but you’d never know it.)
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 7-inch or 8-inch round springform pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt to thoroughly combine.
In the bowl of a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the olive oil, caster sugar, eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon extract. Beat on medium-high speed until the mixture grows lighter in color and becomes silky, about 3 minutes. (Alternatively, place the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix with a hand-held electric mixer.)
If using a stand mixer, remove the bowl from the mixer. Add half of the flour mixture and use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to gently fold in the dry ingredients. It’s okay for some streaks of flour to remain. Add the ricotta and gently fold it in until blended. Fold in the rest of the flour mixture. Give the batter a very gentle stir until all the ingredients are just combined and some small lumps of ricotta remain intact in the batter. The batter should be the consistency of thick paste, not soft and runny.
Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan. Smooth the surface with a spatula and tap the pan firmly on the counter a few times to settle the batter into the pan. Place in the preheated oven and bake until the cake is golden and cracked on top, 50-55 minutes. Remove from the oven and set the pan on a rack. Let the cake rest in the pan for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan and allowing it to cool completely on the rack.
When the cake is cool, scoop the confectioners’ sugar into a small mesh strainer. Hold it about 10 inches above the cake and lightly tap the strainer to dust the cake with confectioners sugar. Slice and serve. Best the day it's made.