Italian Ricotta Cake With Plums

4.72 from 7 votes
Italian Ricotta Cake with Plums is a moist, tender cake — and the perfect recipe to use delicious late-summer stone fruit!
A slice of Italian Ricotta Cake With Plums is served on a blue plate next to the entire cake it has been cut out of, with a dollop of whipped cream.

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Hi Bold Bakers!

WHAT YOU GET: My Italian Ricotta Cake is moist, tender, pleasingly dense, scented with lemons and almonds, and flavored with the bright taste of plums.

As we’re entering the last months of summer, I wanted to find a way to use some juicy late summer plums — and this Italian Ricotta Cake turned out to be the perfect answer. This Italian-inspired dessert is my idea of the perfect summer cake! 

The texture of this homemade ricotta cake is unbelievably moist, tender, and dense, thanks to the whipped ricotta. If I had to describe it, I would say it’s like a cheesecake, and a pound cake had a baby. And you can’t beat the flavors; this plum ricotta cake is flavored with a touch of almond extract, juicy and flavorful summer plums, and the zest and juice of a lemon. It avoids feeling too dense because of the brightness of the lemon, and it isn’t overly sweet due to the ricotta.

To me, this plum ricotta cake recipe is truly a class act. It looks just as beautiful as it tastes, with colorful plums baked throughout and just a dusting of powdered sugar. I think making one is a new summer tradition for us! 

A photo of Plum Ricotta Cake taken from above. One slice has been cut out of the cake and served on a blue plate with homemade whipped cream.

Does Ricotta Cake Taste Like Cheese?

If you’ve never baked with ricotta before, you may be feeling a bit suspicious — but ricotta is a wonderful cheese to use in baking! Ricotta is a fresh cheese, which means it hasn’t been pressed or aged and tastes very mild. As for what ricotta tastes like, it is soft and slightly sweet, and since it is so mild, it pairs well with sweet and savory ingredients. 

In this recipe, ricotta does much more for the cake’s texture than the flavor. You won’t taste any cheesiness. 

Can I Substitute Cream Cheese For Ricotta In This Cake?

I’m afraid not — this recipe really depends on the ricotta to get that iconic texture and flavor. 

However, you can make Homemade Ricotta Cheese if you don’t have any on hand! Or, if you do want to use up your cream cheese, try making my New York CheesecakeBurnt Basque Cheesecake, or my No-Bake Cheesecake

A close-up image of Italian Ricotta Cake which shows the baked black plums. It is served with fresh whipped cream. In the background of the photo is the rest of the circular cake.

What Plums Are Best For Baking?

When plums are in season, it’s hard not to eat them as is, but if you’ve ever baked with them before, you know it’s worth the wait! As plums bake down, they take on a wonderful jammy texture that melts in your mouth, and their tart-sweet flavors become even more pronounced. 

But with around 200 varieties of plums (WHAT?), it may be hard to know which ones are the best for baking. When I bake, I typically use black plums, which are a deep, dark purple on the outside and red on the inside. They’re sweeter than the red ones you can find. Black plums are easily found in your local grocery store or farmers’ market. 

The best plums to use for baking are still a little firm, as they’ll hold up nicely in the cake. Pick plums that, when squeezed, give just the slightest amount — don’t use ones that are very, very hard and underripe. 

Tools You Need To Make Italian Ricotta Cake With Plums

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Mixing bowls
  • 9-inch (23-cm) springform pan
  • Stand mixer or handheld electric mixer

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making Plum Ricotta Cake

  • Make sure to whip the ricotta and then the eggs for the full five minutes each to fully aerate this batter. If not, the cake will turn out overly dense.
  • As always with cakes, make sure that all your ingredients are at room temperature for the best results. 
  • Don’t worry if the plums disappear into the cake when baking. They will be just under the surface and still delicious!
  • If you want to use a different fruit, add sliced peaches in the same amount or 1½ cups (7½ oz/213 g) of fresh raspberries or blueberries.
  • This simple cake is lovely on its own but also delicious with a dollop of fresh Homemade Whipped Cream!

Try More Summer Fruit Desserts!

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Italian Ricotta Cake with Plums

4.72 from 7 votes
Italian Ricotta Cake with Plums is a moist, tender cake — and the perfect recipe to use delicious late-summer stone fruit!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 12 people
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Italian Ricotta Cake with Plums is a moist, tender cake — and the perfect recipe to use delicious late-summer stone fruit!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 12 people


  • 2 cups (16 oz/450 g) whole milk ricotta cheese* , at room temperature
  • cups (12 oz/340 g) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (6 oz/170 g) butter, at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • cups (7½ oz/213 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 4 plums, pitted and sliced
  • Powdered sugar, for garnish (optional)


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and butter and line with parchment a 9-inch (23-cm) springform pan. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a medium bowl with a handheld electric mixer, cream sugar and room-temperature butter until light and fluffy. Then add in the ricotta* and beat on medium-high speed for another 2 minutes or so, until well combined and aerated again.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, then add the lemon zest and juice and the almond extract. Beat for another 5 minutes, scraping down the sides occasionally.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt, then fold into the wet ingredients. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.
  • Arrange the plums on top of the cake, covering the whole surface.
  • Bake for about 55 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let cool for 15 minutes in the pan before releasing the sides to let cool completely.
  • Just before serving, garnish with a dusting of powdered sugar, if desired.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Recipe Notes

*Note to use WHOLE /FULL FAT milk ricotta cheese. Strain to remove excess liquid as needed
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1 year ago

I made this cake for a function. It looked beautiful- because I was at a picnic I couldn’t dust it with the powdered sugar. I was hoping there would be a little left to sample it, because I had to substitute dry cottage cheese for the ricotta, because that’s all I had. It disappeared very quickly and everyone Saud it was delicious.

1 year ago

This turned out really tasty. But when I creamed the butter, ricotta and sugar, it wasn’t fluffy at all. It went very liquid straight away and the butter wasn’t getting creamed but more split in lots of tiny bits. I wondered if I should have creamed the butter and sugar first and then added the ricotta? My tin was 20cm and I baked it for 1.5hours and it was still wet in the middle. I had to leave so took it out of the oven. It ended up having a bit of a cheesecake consistency in the middle which was… Read more »

1 year ago

Hi, can cake be frozen please?

1 year ago

Absolutely delicious, tastes even better than it looks 💖 Thank you Gemma

Last edited 1 year ago by Luisa
1 year ago

Hello. Can I substitute pitted dried plums? Thank you

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.


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