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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!
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 Cheesecake, Burnt Basque Cheesecake, or my No-Bake Cheesecake.
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!