This One-Bowl Iced Lemon Ricotta Loaf Cake is perfect for brightening up your mornings and an ideal snack or dessert. It’s tasty, moist and not overly sweet, since the lemon and ricotta cheese balance the sugar. It’s covered with a simple lemon glaze that provides extra texture and colour. And it couldn’t be easier to make, it’s all done in one bowl with a simple whisk. I promise you it’s to die for!
Spring is around the corner and I don’t know about you, but lemon is something that I always associate with this season when it comes to sponge cakes (although tbh, I make lemon desserts and enjoy them all year round, it’s a flavour that I love). So… I decided to prepare a lemon sponge cake adapting an orange sponge cake recipe that I made a long time ago (I have it on IG but I haven’t had time to upload it on the blog yet).
I think the special thing about today’s cake is not so much the flavour, but the texture and moisture. And this is thanks to the ricotta cheese. Ricotta works so well in this lemon loaf cake recipe!
Some Notes on This One Bowl Iced Lemon Ricotta Loaf Cake
It’s a really easy lemon loaf cake – as you know, one of my goals with Paula’s Apron is to make food recipes uncomplicated and as simple as they could be -, but I always like to share with you a little about the ingredients so that you know the reason why behind the details (especially in baking, where everything is much more “scientific”).
- Eggs: they have to be large eggs. The amount of egg affects the texture, so more or less egg influences the result.
- Ricotta (or Requesón or Mató, which are the Spanish and Catalan equivalents): this is what gives so much moisture to this loaf cake.
- Lemon: I use both its juice and the zest to maximize the lemon flavour of the loaf cake.
- Sunflower oil: it is the one I use in this recipe for its mild flavor, since I want the lemon flavour to shine. A light olive oil could also be used.
- Sugar: granulated white sugar. I haven’t tried it with another type, so I can’t recommend substitutions.
- Salt: I usually add a little bit in sweets to enhance all the flavours.
- Flour: all-purpose or plain wheat flour, or tritordeum flour also works great. If you haven’t tried it, it’s a good recipe to try it in.
- Baking powder: you’ll see that the recipe calls for a couple of teaspoons and a half (a lot compared to other classic sponge cake recipes). This is because the ricotta makes the batter quite heavy, so we need an extra push to help the dough rise.
The lemon glaze adds a touch of texture and colour to the cake. Texture because when it hardens it’s like a thin crust that contrasts with the soft crumb of the cake. And colour because that white contrasts with the yellow and brown. Also, you can decorate it with extra lemon zest, which in addition to making it prettier and tastier, it gives a hint about the flavour of the cake.
That said, this lemon glaze is totally optional. At home, when I make it for breakfast for example, I don’t cover the loaf cake with it. On the other hand, if I have to take it somewhere or have guests, I do add it to make it a tad prettier. I have to confess though that my favourite part is the crumb.
Important note! When you make the icing, start with just 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and then adjust the texture drop by drop. We are looking for a texture that is like a sort of liquidy toothpaste but still kind of thick. If it’s too liquid, maybe you think it looks good in the bowl, but then when you pour it on top of the cake it’s too runny and doesn’t ice the cake at all. And why do I suggest adjusting the texture drop by drop? Because the texture changes a lot with just a bit more liquid, so adding lemon juice little by little is the best way to control it.
Why Should I Zest the Lemon Directly On the Batter?
When you zest the lemon skin, essential oils are released, which is what has all the lemon aroma. If we zest on a separate bowl, when we then transfer the zest to the batter, some of the oils will stay in the first bowl and will be lost. If you want to prep all the ingredients in advance, what I do is zest the lemon on top of the bowl where I have measured the sugar, so that the zest falls directly on top of the sugar and all the aromas are preserved.
How to Store this Ricotta Loaf Cake
Once cool, store the cake – preferably not sliced – in an airtight container. If you don’t have any on hand, the other option is to wrap it well in plastic wrap. Unfortunately, as of today beeswax paper or parchment paper don’t work as well for me in this case. If you know of alternatives to plastic wrap in order to wrap cakes and keep them fresh, I would love if you could leave me a comment below.
It lasts moist for 5 days, it’s the longest I’ve ever tried, but a cake lasting 5 days I think is already incredible!
My whole family and best friends are in love with this lemon ricotta loaf cake recipe! No joke, I’ve baked 4 loaves in 10 days trying to record the video recipe, as it has been super rainy and I was hoping to get some sunshine at some point, so I had to have a loaf ready for the moment (I had to film the icing part to finish it). My partner and I didn’t eat the 4 loaves on our own, since well… Even if we would have loved to do so, everything is about balance right XD?
That said, I really encourage you to try this recipe, because in addition to being super easy, this Lemon Ricotta Loaf Cake has the best flavour and texture and is good all year round on top of all the spring vibes.
More Sweet Recipes with a Spring Vibe
If you make this One-Bowl Iced Lemon Ricotta Loaf Cake recipe, be sure to leave a comment and rate it. Hearing from you is everything! Oh, and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram, I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking!
One-bowl Iced lemon ricotta loaf cake
- 1 loaf tin 23 x 13 x 8 cm
- 3 large eggs - at room temperature
- 250 g Ricotta - or any whey cheese you love. I use Mató or Requesón too, which are traditional in Catalonia and Spain. See notes.
- 180 ml sunflower oil - or light olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 250 g granulated sugar
- tsp salt
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 190 g plain flour
- 150 g icing sugar
- 2-3 tbsp lemon juice
- Lemon zest - optional
- Preheat the oven to 170ºC no fan (160ºC with fan), and grease the loaf tin.
- In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and ricotta until blended with a hand whisk (no electrical device is needed). Add the oil and lemon juice and whisk again until combined. Then add the sugar, salt and lemon zest (it is preferable that you zest the lemon directly on top of the batter to preserve all the aroma) and whisk again. Finally, sift in the flour with the baking powder and stir until you no longer see it.
- Pour the batter into the pan and bake for approximately 65 minutes. Take a look at it after 50 minutes, but don’t open the oven before so the cake doesn’t deflate. Remove from the oven when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and the cake should boune back when you press gently on the centre.
- Let it cool for 10 minutes in the pan, turn out onto a rack and let it cool completely.
- When the cake has cooled, prepare the glaze (do not prepare it in advance because it hardens over time and we have to pour it on top of the cake once it is cool so that it hangs better to it). In a bowl start by mixing the icing sugar with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. The mixture has to be like liquidy toothpaste. If you see that it is too thick, add lemon juice drops little by little drops, add a maximum of 3 tablespoons in total. It is better for the glaze to be thick than runny. Optionally you can add lemon zest.
- Ice the cake with the glaze, optionally zest more lemon on top, and let it harden for about 10 minutes. Enjoy!
- Make sure your ricotta is not much colder than the eggs. We need them to be in a similar temperature so they can integrate properly with each other.
Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and tag @paulasapron on Instagram and hashtag it #paulasapron.
Best lemon cake!
Thanks so much Sara once more!! (L) So happy you loved it!!
Esta receta es muy fácil de seguir y el resultado es fenomenal. Cambié un ingrediente y en lugar de limón usé naranja. Me quedó muy rica. Gracias Paula
Gracias a ti María! 🙂 Y con naranja top también! Cuando lo hago con naranja a veces sustituyo el zumo por cointreau por si quieres probar a la próxima (L)
Made the lemon version, everyone loved it. But. Make this with 2 ‘lumps’ of preserved ginger from a jar chopped fine, and with some root ginger grated into the bowl. when the cake is cold, make the glaze as shown but with the syrup from the jar of preserved stem ginger instead of lemon juice. Trust me, it’s superb.
These tweaks do sound superb Gavin! I’m picturing all of those aromas and oooh my. Thanks for the comment and sharing this 🙂