This Cherry Ricotta Cake recipe brings together fresh bing cherries and whole milk ricotta for the fluffiest cake ever. We love that this recipe uses up cherries in the fridge and is a great breakfast or dessert.
“This cake is SO GOOD. The ricotta texture + fresh cherries = next level!” –Sarah
We love how moist this cherry cake turns out every time we make it. Of course, you can serve it at a gathering but we are big fans of having desserts for breakfast, so have a slice with a cup of coffee and you won’t regret it.
What is in a cherry ricotta cake?
Our cherry ricotta cake combines fresh cherries, creamy ricotta cheese, all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, eggs, baking powder, vanilla extract, and lemon zest.
The tanginess of the ricotta and the tartness of the cherries bring a delightful contrast to the sweet cake, while the lemon zest adds a subtle citrus undertone that brings all the flavors together.
Ricotta cheese: The true star of the show for this cherry ricotta cake! We used whole milk ricotta cheese because it adds so much moisture and delicious texture! Whole milk ricotta adds so much more richness when baking, where skim milk ricotta cheese tends to be a bit more watery.
Fresh cherries: Can’t skip the cherries in this cherry ricotta cake! We went with fresh pitted cherries cut into either halves or thirds depending on the size of your cherries. Not only do they provide beautiful color to this cake, but the flavor can’t be beaten!
Baking powder: We prefer to use baking powder to baking soda in this cake because the cake batter is a bit moist (thank you, delicious ricotta!) and baking powder helps firm it up a bit while keeping the fluffiness.
Can I use frozen cherries?
Yes, just ensure they are fully thawed and drained before use.
Can I make it ahead of time?
Yes, it can be prepared a day ahead, making it perfect for parties or events.
Do I need to strain my ricotta for ricotta cake?
If you use whole milk ricotta you won’t need to strain the liquid from it! You need to use room temperature ricotta cheese, so if there is any excess liquid after letting it come to room temperature (which may happen if you use skim milk ricotta) just strain the liquid from the cheese.
We did not need to strain our whole milk ricotta cheese for this cake.
Variations + Substitutions
Fruit: Swap out the cherries for blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries. You can also use canned cherries if fresh cherries aren’t in season.
Cheese: If ricotta isn’t available, use cream cheese or cottage cheese, but remember this may slightly alter the taste and texture.
Flavorings: Swap the lemon zest for orange zest for a different citrus twist, or add a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg for warm spice notes.
How to Store Ricotta Cake
Cover the cake and store it in the refrigerator for up to five days. For longer storage, wrap the cake securely in plastic wrap and foil, and freeze it for up to two months. Thaw in the fridge before serving.
Cherry Ricotta Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick baking spray.
- In a medium bowl mix together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.
- Add the butter and sugar to a large mixing bowl and cream the two ingredients together on low speed with an electric hand mixer or standing mixer (about 2-3 minutes).
- Scrape the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula and then add the ricotta cheese to the mixing bowl and mix on low speed for 3-4 minutes or until the three ingredients are combined (it’s ok if there are a few lumps in the mixture).
- Next, add vanilla extract and ½ cup of cherries to the bowl and mix until combined.
- Add one egg at a time to the mixing bowl and mix on low until the eggs are just combined into the cake batter (don’t over mix!).
- Scrape the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula and then slowly add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl and mix until the flour is mixed into the batter.
- Pour the batter into the greased spring form pan and shake the pan back and forth to even the batter out in the pan.
- Evenly spread out the remaining cherry halves over the top of the cake.
- Bake the cake for 45-60 minutes or until the cake is bouncy to the touch.
- Remove from the oven and let the cake cool for 10 minutes and then remove the spring-form pan carefully.
- Dust the top of the cake with the powdered sugar by sifting the sugar onto the top of the cake.