Lemon Ricotta Cake with Dreamy Vanilla Pastry Cream is a match made in heaven. Citrus infused, moist and delicious ricotta cake and the creamiest vanilla pastry – you just can’t go wrong! This cake is simple and lets the lemon and vanilla really shine.
So January 31st is my birthday, and I wanted this week’s recipe to reflect that. And because the greatest cake in the world actually is a family secret (so sorry!), this is the closest I could get without telling the other recipe.
And let me tell you – it is amazing! I’ve used this sponge cake in countless cakes, with just minor tweaks, because it works like a charm. It’s also easy to just double and make a gigantic cake. I promise you, it looks like a lot, but it’s gone in a flash!
Lemon Ricotta Cake
Preheat your oven to 150C (300F). Grease a round 9 inch (23 cm) cake pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together ricotta, lemon juice and zest, vegetable oil and vanilla extract until a creamy consistency. You can whisk this by hand.
In another bowl, whisk together (hand or stand mixer) eggs and sugar, on medium high speed for about 7 minutes. Add the ricotta mixture into the eggs and whip until just incorporated.
We want a fluffy lemon ricotta cake, right
Sift flour and baking powder into the batter. Be careful here as to not ruin the bubbles of the egg/sugar mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold it in and take it in small portions, maybe around 40 grams, then fold, then 40 new grams. This is a boring and tedious task, but it really does wonder for the end result, which makes it massively worth it. The cake was so fluffy!
Bake the cake for around 90 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. If the cake starts to brown too quickly, either reduce temperature or add aluminum foil on top. A little browning is fine and even wanted! Cool the cake completely before you remove it from the pan. Peel off the parchment paper. If your cake is slightly uneven, just cut it to even it out. If not, leave it as is and using a serrated knife, slice the cake horizontally into 3 layers.
How to Make Vanilla Pastry Cream
Pour the milk, half of the heavy cream and half of the sugar into a saucepan. Cut open and scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean. Place everything into the saucepan. Heat up to the point of boiling, constantly stirring.
In another bowl, whisk together the rest of the heavy cream, egg yolks, cornstarch and the rest of the sugar. Cool the milk mixture a little bit before slowly pouring it into the egg mixture while constantly whisking.
Pour this mixture back into the saucepan, make sure you bring with you the vanilla seeds. Heat the mixture back up, until it is thickening. Remember to stir. Place the saucepan into a tub of cold water to cool, remove the vanilla beans. Cool to lukewarm, but not completely cold.
If you’re Norwegian, or happen to have powder form vanilla sauce, I also have an even easier way of making this vanilla pastry cream. If you follow the vanilla cream option 1 in this Vanilla Custard and Coconut Sweet Buns, it is basically the same as in this cake! The difference is that in this cake it won’t be baked afterwards. And by the way, I super highly definitely recommend trying those sweet buns, because I think those may be my favorite thing in the whole world.
Let’s Layer This Cake!
Take the bottom layer of the cake and pour half of the vanilla cream on top, even it out. Add the next cake layer on top and pour the rest of the vanilla cream on top. Take the last cake layer on top of this. Now it’s ready for some frosting!
Mix powdered sugar, lemon juice, cream cheese and vanilla bean sugar (or vanilla extract), using a handheld mixer or even by hand. Add it to the top of the cake, leaving the sides naked. You may think the frosting is a little too acidic, but that’s the point. It’s going to balance the sweetness of the cake, making a dreamy combination!
Decorate if you wish, but it’s likely gone before you get to think of any!
This lemon ricotta cake tastes amazing with a glass of milk or a cup of tea. It keeps very well for 4-5 days in the refrigerator, maybe even longer. Could also just store in a cold place if you don’t have room in the fridge! Freezes well too.
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I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or tag me @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. And don’t forget to Pin it for later!
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