Orange Ricotta Cake Recipe with Easy Buttercream Icing

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This orange ricotta cake is hands down the easiest and best cake recipe. It’s made in one bowl with fresh orange zest for a citrus flavor. The richness of the ricotta and butter delivers a moist, melt-in-your-mouth texture with every bite. I add a hint of zesty orange and a creamy, easy orange icing to top it all off.

Ricotta cake with orange zest and orange icing.

When I took my first bite of this cake, I repeated many times, this is one the best cakes I’ve ever made. It’s incredibly moist, has the most incredible orange and creamy flavor, and is easy to make!

It’s now become a staple in my household. The first time I made it, my entire family devoured it within minutes. My kids don’t even like cake! They prefer ice cream and cookies, so I knew this recipe was a hit for them to ask for more. 

Curious to see if it was universally appealing, I walked a few slices over to my neighbors. She ate the entire slice in less than 5 minutes, and as we were raving about it, out came her kids, who also ate it in a matter of minutes! 

You will love this cake, and it’s perfect to serve any time of the year, which I love. I like to serve it for birthday parties, garden parties, tea parties, or even fall harvest parties! Serve it with fresh berries or a fruit platter for the ultimate dessert.

Try my ricotta cheesecake, lemon ricotta pancakes, cookies, and whipped ricotta dip.

Easy, super moist ricotta cake with orange slices and orange icing over the top.

Why You Should Make This Cake

  1. One Bowl: This is a simple cake, requiring just one bowl and no electric mixer. Perfect for when you’re short on time but still want to impress.
  2. Exceptional Texture: The ricotta provides a unique, moist texture that sets this cake apart from other desserts.
  3. Versatile Flavor: While the orange zest has a refreshing twist, you can easily swap it for fresh lemon zest to create a variation of lemon ricotta cake.
Ricotta, flour, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla extract, orange zest, baking powder and salt in small bowls.

Ingredient List

  • Unsalted Butter: Adds richness and moisture to the cake.
  • Ricotta: The star ingredient, providing a creamy texture. Use full fat ricotta.
  • Granulated Sugar: Use pure white sugar for this recipe.
  • Eggs: Binding agent that adds structure. Use organic eggs when possible.
  • Orange Zest: Infuses the cake with a fresh, citrusy flavor.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract: Enhances the overall flavor profile; you can also use a vanilla bean.
  • All-Purpose Flour: The base of our cake, giving it substance. I like King Arthur flour.
  • Baking Powder: Helps the cake rise; make sure you check the expiration date.
  • Kosher Salt: Balances the sweetness and enhances flavors.
  • Buttercream Icing: This is made in one bowl with butter, fresh orange juice, orange zest, half and half (or whole milk), powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. It adds a creamy finish to the cake. It only requires a whisk, no special equipment! 
Slice of moist orange ricotta cake with a bite taken out.

Recipe Tips and Variations

Lemon Ricotta Cake: For a refreshing lemon variation, replace the orange zest and juice with lemon zest and juice.

Gluten-Free Option: To make this cake gluten-free, substitute the all-purpose flour with a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend.

Making a Layered Cake: This recipe is designed for a single 8×8 or 9×9-inch cake. Double the recipe and divide the batter into separate pans to make a layered cake.

Slice of cake with ricotta and orange.

How to Store

If I’m being honest, this cake is best eaten the day it’s baked. It’s fresh, moist, and tastes so good. I tried it one day later and noticed a difference in the texture. If you have to store it, here’s how:

Cover your ricotta cake tightly with plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container to keep it fresh. It can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days.

If you prefer to freeze it, wrap the cake (without icing) in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer-safe container. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving and adding icing.

Frosted ricotta cake with orange slices.

More Cake Recipes You’ll Love 

Let me know if you make this orange ricotta cake recipe by leaving a comment and review below.

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Slice of cake with ricotta and orange.

Orange Ricotta Cake Recipe

An easy, super moist orange ricotta cake with orange buttercream glaze. This recipe is hands down one of the best ricotta cakes and perfect to serve year-round!
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories:
Author: Eden

Ingredients

Ricotta Cake

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, 4 ounces, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp orange zest , grated from 1 medium orange
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Orange Buttercream Icing

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp orange zest
  • 2 tbsp orange juice , fresh squeezed
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream or whole milk, more or less depending on the texture of the frosting.

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch or 9-inch round pan. Then, line the pan with a round piece of parchment paper. Set aside. You can use a springform pan if you'd like. Just make sure to butter the sides well. 
  • Melt butter in a small saucepan or a medium-size microwave-safe bowl for about 50 seconds. 
  • Add the melted butter, sugar, eggs, orange zest, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together until blended. Add the ricotta and stir until incorporated about 30 seconds.
    Melted butter, ricotta, orange zest, eggs and vanilla extract in a bowl.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to the ricotta mixture and fold until the flour is incorporated. 
    Ricotta cake batter with dry ingredients folded in.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with a spatula and hit it against the counter a few times to release bubbles.
    Ricotta batter in a round cake pan.
  •  Place in a preheated oven and bake for 25-35 minutes or until the cake has a small dome in the center, is lightly golden brown, and springs back when lightly touched on the top.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. 
  • Invert onto a cooling rack and let the cake cool completely before adding the icing. If I'm in a bind, I'll place the cake in the freezer for 10 minutes to cool quickly. You can't ice the cake when warm, as the icing will melt off. 
    An inverted ricotta cake on a platter to cool.

Orange Buttercream Icing

  • Melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl or a small saucepan.
  • Add all of the icing ingredients and whisk together until smooth and creamy. It should be easy to spread. If it is too thick, add more cream and whisk.
    Ingredients to make orange buttercream icing.
  • Scoop and spread over the cooled cake. Decorate with orange slices or edible flowers.
    Mixing orange icing in a bowl.
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1 thought on “Orange Ricotta Cake Recipe with Easy Buttercream Icing”

  1. Looks so yummy.
    I might try it in two 6″ pans. the layers would be a bit thin maybe but it would be a cute two layer option.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe

    Reply

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