Desserts & Sweets/ Recipes

Cherry Ricotta Cake

Ricotta Cherry Cake / www.quichentell

My birthday cake this year was a homemade Cherry Ricotta Cake. Not a lover of rich frosting, fondant and other forms of coloured sugar decorations, baking a light, egg-rich ricotta cake full of the season’s plumpest cherries, was my way of showing some self-love.

Ricotta Cherry Cake / www.quichentell

Ricotta makes the lightest cakes

A Cherry Ricotta Cake, if you think about it, is a cheesecake; albeit made with a light cheese. Ricotta is similar in flavour and texture to our Indian chchana (chchena) –  a very very soft, moist paneer made by splitting milk, (that has been boiled and cooled a little) with lemon juice. Chchana is creamy yet light and mild in taste. Ricotta is a whey cheese, made by coagulating the milk proteins leftover after making cheese. Almost like a secondary cheese. I used store-bought ricotta (it’s not expensive at all) but I reckon you could very well make chchana at home to bake this cake. This ricotta cake has ricotta and as many as 5 eggs and just a little flour, hence it has a very tender crumb that makes for a light cake. It is baked in a springform pan and once the cake is done, it must be allowed to cool a little in the tin in an open oven before it is carefully unmolded. It may crack if you try to unmold it while it is hot, so keep this in mind. And even if it cracks a little, you can always cover it with shaved chocolate!

How to choose your fresh fruit

The markets are full of stone fruit right now – plums, apricots, peaches and cherries are at their sweetest best. I used ripe, but still firm cherries so that my Cherry Ricotta Cake retained its texture and did not turn into a squishy, wet mess. I just love these juicy beauties with their glossy, deep wine colour. Whether it’s cherries or apricots of peaches, ensure that the fruit is firm and toss them in a little flour before you add them to the batter. This way, they won’t sink to the bottom and won’t leak too much juice. A little juice colouring the crumb is fine, but not so much that the batter remains wet. Keep a few cherries aside to decorate the cake…they’re make the cake look extra pretty.

Ricotta Cherry Cake / www.quichentell

How to whisk egg whites into perfect peaks

  • Keep these few tips in mind when you whisk the egg whites, to ensure that they whip up into perfect snowy peaks in quick time.
  • Fresh egg whites will whip-up faster than not-so-fresh eggs.
  • Make sure your whisk / hand mixer blades/ cake mixer blades are clean, dry and not greasy.
  • Separate your eggs and let the whites come to room temperature while you make the batter. 
  • There should be no trace of yolks in the whites.
  • Use a glass, copper or steel bowl rather than plastic to whisk your egg whites.
  • You can add a tiny pinch of vinegar or cream of tartar to speed up the process. 
  • Whisking whites into peaks takes about 2-3 minutes so be patient. Start at medium speed, when they get all frothy, switch up to high speed till they form stiff but still glossy peaks.

This cake was just the kind of treat I like – light, delicious, not overly sweet and very easy to make at home. I’ll take a flavourful, naked, honest, home-baked cake over sugary confections, any day. This cake keeps for 2-3 days, covered in the fridge. I loved eating it for breakfast (it does have many eggs) accompanied by a tall cup of black coffee while it poured outside. Just how I like my monsoon mornings.

Cherry Ricotta Cake

A light cake dotted with sweet cherries and crunchy walnuts
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 10


  • 100 g fresh cherries, halved and pitted,
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 170 g ricotta cheese, drained of extra moisture
  • 150 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 40 g plain flour
  • 130 g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 30 g walnuts, chopped(optional)
  • 75 g bitter or plain chocolate, coarsely grated (for topping the cake)


  • Preheat the oven to 190℃. Grease and line the base of a 23 cm / 9 in, round, springform cake pan.
  • Set a few cherries aside to top the cake and toss the rest in a little flour.
  • Cream together the butter and most of the sugar in a bowl, till light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat till combined.
  • Now add the ricotta, flour and walnuts, mix together. Gentle mix in the cherries.
  • In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites till they form stiff, glossy peaks. Gently whisk in the remaining sugar.
  • Use a metal spoon to fold some egg white into the batter. Then fold in the rest of the egg whites in slow, gentle strokes, taking care not to deflate the egg whites.
  • Pour the cake batter into the prepared tin and level out the top. Dot with the remaining cherries and bake for 30 minutes till the cake is golden, risen and firm.
  • Leave the cake in the open oven for 10-15 minutes, then place it on to a wire rack for 20 minutes. Turn out the cake on to a plate or cake stand and allow it to cool fully. Sprinkle the grated chocolate curls on top and serve.

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