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Ricotta Strawberry Lemon Cake

Yield: 12 slices
Prep Time: 35 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 1 hr
This cake is made up of fluffy ricotta lemon cake layered with fresh strawberries and strawberry buttercream. It's surprisingly simple, bright, and full of delicious summery flavors! *Note: this is a high-altitude recipe. Please see the recipe notes for sea-level instructions.*

Ingredients

Lemon Ricotta Cake

  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 Tbs lemon zest (about 3-4 large lemons)
  • 1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder*
  • 3/4 tsp table salt
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 c neutral oil
  • 1/2 c whole milk

Strawberry Buttercream

  • 1 c unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 c powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 c freeze dried strawberries
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbs whole milk, plus more as needed
  • Pinch of table salt

Assembly

  • 1 c fresh strawberries, sliced
  • Strawberries, lemon slices, etc., for decorating

Equipment

  • 3 6-inch cake pans

Instructions 

Ricotta Lemon Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.* Line the bottoms of 3 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper and grease with baking spray, unsalted butter, or neutral oil.
  • In a large bowl, add the sugar and lemon zest. Use your fingertips to rub the two ingredients together until the lemon sugar is very fragrant and starting to clump together a bit, about 60 seconds.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • Next, add the unsalted butter to the lemon sugar. Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Mix in the eggs one at a time until incorporated. Then, add the vanilla extract, ricotta cheese, and neutral oil and mix until smooth.
  • Add half of the flour mixture followed by half of the milk. Beat just until combined. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Use a rubber spatula to scrape any leftover ingredients at the bottom of a bowl. Do not over-mix!
  • Divide the batter evenly between the three cake pans and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place the cake pans on a sheet pan and pop them in the oven. Bake the cakes for 18-21 minutes, just until an inserted toothpick has a few moist crumbs on it.
  • Let the cakes cool in the pan for a few minutes. Then, flip them onto a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely.

Strawberry Buttercream

  • Place the freeze dried strawberries in a food processor.** Pulse until you have a fine powder. Sift the strawberry powder through a fine mesh sieve to remove any seeds. Discard the seeds and set the strawberry powder aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the butter and half of the powdered sugar. Beat until the mixture is combined, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Mix in the strawberry powder and the remaining powdered sugar until the mixture is smooth.
  • Add the vanilla extract, milk, and salt. If the frosting is too thick, add milk 1 Tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Beat the buttercream until it's light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.

Assemble the cake

  • Use a serrated knife to evenly cut the domes off of the tops of the cakes, if necessary. Spoon about 2 cups of frosting into a piping bag.***
  • Place one cake layer on a plate or cake stand. Spread a thin layer of strawberry buttercream on the top of the cake and then add a layer of strawberry slices. Using the piping bag, pipe a thick layer of frosting around the rim of the cake to create a dam. Top with another cake layer, and gently press down to adhere the cake to the buttercream. Repeat, finishing with the third cake layer.
  • Place a dollop of frosting on top of the third layer of cake and smooth with an offset spatula. To frost the cake, just place the flat edge of a bench scraper or offset spatula parallel against the cake. Gently press while spinning the cake stand/plate to smooth out the frosting. Fill in any gaps with more frosting using an offset spatula. Repeat as many times as necessary until you're happy with how it looks.
  • Decorate the cake as desired. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

*If you live at sea-level, use 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder. Bake the cakes at 350° for 18-22 minutes.
**If you don't have a food processor, you can use a mortar and pestle. Or, you can place the freeze dried strawberries in a zipper bag and crush them with a rolling pin.
***You can use a zipper bag if you do not have a piping bag. Just cut one corner off the bottom of a zipper bag and fill with frosting. Twist it at the top to remove any air and pipe as usual. 
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
Serving: 1slice, Calories: 526kcal, Carbohydrates: 63.9g, Protein: 4.2g, Fat: 28.6g, Saturated Fat: 15.2g, Cholesterol: 94mg, Sodium: 174mg, Potassium: 109mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 48.1g, Calcium: 58mg, Iron: 1mg
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