Lemon, Ricotta & Almond Cake (gluten-free)


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We have just had a Bank Holiday weekend in London and i shouldn’t reallyyyy be surprised but it rained the whole day… perfect excuse to hang around in the kitchen! I don’t usually need an excuse but we have had a really wonderful summer and it’s sometimes hard to justify or even withstand being inside for hours on a warm sunny day.

Today however was a great opportunity to stay indoors and have some fun styling and spoon licking with Daniel, who in case you didn”t know yet is my favourite person, boyfriend and photographer!

This cake is really light and fresh with only a subtle hint of lemon. Even if you are a chocolate before lemons kinda person, served with yoghurt, cream or ice cream it’s hard not to enjoy this cake!

A few tips…
Tip 1 – Make sure your butter is soft to begin with. Take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you start the recipe because getting that butter and sugar fluffy in the first step is crucial to cake success !

Tip 2 – Don’t be impatient. The first step does need the suggested amount of time and make sure you continue to stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl down for even mixing.

Tip 3 – When baking always make sure your eggs are at room temperature ! And separate each egg separately then transfer into 2 different bowls. This way if you accidentally get some yolk into your whites you will only have to sacrifice that one egg and not the others you cracked before it. If there is yolk in your whites, you’ll have to start again..

Photos by my little prince, Daniel Nadel!



Recipe adapted from Donna Hay.

What you’ll need:

  • 20cm diameter spring form cake tin (if you don’t have this size don’t worry, you might just need to adapt the cooking time. If it’s larger, the cake will need less time in the oven and if it’s smaller the cake will need to cook for longer, just keep your eye on it. If you don’t have a spring form, don’t worry either ! Just make sure you line the base and sides with baking paper)


  • 120g unsalted butter, cubed (soft but NOT melted!!)
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence or 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • Grated lemon zest from 3 lemons
  • 4 eggs at room temperature, separated
  • 240g almond meal
  • 300g ricotta
  • 60g flaked almonds to decorate (you can add as many or little as you want really)
  • icing sugar to decorate


  1. Preheat the oven to 160˚C if you have a fan forced oven or 180˚C for a conventional oven
  2. Line the bottom of your cake tin with paper and then simply butter the sides. To do this, trace the circle of your cake tin onto some baking paper, cut it out and place it in the tin. To butter the sides, just take a slither of butter in your fingers and rub it along cake ring, or you could melt some butter and use a brush to apply it to the cake ring.
  3. Place the soft butter, 165g of the sugar, vanilla and lemon zest into the bowl and an electric mixer and beat for 8-10 minutes or until the mixture is pale and fluffy, every now and again stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl for even beating.
  4. Once the batter is fluffy gradually add the egg yolks one at a time until well combined, then add in the almond meal and continue to beat until combined.
  5. Gently fold in the ricotta
  6. Get yourself a clean bowl and a hand held mixer a and begin to beat the egg whites until they reach soft peaks. Alternatively you could clean the whisk attachment you just used on the almond meal mixture and continue to use your electric mixer/kitchen aid. Just make sure the whisk has been properly cleaned and dried!
  7. Once you have reached soft peaks add the remaining sugar gradually, waiting for the mixture to combine each time before adding more until your egg whites have reached stiff peaks.  You know it’s ready when you can turn the bowl upside down without the mixture falling out. It should be glossy and smooth!
  8. Gently fold a third of your egg white mixture into the almond mixture. Repeat with the rest of the egg whites
  9. Pour the mixture into your prepared tin and smooth down gently with a palette knife. Sprinkle over the flaked almonds and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until cooked and the cake is firm to touch and the top is a light golden brown. You can test if your cake is cooked by inserting a skewer into the centre – if it comes out clean your cake is done! If the top of your cake is browning too quickly and the inside is still wobbly, cover it with foil for the remainder of the cooking time.
  10. Allow the cake to cool in the tin before removing. Dust with icing sugar and serve with yogurt, cream or ice cream!


The Friday Baker. Xx

  • Posted

    26 August, 2014
  • Serves

  • Preparation

    30 minutes
  • Cooking

    45 minutes


  • Vicky 30 November, 2014 at 7:39 AM

    Have just made this and it is fabulous! Thanks x

  • Stephanie Alexandra 7 April, 2015 at 9:06 PM

    Oh so happy to hear that! Apologies for the delayed reply. Glad you enjoyed the recipe! x

  • Lindy 29 September, 2017 at 8:35 PM

    Hi there. How was this recipe adapted from the Donna Hay recipe?

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