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Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake


This ricotta-based cake is lighter than traditional cheesecakes. Lemon zest adds brightness to this sweet cake that hits the spot on lazy, summer afternoons.

A few bites of cheesecake normally leaves you feeling overstuffed-- it's one of the heaviest desserts out there. Delicious, but sometimes a little too much. That's why basing the cake with ricotta makes such a difference. Ricotta is lighter and fluffier. It makes for an altogether more refreshing treat.

The addition of lemon zest makes for a tangy, mildly sweet cake that hits the spot on lazy, summer afternoons. All sorts of Italian desserts combine these two ingredients-- ricotta and lemons-- with palette-pleasing results. Make sure to stock up on high-quality ricotta (fresh from the farmer's market is ideal!). It makes all the difference.

Ricotta-based cakes are a staple in bakeries all over Italy. They vary in texture and sweetness. We think this recipe provides just the right balance. It's a great alternative to the sticky, sugar-saturated desserts that populate supermarket shelves. Still, it's got just the right touch of sweetness. Try it out for yourself, and you'll understand why it's so well-loved both in Italy and beyond.

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  • CRUST:
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed vanilla wafers, about 45 wafers
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, grated
  • 2 pounds fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest, grated
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


Servings 1
Adapted from


Step 1

In a small bowl, combine wafer crumbs, butter and lemon zest. Press onto the bottom of a greased 9 1/2-inch springform pan. Bake at 325° F for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, stir ricotta with a rubber spatula until it reaches an extremely smooth consistency. Add the sugar and flour into the ricotta, mixing thoroughly.

Stir in the eggs 1 at a time. Next add in the vanilla, cinnamon, lemon zest, and salt. Mix well. Pour batter into crust.

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