Flourless Lemon Ricotta Cake with Almonds

No fresh lemons? No worries. This is a job for lemon extract.

No fresh lemons? No worries. This is a job for lemon extract

Overhead shot of a cake topped with almond slices and drizzled with white icing. It's sitting on a white marble cutting board on a white table. 2 slices are cut from the cake and one slice is sitting on a white plate next to it.
(Photography by Michael Gozum)

This moist and tender, not-too-sweet, cake is made with humble ingredients that just happen to be gluten free. Almond flour gives the cake body and the whipped egg whites provide the lift needed for a pleasant texture. Serve in the afternoon or after dinner, or dare we say, for breakfast with a bit of Greek yogurt and fresh berries. 

Flourless Lemon Ricotta Cake with Almonds

Almond flour and almond meal both work well in this recipe. Almond flour is made from blanched and peeled raw almonds, and has a very pale, unified colour. Almond meal is made from unpeeled raw almonds, which makes a speckle-coloured flour that gives baked goods a darker appearance. You can make your own using a high-power food processor or blender: working in small batches, blitz almonds until a fine dust is achieved (stop before it turns to nut butter). Sift into a container and return any almond bits back to the food processor to re-blitz. Store in the freezer, in an airtight container, for up to three months.

*You can replace the lemon extract with ½ tsp almond extract, or double the amount of vanilla extract. 

**In lieu of a glaze, finish the cake with a light dusting of icing sugar. 


  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 ⅓ cups icing sugar, divided
  • 2 tbsp lemon extract*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs, separated and at room temperature
  • 2 ½ cups almond meal or almond flour
  • 1 ¼ cups whole milk smooth ricotta
  • ½ cup sliced natural almonds


  • ½ cup icing sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp lemon juice or water



Preheat the oven to 325F degrees. Grease a 9-inch springform cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottom of the pan with parchment paper and set aside. 

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter with ⅔ cup icing sugar, and the lemon and vanilla extracts for 5 to 7 minutes or until the mixture turns very pale and creamy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well between each addition. Stir in the almonds meal until no streaks remain. Fold in the ricotta until well combined.

In a separate bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the remaining sugar a spoonful at a time, until mixture holds a stiff peak. Stir one third of the egg white mixture into the batter until smooth. Add remaining egg white mixture and gently fold just until combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the sliced almonds. 

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until the cake is golden around the edges and a tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan, then run a thin knife around the cake to loosen it from the pan. Release and remove the ring, then invert the cake onto a plate and remove the base and parchment paper. Invert again onto a serving plate so the cake is almond side-up. 


Whisk half the icing sugar with lemon juice until smooth. Add the remaining icing sugar, a spoonful at a time, until the glaze is thick but pourable. Drizzle the glaze in a thin stream over the cake, and then let it set, for about 5 minutes. 

Store loosely covered at room temperature for up to 5 days. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or Greek yogurt and fresh berries. 

Yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings 

Sabrina is owner and Chief Culinary Officer of SF Creative Culinary Services, an all-inclusive content marketing agency, based just outside Toronto serving food & beverage brands all over the world. Follow along on Instagram @sf_creativeculinaryservices

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