Friday, February 5, 2021

Ten Years Later: Lemon Ricotta Cake

 "You never knew which split second might be the zig zag bolt dividing

all that went before from the everything that comes next." ~ Barbara Kingsolver


One day last week this little space of mine quietly turned 10 years old. Ten! When I first began writing the recipes and stories for Sweetsugarbean, I had no idea that anything major would come of it aside from a fun creative outlet. I still remember the high I got from all of those early comments. Like, people I didn't know at all were reading my words and making my recipes. What a thrill! I sure as heck didn't really know what I was doing, and when it comes to major technical stuff, I still don't. There hasn't been a flashy design upgrade, but that's ok. This blog made my dreams come true. Right before I sat down to write this post, I was going through the first pass of my second cookbook Vegetables: A Love Story. This is where the designer has arranged my words and photographs into what the book will eventually look like. Talk about a major thrill! There are still some things to be cut for page length (I tend to go on and on!) and a few more photos to add. A proofreader is going to go through it as well just to ensure there aren't any errors. Over the next few weeks I'll go through it too, making sure that everything is how I want it to be. It's so exciting to see my second book baby come to life, and none of that would be possible if it wasn't for this little food blog. I get weepy just thinking of all that would not be if I didn't log in to Blogger a decade ago. I never would have met so many amazing fellow food creatives, or gone on fantastic food adventures, or connected with the Sweetsugarbean community (you guys are the best!), or written two cookbooks. If I've learned anything in my 47 years it's that taking chances is where it's at. Whether you're asking a boy out on a date or moving across the country or closing the door on personal and professional relationships, you'll never know what will happen if you don't try. So thank you for being here, whether you've been reading since 2011 or yesterday. It means so much to have you here, and I hope you'll stick around for another ten years. Who knows what will happen?! 

Every celebration needs cake, and everyone needs a good everyday cake recipe to have in their back pocket - one that does not require much fuss or frosting. The only picky part of this recipe is the springform pan, but any good second hand store has them for little money, or you could borrow one from your neighbour, offering up a slice of cake in gratitude. This cake is incredibly moist with a deep lemon flavour - thanks to the lemon-sugar syrup poured over the cake while it’s still warm. There is cornmeal to add a lively textural contrast, but the cake is still rich enough from the ricotta to feel like a small indulgence. A simple dusting of icing sugar is all you need when you serve the cake, and if you’ve splurged on out of season berries, go ahead and add a few to the plate. I treated myself to roses too, and wouldn't you know it some ended up on the cake. A hot cup of tea alongside is a must, but if you’re sharing this with your Valentine or celebrating a major achievement, toasting with bubbly is not a bad idea either.


Lemon Ricotta Cake

While the cake is perfectly lovely served warm, it should be noted that it makes a smashing breakfast when served with a dollop of vanilla yogurt and fresh berries. 


1 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus more to grease the pan

3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp granulated sugar

1 cup plus 3 Tbsp cornmeal

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tsp lemon zest

2/3 cup ricotta cheese


1/2 cup fresh lemon juice 

1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp granulated sugar

Icing sugar, to serve

Fresh berries, to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and grease the sides with butter. 

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat the butter and sugar until fluffy and pale - about 4 minutes. In a separate bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt.  Beat one third of this into the butter mixture, then add one egg, beat and scrape the sides of bowl.  Alternate adding dry ingredients and remaining eggs, beating all the while. Mix in the lemon juice and zest. Fold in the ricotta cheese. 

3. Scrape the batter into prepared springform pan and bake for about 30 minutes, until the cake is lightly golden and when a skewer is inserted it comes out clean.  Transfer to a wire cooling rack and leave the cake in the tin. Gently poke holes all over the cake using a skewer or toothpick. 

4. To make the syrup: bring the lemon juice and sugar to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn down the heat to medium-low, simmer for 2 minutes then remove from the heat. Carefully pour the syrup over warm cake, being sure to cover cake evenly. 

5. Let the cake cool completely before removing from the tin. Cut the cake into wedges, dust with powdered sugar and serve. Makes about 8 servings.


  1. Wow! 10 years already? I still remember the 1st few steps you took on this crazy adventure.. I proudly boast of you, this blog and your book(s) whenever the chance presents itself and look forward to continuing to do so for the next 10 years and beyond. Lots of love! Candus

    1. Thank you for the sweet words, Candus! I so appreciate all of your love and support when it comes to the blog and the books! Love you!


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