Livia’s Ricotta Cake


Livia’s Ricotta Cake
This ricotta cake from the new book Istria by Paola Bacchia has sweet ricotta dotted with grappa-soaked sultanas and pine nuts, and a hint of citrus throughout. It tastes best when it has cooled completely, and even better the next day, perhaps for breakfast with a cup of espresso.

Serves 16


For the filling:

  • 500 g (2 cups) ricotta, drained
  • 40 g (11/2 oz) self-raising flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons sultanas (golden raisins), soaked in grappa for at least 2 hours, drained
  • 80 g (23/4 oz) sugar
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Zest of 1/2 orange
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

For the batter:

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 100 g (31/2 oz) butter, melted then cooled, plus extra for greasing
  • 100 g (31/2 oz) sugar
  • Zest 1/2 lemon
  • 250 g (12/3 cups) self-raising flour
  • 185 ml (3/4 cup) milk, plus extra if needed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt



  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F) fan-forced. Butter the base and sides of a 24–26 cm (91/2–10 in) square cake tin and line with baking paper.
  2. To make the filling, place the ricotta in a large bowl and mix well with a spoon to remove all lumps. Add the remaining ingredients and mix together until homogenous. Set aside.
  3. Place the batter ingredients in another bowl and mix with a spoon until well combined. The batter should be easily spreadable, so add a bit more milk if needed.
  4. Spoon just under half the batter into the cake tin, spreading it evenly. Spoon all the ricotta filling evenly over the batter, so that it almost touches the edge of the tin, then flatten it with the back of a spoon. Pour on the remaining batter so that it evenly covers the ricotta and fills in the small gap around the inner perimeter of the cake tin. Tap slightly on the bench if needed to even out the cake batter.
  5. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until golden on top and firm to touch.
  6. Allow to cool completely in the cake tin, before inverting to remove.


Smart Tips:

  • The ricotta cake is lovely cold or at room temperature, and will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for about 3 days.
  • This cake tastes much better when it has cooled completely, and even better the next day, perhaps for breakfast with a cup of espresso.
  • Some who have made this cake have substituted the sultanas for chocolate chips, which, if you love chocolate, would also work well.


This recipe is extracted from Istria by Paola Bacchia. Published by Smith Street Books. RRP AUD $55.00 / RRP NZD $65.00.


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