Olive Oil Ricotta Cake with Plums

September  4, 2013
20 Ratings
Photo by Eric Moran
  • Makes one 9-inch cake
Author Notes

This recipe is adapted from Deb Perelman's The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.

Use perfectly ripe plums when you make this, as they have a way of being honest in this cake -- if they're too firm, you'll notice later. And at the risk of making enemies with Alice Medrich, I will tell you that I've made this without sifting, and no one complained. Sift if you wish, you won't hear from me if you don't. —Kenzi Wilbur

What You'll Need
  • Butter for pan
  • 1 cup fresh, full-fat ricotta
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 9-10 small plums, halved, pitted, and set aside
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or honey
  • Confectioner's sugar, for dusting
  1. Preheat your oven to 350° F, and butter and flour a 9-inch springform.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine and whisk the ricotta, oil, sugar, and zest together. Add one egg, whisk well; add the next, whisk again.
  3. Sift all of the dry ingredients -- save for the confectioner's sugar -- directly over the wet ingredients you just whisked together. Mix with a spoon gently until just combined. (Use more of a folding motion toward the end -- this will help keep the gluten from developing in your batter, which will keep your cake from toughening or becoming too dense.)
  4. Pour the batter into the cake pan, spreading it out evenly as needed. If your plums are very tart, toss them with a tablespoon of sugar or honey, and place them in the top of the cake, cut-side down. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown, the edges are pulling away from the pan, and a cake tester or toothpick comes out of the cake cleanly. (Depending on your oven, this could take up to 45 minutes.) Cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then turn out to finish cooling on a rack.
  5. Dust with confectioner's sugar, and serve slightly warm or at room temperature. This cake wouldn't be opposed to whipped cream or whipped mascarpone, either.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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53 Reviews

Orzo September 2, 2023
Really great, *exactly* as written.
Sunny A. December 26, 2020
So easy to make and so delicious. I will be making this forever!
Lina B. October 4, 2020
I made this cake twice in one weekend and it will be my "go to" recipe in the future. I left the first one too long in the oven (55 minutes) to get a golden top and it came out a little dry but still great. The second one I baked for 45 minutes and put the oven on broil for three minutes to brown the top. The second one was a perfection.
slauricella19 September 17, 2020
Hi! Can I use figs instead of plums?
Rose V. June 17, 2020
Wow what a recipe what a cake one of the best cakes I’ve made over lockdown once out the oven it didn’t last long and was gobbled down by the whole family this definitely goes on my make again list
GimmeLatte July 28, 2019
I have made this cake 4 times. A strikingly lovely presentation. Brought it to potlucks.
Served it to guests. It always gets lots of compliments. Best compliment came from a French woman who loves to bake: “Its sooo French! I don’t suppose you will want to share this recipe?” Going to try it w peaches today.
Kim January 21, 2019
This was delicious and I received many compliments on how good it was. I used pears instead of plums and they were great. Very moist.
Corj December 22, 2018
Made this without plums but with the addition of 1 tsp orange zest. This version will replace Louisa's Cake for me because I had no issues with sinking and undercooking in the middle. Baked in regular cake tin with parchment at bottom, no issues with un-molding when cooled. I also see infinite fruit possibilities but it tasted great plain. Crumb was excellent. Served with whipped cream in which I added some yogurt.
Jamie K. November 8, 2018
instead of plums, it was very nice with sliced persimmons partially inserted and fanned over the entire top :) I used the nine inch pan and it turned out lovely! Did take almost 45 minutes in my oven-try to be patient and get a good lightly golden brown top with it baked through.
brokensaucer September 6, 2018
This is the only cake I ever make anymore. It is so good and I have a plum tree that blesses me with so many plums every year that I have to make this cake multiple times. No one ever complains.
Lauren March 16, 2018
I’m so surprised to hear comments on dryness! This is a go-to cake for me and comes out fantastic every single time. I sub 1/2 cup of almond meal, add a couple tbsp honey, and don’t even add plums. It is so moist it is practically pudding (the almond meal helps give it structure). It never lasts more than a day and if it does, it gets even moister. Love this cake!
Ashley M. October 9, 2017
I love a plum recipe. There's a favorite of mine that is a plum, almond, yogurt cake. So good ( This olive oil-ricotta one was NOT my favorite. Too dry, couldn't taste the ricotta and not nearly enough "plum" throughout (just big blobs on the top). Very pretty but not great taste.
tatiana August 7, 2020
The one you posted has butter while this one uses oil. I suppose more healthy.
Jane H. August 20, 2017
Still cooling down but it smells so amazing. I subbed in blanched almond flour and palm sugar so it came out a bit darker than pic. Can't wait to eat it💜
Josephine August 5, 2017
Moist and delicious, and so easy. Santa Rosa plums worked well, and I added about 1/3 cup of blueberries that needed to be used. A hit!
kaylu October 24, 2016
The batter was very stiff, which had me worried, but overall the cake was great. It was a tad dry, but I think I should have pulled it out of the oven a couple minutes early. I used a cut up very-ripe persimmon instead of plum and I only wish I had added more!
Camilla September 4, 2016
Made the cake and it is delicious, very moist. I added vanilla, a bit of cinnamon a crumble on top just for texture - loved it, thank you
Kenzi W. September 4, 2016
So glad to hear this!
Kathy January 22, 2016
Good morning. Delighted to find a recipe that allows me to use up both my ricotta cheese and prunes today! (It appears that is possible, based on the conversation.) Thanks.
Carolyn V. November 1, 2015
I made this with seckel pears instead, since I missed plum season. It was excellent, although not as colorful as it would have been with plums. I used a 10 inch springform pan with no volume issues and it cooked evenly.
Debbie September 14, 2015
This is the second time I'm making this cake in a's so good everyone in the house requests I make another one as soon as the last piece is gone.
Numfon W. August 31, 2015
I just finish baking this cake this morning. It was really delicious! I wish I can post a picture of my cake. Many thanks for the recipe.