Ricotta Calvados Cake

May  7, 2018
14 Ratings
Photo by Posie Harwood
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Makes two 8" layers or one 9" x 13" cake
Author Notes

This is a riff on an old Italian recipe—some sleuthing brought me to this recipe, which is common among Italian bakers, and is nothing more than a ricotta cheesecake mixture spooned over a yellow cake mix base, which creates a neat soft texture inside the delicate yellow cake. I've updated it to use a from-scratch cake and added Calvados (apple brandy) to flavor the ricotta layer. —Posie (Harwood) Brien

What You'll Need
  • For the cake batter
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • For the cheesecake batter
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Calvados
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 8" round cake pans with parchment and grease the pans, or use a 13" x 9" cake pan.
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or fork until it's in small lumps, the size of peas or smaller.
  3. Add the milk, eggs, oil, vanilla, and almond extract (if using) and mix until incorporated but don't overmix. Pour the batter into your prepared pans (or pan).
  4. Mix together the ricotta, eggs, sugar, and Calvados until smooth. Spoon the ricotta mixture over the cake batter and smooth it into an even layer.
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a sharp knife or toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before slicing.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Franca
  • Marina D Polak
    Marina D Polak
  • Hina Khokhar
    Hina Khokhar
  • Ted Stewart
    Ted Stewart
  • Angela Di Giacomo
    Angela Di Giacomo

25 Reviews

Franca March 22, 2021
I did cut down on the sugar, I added lemon verbena, lemon, lime, and grapefruit zest. I didn't have Calvados, so I used a mix of Strega, an herb liqueur from Italy, and brandy. All in all this cake was lovely. A nice it of spring after a long winter.
Marina D. December 10, 2018
Made it twice and loved it. Now the question - I have always made it in the rectangular pan. The question is - it says use two round pans - then you put the finished product one on top of the other? Or just have two cakes? Thank you!
Marina D. December 10, 2018
Made it twice and loved it. Now the question - I have always made it in the rectangular pan. The question is - it says use two round pans - then you put the finished product one on top of the other? Or just have two cakes? Thank you.
Posie (. December 10, 2018
You just have 2 cakes!
Hina K. September 17, 2018
I’m a big fan of light fluffy cakes. Would cake flour be out of the question?
Posie (. September 17, 2018
I think it’ll work!
Ted S. August 31, 2018
Wow! Incredibly good. Substituted Grand Marnier for the Calvados. Ate 3 slices as soon as it came out of oven. Would save just the cake part of the recipe for my go-to yellow cake in the future. Definitely saving/making again.
Nan G. August 6, 2018
We loved this.
Used orange liquor plus real vanilla extract.
It never had a chance to get taken out of the pan.
We just cut it up inside the pan and slid pieces out til it was all gone.
Definitely doing it again.
Luke M. July 28, 2018
One trick that I learned in culinary school was to sprinkle the top of a delicate layer with sugar before turning it out. This way the top of the cake can be turned out and right-sided without messing up the top. we used this technique for turning out French cheesecakes which we baked in regular cake pans. Hope this helps.
California B. June 20, 2018
Very kind of you to reply so promptly -- thanks, Posie
California B. June 20, 2018
Should the finished cake be refrigerated? Thanks for taking my question.
Posie (. June 20, 2018
I wouldn’t unless you aren’t eating it for at least a day! Otherwise just leave it covered at room temp.
Yarrow F. June 16, 2018
Just made this cake and yes - I used the box mix version. It was wonderful! Added some almond extract to the riccota layer instead of the cake as I used the mix. Also cut up strawberries for the top. It was delicious! Will try the from scratch version when I have a little more time.
Margaret G. June 15, 2018
Can this cake be frozen?
Posie (. June 15, 2018
pvanhagenlcsw June 15, 2018

It is not often I can make a delicious cake to give to a friend and have an extra for us to enjoy. No Calvados here so I used lemon zest in the cake batter and limoncello in the ricotta topping. I also used a parchment lining for the pan with a significant overhang so I could easily remove the cooled cake from the pan. I did not trust myself to flip the cake as Posie did. Lovely dessert and keeps well for slow enjoyment.
food52fan June 15, 2018
Saw this recipe in my email and immediately clicked on it to get the details. My heart sank when I read the backstory about using boxed cake mix and right away I started wondering if I could use it with a homemade base. Kept reading and to my happy surprise that is exactly the modification made by Posie! I cannot wait to try this and will run out today to purchase the ricotta. Thanks for taking the guesswork out and providing the cake recipe!
Angela D. June 11, 2018
Can this be made in one spring form pan? If yes, how to adjust baking time/heat?
Posie (. June 11, 2018
Yep that should work, and I don't think you'd need to adjust the heat or time, but keep an eye on it and take it out as soon as the top looks set but still slightly jiggly in the center.
Angela D. June 13, 2018
Unfortunately it did not work. The cake is still just straight batter in the middle while the tip is a beautiful golden brown. No idea how to fix this. :(
food52fan June 15, 2018
Angela, Thank you for reporting back with your results! I would have tried the springform pan but now know to stick with the two rounds. I hope you were able to save your cake!
Adrienne June 15, 2018
Two springform pans instead of one, Angela?
Catherine June 7, 2018
This looks amazing! Before I try it, how do you get it out of the pan without damaging the top? I usually flip my cakes over to get them out. Can’t wait to try it!
Posie (. June 7, 2018
I just loosen it and reeeealllly carefully flip it, then flip it right back over. The top is sturdier than it looks! You can also serve it straight from the pan. Hope you love it!
FrugalCat June 6, 2018
Also good made with lemoncello.