Every year, my daughter’s school takes a field trip to a local farm.
When the trip lands during strawberry season, the kids get to pick berries. But first, the farmers teach them about fruit and vegetable classification. The kids learn a lot.
So do us parents who accompany them.
Last field trip, I was surprised to discover a few things in particular:
- Pineapples are succulents.
- There are more than 3,000 varieties of pears.
- To be classified as a berry, a fruit must have seeds on the inside.
This last point means that strawberries and raspberries are not, botanically speaking, berries. It also means that citrus fruits, like lemons and oranges, are berries.
(I’m still confused as to where limes fit in with the berry classification: limes are citrus fruit, but they don’t have seeds…)
The ricotta cake recipe I share today is moist and sweet. It’s great for dessert, breakfast, or brunch. Best of all, it’s the perfect base for just about any type of fruit.
So far, I’ve made this ricotta cake with pears, and I’ve made it with blueberries. I can’t choose a favorite, it’s delicious both ways.
(And, in case you were wondering, blueberries are a true berry.)
Make this Ricotta Cake!
If I branch out, I’ll probably make this cake with amarena cherries next. (Ricotta and amarena cherries is one of my favorite combinations.)
Make this cake with pears, make it with blueberries. Or use a fruit you’ve got on hand.
Whatever you choose, it’ll be delicious.
A Few Things
Ricotta is the secret to this cake’s moist crumb. Because of the ricotta, be sure to store this cake in the refrigerator. It’s best if eaten within two days.
If you make this cake with pears, I recommend arranging the pear slices on top of the cake batter after you’ve poured the batter into the cake pans. (This recipe makes two 9 inch round cakes [aff. link].)
If you make this ricotta cake with blueberries, mix a little flour into the berries before adding them to the cake batter, as per the recipe instructions. The flour will help keep all the berries from falling to the bottom of the cake during baking.
Ricotta Cake with Blueberries (or Pear)
For the wet ingredients:
- ⅓ cup oil
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1 cup ricotta
- 1 tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed (substitute with lime juice if using pears instead of blueberries)
- ½ tsp lemon zest, (substitute with lime zest if using pears instead of blueberries)
- ¼ cup almond milk
For the dry ingredients:
- 1 ½ cup flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
For the fruit:
- 1 cup blueberries, (or 2 pears, peeled and thinly sliced)
- 2 tsp flour, omit if using pears instead of blueberries
Prepare the fruit
- If using blueberries: wash and dry the blueberries. Add them to a small mixing bowl, then sprinkle the 2 tsp flour on top. With your hands or a spoon, gently mix the flour into the blueberries so they are evenly coated with flour. Set aside.
- If using pears: peel, core, and slice the pears.
Mix the wet ingredients
- To a large mixing bowl, add the oil and sugar. Whisk until completely combined.
- Now add the egg and vanilla extract. Whisk again until everything is completely combined, then stir in the ricotta, lemon juice, lemon zest, and almond milk.
Add the dry ingredients
- Now add the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder to the mixing bowl. Stir until just combined.
- If using blueberries, gently fold the blueberries into the cake batter.
Bake the cakes
- Divide the cake batter evenly between two 9 inch round metal cake pans.
- If using pears, now’s the time to arrange them on the top of each cake. (I arrange the pears in concentric circles on top of each cake.)
- Bake the cakes for 30-35 minutes, until the cake top is springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cake comes out mostly clean.
Serve and enjoy
- Let the cakes cook for 15 minutes before slicing. These ricotta cakes are great for breakfast, brunch, or dessert.
How interesting! I knew that watermelons and tomstoes are classified as berries, but it never occurred to me that strawberries or citrus fruit might not be what we’ve considered them for years! Go figure lol.
Anyway, I love a good ricotta cake for its nice – moist, light, and crumbly texture. I normally go with lemon or orange zest, but the addition of blueberries or pears sounds delicious too!
Thanks Ben! It’s so interesting to learn how fruits and veggies are botanically classed. Often it’s very different than we assume!
This was so good! I made it with blueberries and took it to work. Glad the recipe makes two cakes, they were both gone in minutes!
That’s great to hear, thanks for making this recipe Danica! I’m so glad it was a hit at work!
Pineapples are succulents!? Wow, check off that “learn something new today” box. 🙂 I keep saying I want to bake with pears more often. Robbie loves (!) pears, and he eats them like apples…no need to peel ’em or anything. I bet he’d go crazy over a cake like this! And good to hang on to this recipe for berry season, too – it’s coming up soon!
Haha thanks David! Learning that pineapples are succulents was such a surprise to me as well. 😄 That’s great that Robbie loves pears, what a sophisticated palate he has already!
I’ve never had a ricotta cake! It sounds delicious! Blueberries or pears – they both sound fantastic!
Thanks Jeff! Definitely try ricotta cake soon, you’ll love it!