Orange-Ricotta Pound Cake
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Flavored with orange zest and orange liqueur, this ricotta pound cake is incredibly tasty and moist. It is the perfect treat, particularly nice as an afternoon snack with a cup of tea, but it is equally good served for breakfast or brunch or even dessert — so versatile. Everyone raves!
As five of us celebrated a quiet Thanksgiving down here in Virginia, the rest of my family journeyed north to Vermont to the shores of Lake Champlain for a wild gathering with my aunt and uncle.
Upon returning, my mother gave me the full report: Of course, the turkey, which she had prepared, was over-cooked, gross and inedible but roasted Jerusalem artichokes saved the occasion as well as an orange-and-ricotta pound cake that her sister prepared twice during their five-day visit.
I had to make the cake immediately. My mother was right. Flavored with orange zest and orange (or almond) liqueur, this incredibly tasty and moist — thanks to a generous amount of ricotta cheese — pound cake is the perfect treat.
It’s particularly nice as an afternoon snack with a cup of tea, but great with breakfast or after-dinner coffee, too. It also makes a lovely gift, when baked in mini loaf pans (see recipe for notes.)
** Finally, if you love an olive oil cake, I’ve since adapted this recipe to use olive oil in place of butter. It’s also a one-bowl job: One-Bowl Orange-Ricotta Pound Cake **
5 Favorite Quick Breads
- Mrs. Myers’s Best Banana Bread (truly the best)
- Must-Try, Super-Moist Zucchini Bread
- My Mother’s Delicious Pumpkin Bread
- Lemon and Ricotta Pound Cake
- Yotam Ottolenghi’s Lemon-Semolina Cake
Orange-Ricotta Pound Cake
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 1 large loaf or three mini loaves
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
** UPDATE: If you love an olive oil cake, I’ve since adapted this recipe to use olive oil in place of butter. It’s also a one-bowl job: One-Bowl Orange-Ricotta Pound Cake **
- Important: You must use a 9×5-inch loaf pan or 10×5-inch loaf pan or something larger for this recipe, or, two 8×4-inch loaf pans, otherwise the batter may spill over into your oven, and the cake will not bake evenly. If you only have an 8×4-inch loaf pan, I would recommend not filling it higher than 3/4 or even halfway to be safe. You can bake off the remaining batter in smaller pans or you can wait till your first loaf is done; then bake off the remaining batter in your cooled and cleaned loaf pan.
- I often use three mini loaf pans, because this is a great one for gifting.
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more to grease the baking pan
- 1 1/2 cups cake flour or all-purpose
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 orange, zested
- 2 tablespoons amaretto (or Cointreau or Grand Marnier)
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9- or 10 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan (see notes above!) with butter (grease it very well). In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir to blend.
- Using a mixer, cream the butter, ricotta and 1.5 cups granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the machine running, add the eggs 1 at a time. Add the vanilla, zest and alcohol until combined. Add the dry ingredients, a small amount at a time, until just incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan (Note: Do not fill pan higher than 3/4 — save extra batter to bake off in a mini pan or muffin tin … if you fill the pan higher than 3/4 you risk the batter spilling over. See notes above.) and bake until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan, 45 to 60 minutes (about 35 minutes for mini pans). Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 60 minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Italian/American
Keywords: orange, ricotta, pound, cake
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
150 Comments on “Orange-Ricotta Pound Cake”
I just made this orange ricotta loaf and left it in 50 minutes. Let cool and turned over and the entire inside was raw. Will never try again.
Had to throw out. I never made a loaf and had this happen. I have been baking for years. I think the recipe did not have enough flour for three eggs and ricotta. 1-1/2 c of flour is not enough. Terrible I wasted my time and ingredients.
Marion, I hate wasting food, and I am sorry for your troubles … does your oven typically run cool? It sounds as though it just needed more time. Every oven is different; everyone measures flour differently; it sounds as though you could have used more flour and more time.
I just made this cake today, following recipe with exception of using orange juice in place of liquor. It came out fabulous. Just perfect!
I wonder if the folks having problems with raw, undone, etc may have used a wet ricotta. The ricotta I used had been drained and was not wet.
This cake is a keeper. I used a short tube pan and it raised just perfectly.
So happy to hear this, Karen! And I think you may be on to something with the ricotta. Also, just FYI, I made an updated version of this just before the holidays. It’s one bowl: One-Bowl Orange-Ricotta Pound Cake
Who pulls a cake out of the oven without testing it for doneness first? You can’t think every oven is the same. And I’ll bet you your oven does not bake at the temp it advertises. Most don’t unless they are brand new.
I’ve made this several times but as muffins for my kiddos- I sub in 1/3 whole wheat flour for some of the regular, 1/3 applesauce for some of the butter butter, reduced to 1c sugar and 1TBsp Cointreau and put sliced almonds on top. They’re a HUGE hit.
Jelly what is Cointreau?
Or anyone can answer.
Orange-flavored liqueur! You can use Grand Marnier in its place or other orange-flavored liqueur.
What temperature with your Thermopen assures success?
It should register about 200ºF.
Lovely aroma while it was baking. The loaf has a golden crust and really nice texture. The flavors are pleasant and I’m looking forward to them becoming more pronounced tomorrow.
I did have to make some minor changes and I have one suggestion.
I only had one cup of ricotta on hand and when I went to the store to get eggs I forgot to get more ricotta. This does not seem to have had any negative effect.
In lieu of Cointreau or Grand Marnier I used a honey flavored liquor that was on hand and added 1/2 tsp orange extract.
I did butter the pan quite well with butter but still had trouble with the loaf sticking. Next time I will spray with cooking spray or butter and flour the pan.
Really a lovely recipe. Thank you!
Followed the recipe exactly. Took it out of the oven after an hour, and the outside of the loaf was brown and crispy. The inside was wet and eggy. Threw it away. Super disappointing.
Sara, I’m sorry to hear this as I truly hate thinking about people wasting ingredients. What type of loaf pan were you using? And what size was it?
Also, this is the updated version of the recipe. It’s easier and better, in my opinion, if you are open to giving it another go: https://alexandracooks.com/2018/12/19/one-bowl-orange-ricotta-pound-cake/
Also overran the 9 x 5 loaf pan – I feel like there’s an error in this recipe somewhere in the creaming process….the taste was very good
Darn! I made another note in the recipe to not fill the pan higher than 3/4. Do you think your batter filled your pan higher than 3/4?
This is AMAZING!!! By far the best cake I have had in years! It was very easy to make and came out perfect. I will be making this again very soon.
So happy to hear this, Sandy!
Halved the recipe & used little cocoa powder. Also reduced the quantity of ricotta cheese. Sprinkled chopped almonds on the top. It’s so delicious.
Check cake temperature before cutting cake. Use toothpick or knife to see if cake is done.
Made this recipe today and everyone loves it! Divided the batter into 2 loaf pans and cooked for about 50 minutes! So delicious!! I’m just curious, in the recipe the sugar says plus 1 tablespoon. What is that for?
So happy to hear this, Deanna! And I have no idea re tablespoon sugar 🙂 It must have been in the original recipe for sprinkling over top before baking, but I’ve never done this … editing now. Thanks!
Delicious cake, very easy to make. I had no problems with cake not being completely cooked through. I used a tube pan in place of loaf pans, baked for 45 minutes @ 350. I did use a dry homemade Ricotta. My son who is a chef just loved this cake. Will be making again.
So happy to hear this, Linda!
Tried out this recipe first to see if my sister would like it. I added 1/4 tsp of lemon zest on top with dusting of powdered sugar.
Turned out fantastic!
Guess what she’s getting for her birthday!
Wonderful to hear this, Michelle!
This pound cake is DELICIOUS! One of my new favorites! I made it for the first time just a week ago and there’s another one in the oven as I’m typing this. I followed the recipe exactly and it turned out so moist and flavorful. I baked it until a thermometer stuck through the middle registered 200 degrees F. It took a little longer than an hour (probably around 75 minutes or so) in my oven, but once it was cooled and cut for eating it was perfectly cooked throughout. I was worried about the crust getting too dark around the edges, but it didn’t dry out the cake and the crust was actually buttery and delicious. Thank you for yet another incredible recipe, Ali!
So great to hear this, Sara! I’m going to make some notes in the recipe regarding timing. A thermometer is such a great tool for testing cake doneness. Thanks so much for writing 💕💕💕
Can you freeze this cake?
I love this recipe and, as you mentioned, often make 3 mini loaves. Would it also work in a 9” round cake pan? Should I also line the bottom with parchment?
Wonderful to hear this, Debbie!
I think it would. I definitely would line the bottom with parchment, and I would probably shorten the baking time, though I can’t say for sure because I’ve never tried. It may take just as long, but I would start checking after 40 minutes or so.
Honestly, this is the BEST pound cake I’ve ever had!! I’ve been sharing it with everyone i know. Bake this! you will not regret it!
Wonderful to hear this, Alex!
This is one of the best cake recipes I have ever made. I used “Chambord” raspberry liqueur instead of orange. I also tripled the amount of orange zest. I made it in a 10-inch springform pan lined with parchment paper. Once completely cooled, I dusted powdered sugar on it. It was perfect. It would be great as a layer cake too. I think next time I will put fresh raspberries on top.
This all sounds absolutely amazing ZR! Can’t wait to try it in a springform pan 💕💕💕
I saw the comment about not being cooked. It happened to me too the first time I tried it. I didn’t give up because the recipe sounds amazing so I used a bundt pan instead and came out really well. Cooked perfectly inside. And best of all it taste amazing!
Wonderful to hear this, Alma!
Can you freeze this cake???
Or else I have too much ricotta. Or is it ok to freeze ricotta???
Wait your reply
Yes, you can freeze it!
I followed the recipe to a T with the exception of the alcohol just because I didn’t have any orange Lacore. In its place I used orange juice and it turned out absolutely perfect was a big hit with my family.
Wonderful to hear this, Nanette! Thanks for writing and sharing your notes 💕
Amazing we can use this recipe for a wedding cake 3 tiar
Yes, absolutely! Go for it 🎉🎉🎉🎉
This was really delicious. I used old fashioned butter. I have been making your lemon ricotta pound cake for years, but I wanted to mix it up.
Great to hear Elisa! Thanks for writing and nice work mixing it up 🙂
I made a lasagna and had exactly 1 -1/2 c. of ricotta cheese left. Just the amount needed to make this recipe. The little breads I made were perfectly moist, delicious and so easy to throw together. The nice thing about this recipe is I had one for us and 2 to give away.
Thanks for sharing!
Wonderful to hear this, Lucy! Thanks so much for writing. You should always make lasagna and orange-ricotta pound cake together from now on 🙂
This pound cake was SO good. I have made a couple of times and passed along the recipe to friends as well! I do highly recommend using very fresh oranges for the peel as it enhances the flavor profile 🙂
Wonderful to hear, Paige! Thanks so much for writing 🙂
Absolutely love this recipe thank you so moist!
Wonderful to hear this, Heidi!
I made this just now on a rainy day on Lamb Island off the coast of Queensland Australia. So perfect. Had it with Turkish apple tea.
Used the proper dry ricotta, and blood orange Cointreau.
Absolutely no problems with ingredients or baking time.
I did line my loaf tins with baking paper. (Parchment paper in America).
Wonderful to hear this, Sandra! Turkish apple tea sounds lovely, as does Lamb Island … I’m dying to travel 🙂 🙂 🙂
Made 2 loaves out of this recipe and it turned out moist and delicious 😋 and I used my homemade ricotta! thanks for the recipe!
Wonderful to hear this Linda! Thanks so much for writing 🙂
I just have a question. What do do if you don’t use alcohol at all?
You can use fresh orange juice in place of the Grand Marnier. It works beautifully!
Thank you so much! I can’t wait to try this!
Looks yummy and Im planning to try this recipe, but unfortunately ricotta cheese is not readily available in our location. Can I possibly replace ricotta with cream cheese? Thank you.
Hi Jackie! Cream cheese might work. Could you get sour cream?
I made this recipe tonight. I had all the ingredients except the liqueur but used orange juice instead. It was easy to prepare and it came out light and fluffy and was so good.
Wonderful to hear this! Thanks so much for writing 🙂
I made your Orange-Ricotta Pound Cake this morning in mini loaf pans. I followed the recipe exactly, baked them for 45 minutes and they turned out exactly like your photos! I wish I could post a photo – they’re so pretty! Cooling now, can’t wait to taste 🙂
So great to hear this, Dee! Thanks so much for writing. Hope you loved the taste as much as how they looked 💕💕💕💕
This pound cake is delicious, tender and moist with a subtle orange flavor. I shared mini loaves with my daughter and a friend, and they loved it, too. This recipe is definitely a keeper!
So great to hear this, Dee 🙂 🙂 🙂 Thanks so much for writing 💕💕💕💕💕