One-Bowl, Orange-Ricotta Pound Cake
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Just before Thanksgiving, I decided to make one of my favorite cakes, Giada De Laurentiis’s orange-ricotta pound cake, substituting oil for the butter. It worked beautifully and best of all, the cake materialized in one bowl very quickly.
This made me wonder which other cakes made with butter could be given the same treatment? I haven’t experimented extensively, but I suspect nearly all. I have long loved the flavor and texture of cakes made with oil, olive or otherwise, but I especially love making cakes with olive oil this time of year. Here’s why:
- No need to wait for butter to soften. If you have a microwave, softening butter is likely no big deal. If you don’t, it’s a pain in the rear. This time of year, butter doesn’t soften quickly on the countertop, so other tricks must be employed.
- No need to beat butter. Many cake recipes call for beating butter till it’s light and fluffy. No such instruction is called for with oil-based cakes.
- Speed. Without having to soften butter or beat it, oil-based cakes come together very quickly.
- Texture. This is a personal thing: I prefer (often) the texture of oil-based cakes.
- Longevity. In my experience, cakes made with oil keep longer, which is a boon this time of year, when anything that can be made ahead of time holds strong appeal. Often, too, the flavor of cakes made with oil improves over time.
How to Make One-Bowl Pound Cake
Gather your ingredients:
Add them one by one, as instructed, and whisk to form a batter.
Transfer to a 9×5-inch loaf pan. I love this USA Loaf Pan.
Bake for about an hour or until an instant-read thermometer registers about 200ºF. I love my Thermapen for testing cakes—I tend to underbake cakes and am perpetually disappointed when I cut into one only to find uncooked batter.
Let cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.Print
One-Bowl, Orange-Ricotta Pound Cake
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 1 loaf
Adapted from this Giada De Laurentis recipe, this version calls for oil in place of butter, and the whole thing is made in one bowl.
This cake keeps well for days—tuck it in an airtight bag or container. It makes a beautiful gift—wrap it in parchment paper and tie it with baker’s twine.
Loaf Pans: I love this 9×5-inch USA Loaf Pan. Around the holidays, I often use three mini loaf pans, because this is a great cake for gifting.
Also: I can’t say enough about a Thermapen for testing cakes. For this one, if it registers above 200ºF, it’s done. Most recently, this cake took more like an hour and ten minutes to bake, but without my Thermapen, I likely would have removed it from the oven too soon.
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups (364 g) whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 3/4 cup (164 g) neutral oil, such as grapeseed oil, organic canola oil, vegetable oil, or olive oil
- 2 tablespoons (26 g) orange-flavored liqueur such as Grand Marnier
- 1 1/2 cups (320 g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon (6 g) kosher salt
- zest of 1 orange
- 2 1/2 (11 g) teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups (192 g) all-purpose flour
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease one 9×5-inch loaf pan with butter or nonstick spray. Line with parchment paper for easy removal, optional. Alternatively, grease three mini loaf pans.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and ricotta till blended. Add the oil and liqueur and whisk until blended. Add the sugar, salt, and zest, and whisk again to combine. Add the baking powder and whisk again to incorporate. Add the flour and use a spatula to incorporate until it is no longer visible.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan or pans and bake until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan, 50 to 60 minutes (or longer; about 35 minutes for mini pans). If you have an instant-read thermometer (love my Thermapen), it should register about 200ºF. Let the loaves cool completely in their pans, then turn out onto a rack. Do not wrap until completely cool.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Quick Bread
- Method: bake
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: quick bread, ricotta, orange, tea cake, loaf cake, breakfast, dessert, holiday, gifts
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
212 Comments on “One-Bowl, Orange-Ricotta Pound Cake”
I have made this several times, but wanted to share a slight change I’ve added each time I put it together. I only used 1 cup of sugar instead of 1.5 cups in the recipe. It was perfectly fine.
Another change I inadvertently made this past weekend was rather funny. Between baking some peasant bread with bread flour and then putting together this “tea” cake, I used the bread flour in the orange ricotta cake instead of the AP flour on my counter. My sister-in-law and I had a few laughs over the phone wondering what effect, if any, it would have. It is just as delicious as always, so I guess you could say “no harm, no foul”.
Ali, what difference would the higher protein percentage mean in this tea cake?
Or… “no harm, no flour” 🤣🤣🤣 couldn’t resist. Actually that’s what my eyes read initially, and I thought you were making a pun.
Anyway, so nice to read all of this! I am always looking to cut back sugar, and I’m so glad doing so works well here. I find there to be very little difference using bread flour and all purpose flour in so many recipes. The only think I notice is that bread flour will make the peasant bread rise especially high in the oven, but for other recipes, I really don’t find the difference to be noticeable at all.
For KAF, the difference in protein is only 1% between their bread and ap flours, so again, I think it’s really too small to have a significant impact.
Now, THAT’s brilliant! “No harm, no flour”. 🙂
Excellent, soft, tasty, will definitely make it again!
Great to hear, Tess! Thanks for writing 🙂
I made this last week and thank you for all the sanity-saving tips (clothespins to hold parchment paper???) and the necessity of an instant read thermometer. I loved this, thought that the flavor improved after a day or so – and will definitely make it again. I did have to hunt for the orange flavor – it was almost too subtle for me. I wondered if zest is affected by the age of the orange? My oranges weren’t nice to enough to eat on their own, but I assumed the zest wouldn’t be affected. Thoughts on zest health? Thank you!
So nice to read all of this, Sarah 🙂 🙂 🙂
Regarding zest, I have to admit, I haven’t spent much time thinking about this, but one thought that comes to mind is a Dorie Greenspan technique: you massage the zest (orange or lemon or whatever) into the sugar, which releases some of the oils, and makes for a more zest-scented final product. I’m sure you are on to something, however, with your thinking regarding zest health/freshness. It makes total sense that fresher oranges would be more fragrant.
Dear Alex, I’ve made this cake-but the lemon iteration, a bundt cake mould, with lemon juice and store-bought lemon rind. I also cut down the sugar down to 300g and it was still sweet just enough (didn’t have the guts to mess with baking chemistry more than that, haha). It turned out beautifully, and oh so perfectly tender. Now I’m waiting for the first opportunity to feed my loved ones this delicious treat.
Also, I purchased your cookbook. I do admit that I don’t have too many cookbooks (although I suspect collecting them will most likely be a new hobby), and it’s everything I expected and more. Technique that’s home cook friendly, gives the desired effect, and the taste! Honey-whole wheat loaf is my favorite so far, but the walnut bread is tempting me for my next bread making session.
Thank you for breaking down all the techniques and sharing all of the recipes, and hope you and your family are having a lovely holiday season!🥰
Oh my goodness, Lili, thank you for all of this 🙂 🙂 🙂 I’m so happy to hear the cake turned out well. All of your modifications sound wonderful, and I hear you on the baking chemistry — sugar does lend an element of moisture, and I wish I knew more about how much you could cut back without affecting the texture. And I so appreciate you buying my cookbook. It truly means the world. I love the honey whole wheat as well — it makes such great toast! Happy happy holidays to you and your family 💕💕💕💕
Made this for a gift to give out on Christmas Eve. I didn’t have Grand Mariner, so I went with lemon instead. Just a fantastic recipe. I got tons of compliments and it’s just so moist. I made 2 batches and used mini-loaf pans. The first batch, I went with the amounts noted in the recipe for sugar. I did think it was a bit sweet so I pulled back by a 1/4 c for the second batch and that was fantastic. (although I was worried I messed the recipe “science” up with my change. This is a keeper for me going forward. Again, easy to do and SOOO worth it! Thank you Ali!
So nice to read all of this, Mary! Thanks so much for writing and sharing your notes. I don’t think you can mess with the “science” by removing 1/4 cup sugar — sounds perfect. I like things less sweet more and more these days. Happy happy New Year Mary!
Made it for New Years, Delicious, moist to the point of creamy. Knew that it’d be a hit from licking the batter.
I used a glass bread pan so used lower heat, 325 and cooked it for 12 minutes longer.
Great to hear, Michael! Thanks so much for writing 🙂
Second time making this cake, such a great recipe. This time I used zest from a blood orange and added in the juice too. Gave the cake a nice “blush”. Also baked in a NW braided loaf pan. It came out so pretty, wish I could send you a picture.
Thanks for your recipe.
So nice to read all of this, PattiAnn! Love the sound of that loaf pan and love the idea of a blood-orange hue — so pretty!
Alex, can you clarify the salt weight vs volume please. Since 1 tsp of table salt is almost 6gr and 1 tsp of diamond kosher is 3 gr, which do you actually use when making this cake? I’m guessing the difference is significant enough to taste which is why I ask. I will make this based on your use, either 1 tsp kosher or 1 tsp table. Thank you for your assistance on this.
Hi Denise! I do use 1 teaspoon of kosher salt (Diamond Crystal brand). I’ll re-weigh it today and edit the amount.
Wonderful moist cake. Next time I’ll add more orange or lemon zest.
I used one cup of sugar instead of 1 1/2 and it was still great.
Is there a chocolate version of this?
Thank you as always Ali
Great to hear, Pia! No chocolate version, though I do love this Nigella cake (though I haven’t made it in ages, and the recipe might need some tweaking).
We really enjoyed this cake, thanks for the inspiration.
Since I prefer butter over oil, I used the same amount of melted butter.
Strained 400 g 20% quark overnight
normally I do not use a lot of sugar in my baking – compromise was 110 g – my protuguese friends (with their sweet tooths) ate half of it in no-time!
I know, my changes need some advance planning.
Thanks again and Happy Easter to you and your family
Love the sound of all of these changes, Ulli! Thanks so much for writing and sharing. Happy Easter to you and your family and friends as well!
Hi Ali: This cake was so easy. I got a tiny bottle of Grand Marnier today and made your very easy cake. It smelled and looked so delicious we had a piece while it was still warm. Bill and I both loved it. It will be our Easter dessert tomorrow. I have enough GM for another one in the future. Thanks so much for another great recipe. Kathy
Great to hear, Kathy! Thanks so much for writing and sharing your notes. So smart to buy a tiny bottle of GM. Smart!
I made the lemon ricotta recipe using canola oil and the taste of the cake was all wrong. Later that day, I was listening to another cooking show and they warned against using canola because it could taste like fish. Indeed it did. Next time I will use grapeseed oil.
Bummer to hear this, Maxine! I just updated the recipe. I use organic canola oil with success here, so I’ve updated the ingredient list to reflect this. So sorry about this!
Always easy and delicious (4th time making it today)
Great to hear, Jake! Thanks so much for writing and sharing this 🙂