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”
Looks delish! Looking at my pantry now – can anything be subbed for the orange liqueur? Can a clementine be used to sub for the orange? Thanks for any thoughts on this!
Yes! I’ll add notes to the recipe: use 2 tablespoons freshly squeeze orange (or clementine) juice in place of the liqueur. Yes to clementine in place of the orange.
Hi! Do you think we can add some cranberries to this for that extra Christmas vibe ????
Alexandra, I have often thought about substituting oil for butter in the cakes I bake, mostly for the same reasons as you. In fact, I’ve gone as far as substituting melted coconut oil in cake recipes that use melted butter, and when I did this, I found that the cake was slightly more fragile/crumbly but otherwise delicious. But now I think I will try not only your recipe today (which looks delicious), but also some of my old favourite butter-based recipes, encouraged by your success!
PS I was given your cookbook for a birthday present some months ago and have made several no-knead bread recipes from it and have very much enjoyed the results :).
Hi Rebecca, thanks so much for writing in! I, too, have used coconut oil with success. I want to revisit so many recipes and not only try the oil-for-butter swap but also try the one-bowl method, which I think so many recipes could employ with success. If you start by beating eggs, then add wet ingredients successively, followed by sugar, and dry ingredients, I think most cakes will turn out? Fingers crossed 🙂
Also, I’m so happy to hear you’ve been enjoying the no-knead breads from my book 🙂 🙂 🙂 Means the world. Happy happy holidays!
Love a nice orange cake, especially with olive oil. Thanks. I’d love to print it off and keep, but there are now 2 huge 2-color ads that print with the recipe? Anyway to suppress those for printing?
I’m trying to figure this out! Those ads are super annoying in the print box … I didn’t know they appeared there. I emailed the plugin company — they are very responsive, so I should hear from them soon. Stay tuned!
All fixed! Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Ads will no longer appear in any of recipes in the print dialogue box. Yay!
Yay!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
I made this today and it turned out great. I didn’t have the ingredients to make it orange flavored, but I did have the ingredients to make it a lemon bread. Are used lemon extract and limoncello. The bread took a lot longer to bake than 50 minutes. I baked it in one large loaf pan
So wonderful to hear this! Love the idea of lemon + limoncello. So festive!
Hi Alexandra! I’ll be trying avo oil (and maybe melted butter, coconut oil).. too easy not to! But I wonder if you can characterize the general difference between the results. I’d guess the ‘oil’ are denser and heavier (ok by me) and the butter/w beaten egg are lighter… any difference in cohesiveness? (i.e., crumblier?) Thanks!
Hi Nancy! No difference in cohesiveness — great question — but yes in texture: oil cakes, in my observation, are a little denser and moister, but not dense in an unpleasant way. That said, I have not tried coconut oil, and someone commented recently that she found cakes made with coconut oil to be a little crumblier in texture, so if you do plan on using coconut oil, keep that in mind. Hope that helps! I’ve yet to try avo oil … heard great things!
Could I make this with olive oil?
Love your website!
Has anyone tried to substitute a full fat Greek (thick, 6% MF or higher) yogurt for the ricotta cheese?
I had some ricotta in the fridge when this recipe was posted … timely, as I was just beginning to bake for Christmas gift giving. The recipe produced four small loaves (the tiny aluminum loaf pans you find in any store) and they made pretty gifts that were well received. My daughter’s mother-in-law loved it and ate half the little loaf in one sitting – that’s saying a lot!! I’ve never heard her rave about any food before and honestly thought the gift would likely be received as a gesture rather than something to be consumed or enjoyed. Thanks, Alexandra. Happy New Year to you and yours.
So happy to hear this, Lynne! I love how this one looks in mini loaf pans. So happy it was well received. Happy New Year to you and your family as well!
Hi Alexandra – I’d love to try this recipe in a Mary Ann pan. Any tips on bake time, since it’ll be a wider and shallower pan?
Hi Amelia, I’m not familiar with Mary Ann pan … sounds cute! If it’s wider and shallower, I would just start checking it much sooner — maybe even at the 35 minute mark. It may take as long as 45 minutes (or longer), but I suspect it will cook faster.
Thank you for this recipe! I made it exactly as written, and it was fabulous – really good with a hot cup of tea. I agree with you about the oil – the texture and keeping-qualities of this cake are excellent, and it really does come together quickly. This seems like a versatile recipe, too – I can imagine it with a handful of chocolate chips added, or with different liqueurs.
So happy to hear this, Carol! And I agree: very versatile. I’ve made a lemon variation (using the original recipe) and I’ve used various liqueurs. LOVE the idea of some chocolate chips. Yum.
this cake turned out wonderful, although it overflowed my pan a bit. Perhaps my loaf pan is a little smaller than what you recommended, thanks for another winner!
Oh no! I do find my 8.5×4.5-inch loaf pan to be a little too small for this one — I use my 9×5-inch one bc I’ve had issues in the past. Going to make a note ASAP in the recipe. Glad you liked it even so! Thanks for writing!
Thank you (and Giada) for this amazing pound cake! I love the original recipe but have also riffed on this many times in the last couple months with great success.
Full fat Greek yogurt (I used 5% Fage) can be used in place of the ricotta for a more sour version of the cake that I find is just as delicious, just a bit different. I always have small amounts of yogurt lying around and have found that you can sub out all or part of the ricotta for Greek yogurt with no downside in texture.
More fun variations I’ve tried:
Limoncello – sub in limoncello and lemon zest for the grand marnier and orange zest
Banana Rum – sub in dark rum for the grand marnier, add 1/2 tsp. vanilla, sub in 2-3 mashed overripe bananas for the ricotta
The one-bowl theme and core ingredients makes a great (and easy) cake template!
Great to know yogurt can be used here! I love Fage, and I, too, buy the 5%. Love it. Thanks for including all of the fun variations!
Hi Ali!!!!! I want to make this so bad but I only have a ceramic pie dish, 9 inches. Do I have to keep it in the oven for longer than an hour?
Nikkitha!!! So great to see your name. I think it might take less time, because it’s a wider, shallower pan? I would just keep checking after 45 minutes or so. Do you have a thermapen?? xo
No thermapen but will keep checking after then. Made your curried carrot ginger soup for dinner and it was amaaaaaaazing as expected since no recipe of yours has ever let me down :).
Awww, Nikkitha, this makes me sooooo happy 🙂 🙂 🙂
I am wondering if I can turn this into a chocolate loaf by subbing out some of the flour for cocoa powder (maybe adding raspberries). Have you tried this?
I have made this the orange way and with lemons and with a mix of citrus love it! But my little man wanted something chocolate.
Heidi, I’m sure you could, but I wouldn’t know how to advise without experimenting … baking can be so tricky and substitutions don’t always work as planned. Wish I could give you a better answer because it sounds delicious!
my cake went out very buttery and not fluffy 🙁 The batter had little more bundt cake consistency. I used mascarpone instead of ricotta, do you think that was the problem?
Hmmmmm … I bet the mascarpone is the culprit. It’s much denser/richer/heavier than ricotta. I’m sorry this didn’t work out 🙁
Any chance of using less oil or partially substituting?
Sure! I can’t recommend a quantity, but if you are accustomed to making these sorts of substitutions, go for it. I know lots of people who use applesauce in place of oil with success, though I can’t tell you the ratio.
BEST pound cake EVER! It doesn’t crumble all over the top like my regular pound cake does, it’s moist and DELICIOUS!!!! This is the ONLY pound cake I will ever make. And the fact that it’s a one bowl recipe is just (LOL) “icing on the cake”. Thank you!!!!
🙂 🙂 🙂 Love it. And yay!! So happy to hear this.
I went to Italy this past May and I’m all about Italian ingredients now! Love using ricotta and Limoncello with the oil!! Delizioso, Grazie!
🙂 🙂 🙂
I’ve previously made this in both the lemon and orange versions, only with butter. I love this recipe and find it makes for excellent gifts of mini-loaves. The idea of oil instead doesn’t appeal to me.
I am wondering if you or anyone has tried using a different sweetener? I try to avoid white sugar. I’d prefer something that is natural, like maple syrup which has lower glycemic index.
So happy you like this one. I have not, unfortunately, tried other sweeteners. Hoping someone else might chime in here, as I don’t know how to advise here. I don’t think maple syrup is quite the right flavor here, and I worry about the liquid texture causing the batter to be too liquidy, but again, I can’t say for sure.
I was looking for a recipe to use up some left over ricotta and mandarin oranges. Now I have a wonderful recipe for which I’ll intentionally buy ricotta and oranges!
I’m thrilled at how easy and fast this is to assemble. Mixed it in my Kitchenaid, just switching from whisk to paddle for incorporating the flour. I did use mandarin juice in place of the liqueur and added a few drops of orange extract to get the right intensity of flavoring.
This is definitely the best ricotta pound cake I’ve ever eaten. It’s moist and tender and the flavor is delicate. It has enough “heft” to qualify as a real pound cake with none of the heaviness that ricotta cakes can have.
It’s easy to make and a pleasure to eat. Thanks for the great recipe! *Pinned*
Except for a very few things, I don’t bake. But I like olive oil cakes. I suppose a taste I acquired over the decades I lived in Italy. My Italian husband’s insistence for all things olive oil also has something to do with it. Using some oranges from our tree here in California I decided to give this pound cake a whirl. I wish I’d had the Grand Marnier but it wasn’t in the house. Otherwise, I didn’t try to get creative with your recipe. It is very good and hope to make it again and send some loaves round to friends, family and neighbors. I’m only a recent follower but I’m really impressed by your blog. It is refined but not intimidating. Nice going.
Forbes, thank you so much for the kind words. Means a lot. I’m so happy this worked out well for you. And I loved reading about your Italian husband’s “insistence for all things olive oil.” So good.
I would love to try this recipe for Easter tomorrow, but don’t have any ricotta on hand right now. Can you use sour cream instead? Thanks!
Definitely! Will be delicious.
I followed lemon ricotta pound cake recipe and as directed greased the bottom of pan with butter. I followed recipe exactly and when I took it out of pan the bottom of cake stayed in pan!!! I am so disappointed. What did I do wrong?
Oh darn, I’m so sorry to hear this, Maria. I’ve never had an issue with sticking but that may have to do with the material of my pan. What material is your pan? Did you let it cool completely in the pan before turning it out? I may add a note about lining the pan with parchment paper to ensure no sticking.
So delicious and easy to make!
So happy to hear this!
On Saturday, my husband asked if I could make “orange bread”. I thought I could probably modify a recipe using lemon. Then I checked my e-mail on Sunday, and there was the Orange-Ricotta Cake recipe! I had everything but the ricotta. Making a quick run to the market is not a thing right now, at least not in my neighborhood, so I decided to try the recipe using what I have: 4% milk fat cottage cheese. I gave it a whirl in the Mini Prep to get a more ricotta-like consistency and otherwise followed the recipe using fresh orange juice (no Grand Marnier in the house, but I do have an orange tree). It took about 70 minutes to reach internal temp of 200 degrees in my oven. I made a quick glaze with orange juice and powdered sugar and brushed it over the top as soon as I took in out of the oven. Just want to report that it came out great! The cake is very dense and moist and we both like it very much. I will make it with ricotta later and compare. Thanks for the recipe!
So great to hear all of this, Clare! Who knew cottage cheese could step in for ricotta? I love this. Thanks so much for sharing your changes, and I’m so happy to hear this was a success 🙂 🙂 🙂
I just made this wonderful cake. I used blood orange infused olive oil & substituted the liquor for oj. Only had a 8 inch loaf so I split with a mini Bundt pan, so delicious. I also made a simple orange glaze. Definitely gonna make some for my daughter 2 take 2 work being she’s in the health care industry & sure they could use a little treat especially at these trying times. Great cake!
Wonderful to hear this, Susan! Sending your daughter and her co-workers love during these crazy, sad times. They are heroes to be doing what they’re doing. Hope you and your family stay safe 💕💕💕💕💕
This is a VERY moist and flavorful recipe. My husband loved it. He especially liked the “crusty” exterior. I used a mini cakelet pan and it made exactly 6 mini cakes. This is a keeper. Next time it’s the lemon.
So nice to hear this, AnnieO!
Best pound cake Ive ever baked! My wife always called my pound cakes a boat anchor until I came across your site. Now everyone wants this recipe. No more butter for me. This was very tender and stays moist for a long time. All the comments are very helpful and gives me lots of ideas to change up this recipe. Wow, so versatile. Many thanks!
So great to hear this, Ray! Thanks so much for writing 😍😍😍