Sicilian Ricotta Cheese Cake

Sicilian Ricotta Cheese Cake
This past weekend we celebrated my brother’s birthday at a delightful, surprise summer celebration at a private wooded area in Napa Valley. My contribution to the spread was this Sicilian Ricotta Cake. If you are a cheesecake fan, I think you will especially appreciate this Italian version.

It was nice to celebrate Ross, who holds a very special place in my heart as my loving, older brother. As the eldest of the four siblings, he has sort of morphed into the patriarch of the family despite only being a couple years older than me and my other two brothers. Like many oldest siblings, he naturally carries that authoritative, leader kind of character which makes him a perfect and protective big brother. It is also what contributes to him being one of the best pastors and teachers I’ve ever met. Ross also goes by Pastor Ross as senior pastor of Calvary The Rock in Santa Rosa California. His sermons can be accessed online if you ever feel like a refreshing and relevant (for today) look at the bible.

The celebration included family members and close friends from his church who have grown to love Ross as a person, and a pastor. A few people talked about how he has positively impacted their lives, including heart-warming words from his daughter Jordan, who recently discovered in her twenties that she has a rare disease called Kabuki Syndrome. Jordan has had lifelong physical struggles including issues with speech, hearing, muscles and joints – and was relieved to learn there was a reason with this diagnosis. She’s been sharing her discovery, struggles, and even blessings of the disease in her Kabuki Unfiltered blog. The girl who struggled with social anxiety, hearing and speech is now becoming a spokesperson for families with Kabuki kids, sharing publicly and even speaking at conferences. Isn’t God amazing?

I can write a book about the love I have for my brother Ross, and my other brothers Darien and Judd, but I’ll share one memory of Ross that goes back 34 years when I was struggling as a single teenage mother. I was living alone, trying to navigate my way around both becoming an adult and being a mother – not an easy feat to accomplish at the same time. Although Ross was only 20 at the time, he had the wisdom and nurturing to assign himself as my “secret pal” who regularly sent me cards with words of encouragement that sometimes included hand-written scripture quotes. I recall one day being completely broke, only to find $20 tucked in a card in my mailbox; just enough to buy a couple bags of groceries. After some time I learned my secret pal was my very own brother, which confirmed in my heart that he would always play the role of protective brother to me throughout my life. And that is true to this day.

Two nights ago, he stopped what he was doing a pastor’s conference to take the time to talk me through a very difficult thing I’m currently going through. I thank God for him and can only hope that everyone can find a Ross in their life.

About the Ricotta Cheesecake? It’s the easiest cheese cake you’ll ever make – and people will love it!

Sicilian Ricotta Cheese Cake

4.5 from 2 reviews
Sicilian Ricotta Cheese Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
  • 32 ounces ricotta cheese, drained
  • 1 orange (for 2 teaspoons orange zest/grated rind)
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 18 graham crackers (2 packets from a 14 ounce box)
  • 1 stick (or 4 ounces) butter
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar (for dusting)
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Generously grease a 10-inch springform pan with butter.
  3. For graham cracker crust, crush graham crackers in food processor until consistency of bread crumbs; stir with melted butter until mixture holds shape when squeezed. If needed, add a little more melted butter.
  4. Firmly press graham cracker “crust” into bottom and along bottom sides of spring form pan; set aside.
  5. Sift together flour and sugar in small mixing bowl.
  6. In medium bowl, stir together ricotta cheese and orange zest. Slowly fold in flour mixture with spatula until well blended and smooth.
  7. Add eggs, one at a time, continuing to blend with spatula. Stir in vanilla extract.
  8. Pour batter into spring form pan and gently smooth top with spatula.
  9. Bake for 55-60 minutes at 350 until cake is firm all the way to top center. Cool completely and refrigerate for 2-3 hours to set.
  10. Dust top of cake with powdered sugar.

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  1. roberta says

    Heartwarming story, I have a brother that wasn’t always as great as your brother but since I have taken on the care of our mother he has been quite generous with his time and has greatly helped us.
    We love ricotta pie so I can’t wait to try this recipe…thank you.

  2. Tinamarie says

    Hello Garlic Girl;
    I love this recipe, it is very similar to mine, and followed by an amazing story, some of us who grew up as itailan women such as you and I, have had a rough life, its our test of strenght thats makes us tough, and more understanding towards others and at last the wisdom we gain from it keeps out any evil tossed at us. May God Bless you and guide you with warmth and peace.

  3. Aly says

    Hi so I started making this and I don’t have a springform pan, is there an alternative to that? And also how grated do the oranges need to be? Any reccomendations on how to get them that way also?

  4. Lillian says

    Thank you for this recipe …I used to make a ricotta cake all the time but I lost the recipe so I can not wait to try this… Love your brother story..cherish him always

    • says

      I haven’t tried to freeze this cake, but I freeze a lot of baked treats that seem to always be fine after defrosting. Let me know if you give it a try – but I’m thinking it would be best without freezing first.

    • says

      I used 18 graham crackers, which I’d estimate to be around 4 cups. I’d start there, but you want the crust to be about a half inch thick, so eyeballing it is not a bad idea either. Next time I’ll measure the ground graham crackers. Thanks!

  5. mia says

    Cooked this cheesecake for Christmas. A beautiful cake but rich. Used Arnotts chocolate ripple biscuits for the base. Definitely will make again.

  6. Dawn Tiffany says

    First cheese cakes I have ever baked that did not crack and looks so yummy … It’s in frig cooling now ..thanks :)

  7. Nannette says

    It’s in the oven now, what a pleasure to mix up. When do I remove from pan? After it’s room temp and before refrig, or after removing from the oven? Can’t wait ’till dessert time!!!!

    • says

      Hi Nannette – I agree that it’s a pleasure to mix up – especially incorporating the eggs with the spatula. I let the cake cool out of the oven, and then I remove the sides. For the bottom, it’s best to remove that part after refrigeration, although it’s not totally necessary to remove.

  8. zoe sartori says

    I have it in the oven now at 325 degrees and it’s been about 45 minutes, The center is not getting firm.
    Should I raise the temperature for the last 15 minutes?

  9. zoe sartori says

    Hi again.
    All right! I let it bake another 25 minutes and it’s looking good! Can’t wait to try it.
    Maybe my oven needs an adjustment.
    Thank you for the recipe, I crave simplicity with effect.

      • zoe sartori says

        It was delicious. It’s all already gone.
        Any ideas about the oven temperature? In total I let it bake for 75 minutes and it was just right. At first I thought I had miscounted the number of eggs, but that wasn’t it.
        Anyway, I enjoy your blog and probably will try another recipe soon.

        • says

          Thank you so much! Time differs based on whether using a 10-inch pan vs. 8 inch. Sounds like you used an 8-inch, which makes for a thicker center. In that case, I either bake at 325 for longer, or raise the temperature to 350 and bake for about 60 minutes. I actually revised the baking temperature on the blog based on your feedback, but may end up doing it again after a few more experiments. :)

          • zoe sartori says

            Hi again!
            I have just measured my spring form pan and it is 9 inches.
            Next time, and there will definitely be one, I’ll raise the temp a little bit. Or I’ll bake it a little longer.
            What a great recipe, yeah!

  10. wendy says

    I made this Ricotta cake for Easter today instead of the usual cheesecake and it was devoured by my family they all agree that this is our new traditional dessert for Easter . Thank you for sharing your recipe .

  11. Deb says

    Hi, this looks amazing and I’d love to try it out. What are Graham Crackers? I don’t think we have them here in the UK.

  12. Deb says

    Ahh thank you so much! I googled them and it turns out they’re similar to our ‘digestive’ biscuits over here. I’m going to give it a whirl this weekend! :)

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