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According to Rach, one of the best parts of shooting some of her shows from home—whether it's in Italy or in upstate New York—is that she gets to involve her family, including her big sis, Maria. Maria has loved baking for as long as Rachael can remember, and this is her amazing ricotta cake. "It's really thick and moist, a cross between a cheesecake and a cake," says Maria. "It's also really creamy, lightly sweet, so easy to make and elegant."  

Maria recently served the ricotta cake AND an Olive Oil Cake at a dinner party at Rach's Tuscan villa and both got rave reviews. The rest of the menu included John's "Big Mistake" Cocktail (a bubbly twist on the Negroni), Rach's Four Cheese Stuffed Eggplant Rolls and Jamie Simpson's Raw Zucchini Pasta Salad with Pumpkin Seed Pesto


  • 1 cup butter, softened, plus more for greasing
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 pound ricotta, drained
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup hulled and halved strawberries (or ½ cup of any type of berry), plus some for garnish


Serves: Makes one 9-inch cake, serving 8


Preheat oven to 350°F, with rack at center. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Lightly butter the sides of the pan, then line with the parchment. 

Using a hand or stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, in a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar at medium speed. Add the ricotta and mix until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. Add the lemon zest and juice and mix until combined. Add the flour, baking soda and salt and mix until incorporated.  

Pour half of the batter into the springform pan, smooth it out and place half the berries on top. Pour the remaining batter on top, smooth it out and place the remaining berries on top.  

Bake until the cake is firm and brown, about 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool completely before releasing from the pan. Slice and serve with extra berries.