This Ina Garten Cake Is My Favorite Last-Minute Dessert

March 1, 2024

When The Food Network launched in the early ’90s, I couldn’t get enough of it. During high school, my mom and I would watch the (dubbed) Japanese Iron Chef, and when the network added talent like Ina Garten and , I watched them, too. I have fond memories of watching Ina whip up dishes in her Hamptons kitchen—sometimes for Jeffrey on his way home from work, sometimes for a gaggle of lucky friends.

I daydreamed about spending my time making delicious meals and cocktails for guests. And while I may not currently live in a dream house in The Hamptons, I do like to entertain and ply my friends with delicious treats. One recipe that made it into my keepers folder long ago is an Ina Garten classic, her .

This cake has a few things going for it. First, it’s easy. Beyond creaming the butter and sugar, it doesn’t require any special techniques and is honestly hard to screw up. Second, it’s pretty without the need for real decoration. The berries on top are a lovely touch, and a quick dusting of powdered sugar hides any ills. Third, it’s wonderfully moist without being heavy. And it stays moist for days!

Most importantly, it’s delicious and everyone loves it. It’s the ideal level of sweetness with pops of tartness from the berries, and the texture is to die for. Ina calls it a breakfast cake, and it is delightful for breakfast or brunch, but it’s also the ideal cake for a dinner party, potluck, tea time, you name it.

Simply Recipes / Laurel Randolph

How I Make Ina Garten’s Blueberry Ricotta Cake

Start by creaming butter and sugar together in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until fluffy. Add the three eggs one at a time, mixing between each one, and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the ricotta, a little sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla and beat to combine. I double the lemon zest (sometimes I do one lemon and one orange) and the vanilla extract.

Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix just until combined. Sometimes I add a couple of dashes of nutmeg or cinnamon with the dry ingredients. Fold in about 2/3 of the berries and add the batter to a buttered and floured 9-inch springform pan. Gently press the remaining berries into the top. Bake until a tester comes out clean (or with just blueberry attached), 45 to 50 minutes.

Cool for a few minutes, remove the sides of the pan, and cool completely before topping with a little powdered sugar.

Springform Pan Tip!

Even though Ina calls for a springform pan, you can make this cake in a regular 9-inch cake pan. It won’t look quite as pretty since the sides will be hidden, but it’ll still be lovely and taste just as good.

A Very Tweakable Recipe

See how easy it is? Pretty dang easy for a cake that feels really special. I’ve made this recipe a number of ways over the years (including my minor tweaks in the process above), and it always turns out great. Here are some variations that I know work well:

  • Swap the flour for a 1:1
  • Swap the sour cream for plain yogurt
  • Use a different berry or a mix. Try raspberries, blackberries, pitted and halved cherries, or cranberries. The berries can be frozen—don’t defrost them and toss them with a little flour before adding.
  • Swap the powdered sugar for a drizzle of vanilla yogurt thinned slightly with milk.

Simply Recipes / Laurel Randolph

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