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When it comes to ricotta, think beyond fillings and pastas. Its mild flavor and high fat content makes it an ideal addition to cakes, creating a perfectly moist and tender crumb. Aside from an oh-so-soft texture, this cake boasts light, floral flavors thanks to the lemon, olive oil, and berries. Instead of folding the fruit straight into the batter, which can sometimes sink or, worse, create gummy pools of uncooked batter (not cute), the berries here get coarsely smashed and combined with a bit of sugar until syrupy, then spooned over the top of the cake just before baking for jammy berry swirls throughout each slice. —Zaynab Issa

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8–10 servings


cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for pan


cups blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, or halved or quartered hulled strawberries


Tbsp. plus 1 cup (225 g) sugar

cups (188 g) all-purpose flour

tsp. baking powder


tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt


tsp. baking soda


(heaping) Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest


large eggs


tsp. vanilla extract

Juice of 1 large lemon


oz. whole-milk fresh ricotta


Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°. Brush a 9″-diameter cake pan with extra-virgin olive oil. Line bottom with a parchment paper round. Combine 1⅓ cups blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, or halved or quartered hulled strawberries and 2 Tbsp. (25 g) sugar in a medium bowl. Using a fork, mash together until sugar is hydrated and no dry spots remain. There will be some totally smashed berries, but some should still be intact. Set berry mixture aside.

Step 2

Whisk 1½ cups (188 g) all-purpose flour, 1½ tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt, and ½ tsp. baking soda in a medium bowl to combine. Set aside.

Step 3

Place 1 Tbsp. (heaping) finely grated lemon zest and remaining 1 cup (200 g) sugar in a large bowl. Using your fingers, work lemon zest into sugar until sugar starts to clump and mixture is very fragrant. Add 3 large eggs, 2 tsp. vanilla extract, and remaining ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil and whisk vigorously until mixture is pale and smooth. Add juice of 1 large lemon and 8 oz. whole-milk fresh ricotta and mix just until combined. Add reserved dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula until incorporated and batter is mostly smooth.

Step 4

Scrape batter into prepared pan and spoon reserved (now syrupy) berries on top. Bake cake until golden brown on top and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 45–50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool in pan. Invert cake onto a large plate; peel away parchment and discard. Turn cake right side up.

Do ahead: Cake can be baked 2 days ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.