Small Chocolate Ricotta Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

A simple twist on a classic cake makes this Chocolate Ricotta Cake rich with flavor and moist in texture. Try it out this weeked!

Small cake on a pink cake stand.

I have the most delicious and simple chocolate cake for you to whip up this weekend. In fact, this one has only two elements (cake and buttercream) and makes a small two-layer, 6-inch cake.

Chocolate Ricotta Cake

My favorite cake is my Olive Oil Ricotta Cake with strawberry basil filling and lemon mascarpone frosting. The flavors are heavenly and the texture of the cake is unlike any other, thanks to two cups of ricotta cheese.

Don’t let the idea of cheese in a cake scare you, though! This cake doesn’t taste like cheese in the least. The ricotta creates and retains moisture. It also enhances the texture of the cake and minimizes the sweetness.

Because the ricotta cake layers are some of my all-time favorite layers, as are my chocolate cake layers, I wondered what it would be like to combine the two.

Let me tell you – it’s all good things! It’s not quite as dark as my dark chocolate cake, but it has a sturdier texture. In fact, it’s very much a blend of my dark chocolate cake and my milk chocolate cake.

Cake slice on a plate.

Adding a little dark chocolate cocoa powder to the ricotta cake recipe turned out exactly as I hoped: moist, rich, decadent, delicious!

The Importance of Good Quality Chocolate

When making any kind of chocolate dessert, I always recommend using a high quality dark chocolate such as Callebaut’s Extra Brute Cacao Barry. This cocoa powder, and others of the same quality, are higher in fat than a grocery store brand, which means your cakes and other baked goods will have more moisture. Plus, the flavor of a cocoa powder like this will enhance the richness of the chocolate flavor in your cake. So, don’t skimp on the chocolate. This is a place to splurge to ensure the best tasting cake!

Cake with a bite taken out.

Best Chocolate Buttercream

This is THE BEST chocolate buttercream. It’s rich in flavor and has the more beautiful silky, smooth texture. For a half batch, to go along with our small cake, you’ll be using 5 ounces of dark chocolate, some heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar (sifted, of course), vanilla and salt. I have some tips below for making the best buttercream frosting.

Cake on a cake stand.

How to Make the Best Buttercream Frosting

To get this silky smooth buttercream, make sure you follow my tips: HOW TO MAKE THE BEST BUTTERCREAM

  • Sift your powdered sugar
  • Use slightly cold butter
  • Use heavy whipping cream
  • Beat for 5 minutes
  • Stir by hand

You’ll want to check out the post linked above for more details on each step to make sure you get the best buttercream frosting. And remember, these steps can be used for any buttercream recipe on my blog.

Don’t Forget!

For chocolate buttercream specifically, remember to heat the cream and chocolate together first. You’ll then stir the mixture until it becomes a smooth ganache. Once the ganache has cooled slightly, you’ll add the mixture to the butter and continue making the buttercream according to instructions.

Other Cake Recipes You’ll Love

Small cake on a pink cake stand.

Chocolate Ricotta Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

4.95 from 20 votes
Moist and rich chocolate ricotta cake layers with silky, smooth chocolate buttercream



  • 1 cup (120 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (39.3 g) good quality dark cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (6 g) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) salt
  • 1/2 cup (109 g) grapeseed oil
  • 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (175 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup (250 g) ricotta cheese, at room temperature

For the Buttercream

  • 5 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons (45 g) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cups (226 g) unsalted butter, slightly cold
  • 2 1/2 cups (312.5 g) powdered sugar, measured then sifted
  • 1 teaspoon (4.2 g )vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt



  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray two 6-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and spray again. Set aside.
  • In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the oil and sugar on medium speed for about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat for an addition minute.
  • With the mixer on low, alternately add the flour mixture and the ricotta, starting and finishing with the flour. Combine until incorporated.
  • Evenly distribute the batter among the two cake pans (about 14 ounces of batter in each pan) and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
  • Remove pans from oven and let the cakes cool in the pans for about 15 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, you can cover with plastic wrap and store in your refrigerator overnight or freezer for longer.

For the Buttercream

  • In a microwave safe bowl, heat the cream and chocolate chips for about 30 to 45 seconds. If needed, heat for an additional 20 to 30 seconds. Stir to combine and create a silky, smooth texture. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for about 2 to 3 minutes, until it is light and fluffy.
  • Add the room temperature chocolate ganache to the butter and beat until the mixture is smooth.
  • With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing a little in between each addition.
  • Stir in the vanilla and salt.
  • Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. The buttercream will become lighter in color and texture.


  • Place the first cake layer, top side up, in the center of a cake board or cake stand.
  • Evenly spread ½ cup of buttercream over the cake layer.
  • Place second cake layer, top side down, on top of the buttercream.
  • Cover the entire cake with a thin layer of buttercream. Freeze the cake for 10 to 15 minutes to set the crumb coat.
  • Once the crumb coat is set, finish frosting the cake with the remaining buttercream.
Cuisine Cake
Course Dessert
Keyword chocolate, chocolate buttercream, Chocolate Cake, Chocolate ricotta cake, small cake

Courtney Rich

I’m a self-taught baker, obsessed with cake.

I long ago ditched box mixes in pursuit of melt-in-your-mouth, to-die-for flavor combinations, fillings and textures. I believe cake must be decadent, life-changing and worthy of celebration! And I believe anyone should be able to bake that kind of cake – and I’m here to teach you just that!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Made this cake today….the ABSOLUTE BEST chocolate cake I’ve ever made or eaten. So soft and moist,with amazing chocolate flavor. That’s just the cake by itself,adding this super silky chocolate buttercream takes it to the stratosphere!!! It’s is the first recipe of yours I’ve made and will DEFINITELY be baking many more.

  2. 5 stars
    Absolutely incredible! The texture of this cake is unbelievable!

    Question: would this fit in a bundt pan if I doubled it?

  3. 5 stars
    Hi! Excited to bake this cake! How would I adjust the baking time and temperature if I’m doubling the recipe to make 3 8-inch pans?

  4. 4 stars
    Awesome recipe! And I totally would’ve given it 5 stars if there were NO RIDICULOUS POP UP ADS!! Please, for the love of whatever stop! I almost gave up bc I kept hitting the then trying to get rid of them & going to the page. Back & forth, back & forth…etc! You’d get more ppl to
    love you’re recipes of they didn’t have to fight to read them. As I’m writing this there they are!!

    1. So sorry about that. I know it’s a pain. I’m working to reduce them, but it’s currently how I can earn money from my site instead of charging for the recipes 🙁

  5. Help! I want to make this today for my husband’s birthday. However, I do not own 6″ cake pans. I only have 1 cup of ricotta cheese so I cannot double the recipe. Will it work in 8″ pans and just cook a shorter amount of time and have thin layers? Awaiting your reply. Thank you.

    1. I would just half the recipe and use one 8″ pan, but two 8″ pans for shorter layers works too. Sorry I’m late getting back to you! I hope it worked out.