Sweet and Savory Apple Ricotta Bacon Cake

September 10, 2021

Dive into fall with my new Sweet and Savory Apple Ricotta Bacon Cake with maple buttercream. This unique cake flavor combination is made up of ricotta cake layers baked on tart green apples, layered with whipped ricotta filling, candied bacon and maple buttercream. Let the untraditional become your new fall dessert tradition with this one, friends!

Sweet and Savory Apple Ricotta Bacon Cake

Sweet and Savory Apple Ricotta Bacon Cake

Fall desserts are some of my favorite sweets of the year. I simply can’t get enough of the warm spices paired with apples, pumpkin, pears, butternut squash and sweet potatoes! (All flavors I’ve turned into cakes!) But out of all of them, apple flavored desserts are probably at the top of my go-to fall treats. It goes back to growing up with my mom making apple pie for Thanksgiving every year. I usually went right past the toppings to get that homemade apple pie filling. I can even taste it as I type about it!

As I got started on my fall cakes for this year, I wanted to kick the season off with a real bang and what better way to do that than with a cake that’s maybe a little unexpected but leaves you craving more and more with every bite?! And, of course, it needed to have apple with it!

The most delicious sweet and savory cake

My new Sweet and Savory Apple Ricotta Bacon Cake may not what you typically think of when you think fall cakes, but hear me out! This cake pairs warm, fall flavors with the most decadent textures and fillings.

We’re starting with olive oil ricotta cake layers baked on tart Granny Smith apples. Each layer of cake is then slathered with a whipped, sweetened ricotta filling, a sprinkling of candied bacon, and covered in maple buttercream.

I loved serving this cake to my family and watching their eyes light up after they took their first bite and let the flavors surprise their taste buds. At first, you’ll taste the bacon, but after just a second, the tart apples, tangy ricotta and sweet maple come together and it all just works so beautifully!

The most delicious sweet and savory cake: Apple Ricotta Bacon Cake

Cake Ingredients

There’s a lot going on in this cake, but don’t let that scare you away. Each step can be done ahead of time. Let’s tackle the cake first. Here’s a few ingredients you’ll need that may not be readily available in your pantry.

  • Granny Smith apples – you’ll skin the apples, slice them, and the cook them over the stove with butter. We’re looking to just soften the apples a tad. About two minutes of cooking is all you need.
  • Ricotta – for the cake batter, make sure you get some ricotta. We’ll be making homemade ricotta for the filling, but the cake can use store bought and work beautifully.
  • Olive oil – the cake layers also have olive oil in the batter. You’ll want to get a light olive oil. It gives the cake a lovely texture and only hints at the olive oil flavor but isn’t overwhelming at all.
Sweet and Savory Apple Ricotta Bacon Cake with maple buttercream. The perfect pairing of sweet and savory flavors to kick off the fall season. Tender ricotta cake layers baked on tart green apples, layered with ricotta filling, candied bacon and maple buttercream. #bacon #cake #maple #maplebuttercream #candiedbacon #maplebacon #fallcakes #fallcakeflavors #fallcakerecipe #sweetandsavorydessert #bestfallcakeflavors #falldesserts #falldessert #ricottacake

Filling and Buttercream Ingredients

Let’s also make sure you have a few other ingredients for the fillings and buttercream.

For the Candied Bacon

  • Applewood smoked bacon
  • Maple syrup
  • Brown sugar
  • Apple cider vinegar

For the Homemade Ricotta

  • Whole milk
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • White distilled vinegar

For the Buttercream

  • Maple extract
  • Butter
  • Powdered sugar
  • Heavy whipping cream
Inside the Apple Ricotta Bacon Cake

How to Make Apple Ricotta Bacon Cake


Cook the apples: To make the ricotta cake layers, you’ll want to start by cooking the apples first. You’ll simply cook them in a saucepan over medium heat with the butter to soften them just a bit. Once the apples are cooked, you’ll layer them in two of your three 8-inch cake pans (that have been sprayed with nonstick spray and lined with parchment paper).

Make the batter: for the cake batter, beat the oil, sugar, and eggs for a couple minutes on medium-high speed. It’s ok to beat the ingredients at a higher speed at this point. We want to add some air into the batter. It’s when we add the dry ingredients that we want to make sure to turn the speed to low so we don’t over mix the ingredients. Over mixing the batter can create very dense and short cake layers.

Next, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Whisk to combine. Alternately add the flour mixture and the ricotta to the egg mixture. Pour the cake batter into the three 8-inch pans.


While the cake is baking, you can start on the fillings.

Ricotta Filling

I’ll walk you through all the steps to making your own ricotta in the recipe below, but a few things you’ll need:

  • Cheese cloth or thin dish towel
  • Mesh strainer
  • Large bowl
  • Heavy cream
  • Whole milk
  • White wine vinegar

I would suggest making the ricotta a day or two ahead of time so it has time to thicken and chill.

Candied Bacon

For the bacon, chop the bacon and cook it until it becomes crispy. You’ll then add the brown sugar, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar. Cook for a couple minutes, until the mixture slightly thickens. Allow to cool completely before using.

How to Make the Best Buttercream Frosting

To get a light and fluffy homemade buttercream frosting, I have a detailed post: HOW TO MAKE THE BEST BUTTERCREAM to give you in depth instruction for making your buttercream unreal! Here’s a quick overview.

  • Sift your powdered sugar
  • Use slightly cold butter and mix on its own for 2 to 3 minutes
  • Use heavy whipping cream
  • Beat for 5 minutes
  • Stir by hand
Dig in to this delicious Apple Ricotta Bacon Cake

How to Dry Apples in the Oven

Dried apples make beautiful cake toppers and decor. To make your own dried apples in the oven, here’s what you want to do:

  • Preheat your oven to 200 degrees F
  • Slice apples thinly
  • Place apples on the parchment paper in a single layer
  • Sprinkle cinnamon over apples
  • Bake for about 45 to 60 minutes
  • Allow to cool completely

Other Fall Cakes You’ll Love

Sweet and Savory Apple Ricotta Bacon Cake

Apple Ricotta Bacon Cake

5 from 8 votes
Ricotta cake layers, apples, whipped ricotta filling, candied bacon, and maple buttercream.


For the Ricotta

  • 4 cups (960 g) whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups (346.5 g) heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon (5.6 g) salt
  • 3 tablespoons (43 g) white wine vinegar, distilled vinegar or lemon juice

For the Cake

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large Granny Smith apples skinned and sliced
  • 3 cups (360 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons (12 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5.6 g) salt
  • 1 cup (218 g) olive oil
  • 1 3/4 cups (350 g) sugar
  • 3 eggs room temperature
  • 2 cups (480 g) ricotta cheese store-bought , room temperature

For the Whipped Ricotta Filling

  • 2 cups (480 g) homemade ricotta recipe above
  • 3/4 cup (93.75 g) powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup (57.75 g) heavy whipping cream

For the Candied Bacon

  • 1 lb applewood smoked bacon cut into quarter inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup (110 g) brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup (113 g) maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup (57.5 g) apple cider vinegar

For the Maple Buttercream

  • 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter slightly cold
  • 6 cups (750 g) powdered sugar measured and then sifted
  • 4 tablespoons (57.75 g) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) maple extract
  • *This buttercream recipe makes enough to fill and cover your cake. If you want to add additional piping, you’ll want to make an extra ½ batch.


For the Ricotta

  • Combine the whole milk, cream and salt in a large pot over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and let boil, while stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
  • Once the mixture has boiled for a few minutes, turn the heat off and add the vinegar. Give the mixture a stir and then let it sit for about 5 minutes. You’ll see the mixture start to separate into thick parts and thin parts.
  • Place a mesh strainer over a large bowl and then place a damp cheese cloth over the mesh strainer. Pour the milk mixture over the cheese cloth. Let the mixture strain for about an hour. Discard the liquid in the bowl and pour the ricotta in a bowl to chill until ready to use. Can be made ahead of time and store in the fridge for about 3 to 5 days.

For the Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare three 8-inch pans with nonspray, parchment paper, and spray again. Set aside.
    In a medium saucepan, cook the apples and butter together over medium heat until apples soften just slightly. Line TWO of the pans with apples. Set aside.
  • In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside
  • Cream the olive oil and the sugar on medium speed in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for one minute.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • 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 three cake pans (about 16 ounces of batter in each 8-inch pan) and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
  • Let cool in pans 5-10 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 Whipped Ricotta Filling

  • Combine the ricotta and powdered sugar in a food processor. Blend until smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream until very stiff peaks form. Fold in to the ricotta mixture. Use right away.

For the Candied Bacon

  • Cook the bacon pieces in a skillet until slightly crispy. Add the brown sugar, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar. Cook until the mixture thickens slightly. Spread the mixture over parchment paper to cool completely.

For the Maple Buttercream

  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and on medium speed for about 1 to 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  • With the mixer on low, gradually add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until incorporated.
  • Keeping the mixer on low, add the cream and maple extract
  • Turn the mixer to medium and beat the frosting for 3-5 minutes.
  • To remove air bubbles from the frosting, use a wooden spoon to stir and push out the air bubbles.


  • Place the first cake layer, top side up (apple side up), on a cake board or cake plate.
  • Pipe a rim of the maple buttercream around the edge of the cake, about 1/4-½ inch in from the very edge of the cake. The rim should be about 1/4-½ inch high, as well.
  • Using an offset icing spatula, spread about ¾ cup of the ricotta filling over the cake layer. Make sure to get eye level with the cake to make sure the filling is level and be careful not to overfill the filling. If you add too much, your cake will slide around as you frost the sides. You won't use all of it between the two layers. Reserve leftovers to serve a little with each slice of cake. Sprinkle the candied bacon over the ricotta.
  • Repeat these last few steps with the second cake layer and filling.
  • Place the final cake layer, top side down and apply a thin layer of buttercream around the entire cake. Freeze the cake for 10 to 15 minutes to set the crumb coat.
  • After the crumb coat is set, finish frosting the cake with the remaining buttercream.
  • Garnish with dried apples.
Author: Courtney Rich
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Cake
Keyword: Apple, Apple Ricotta Bacon Cake, Bacon, Maple, Ricotta, sweet and savory

Join the Conversation

  1. Hi Courtney,

    My family doesn’t consume bacon. Is there a substitute for someone who doesn’t consume meat? Thank you so much!

    1. You can just leave it out!

  2. Any recommendations for adapting this recipe for a cupcake version?

    1. I haven’t done it yet!

  3. Shealeen Montgomery says:

    I made the homemade ricotta and it seems really runny. Do you recommend anything to fix this?
    Also can you sub maple syrup instead of the extract?

    1. Make sure you’re letting it cook long enough.

  4. My candied bacon is one big slab of caramel bacon – should it be crumbly?? Or do I chop it after cooling

    1. Chop after it’s cooled.

  5. Rookie bacon candier here -Attempt #1: I chopped the bacon into pieces before it went in the skillet (instruction referred to bacon pieces vs strips, but might have over-interpreted), cooked, then added the vingar, sugar, and syrup without draining any grease. Resulting blob after cooling that isn’t sprinkle-able, even as I try to chop it more. Was the chopping the mistake or keeping the grease? Or both? Thanks for any advice. Looked to YouTube for help but couldn’t anyone not using an oven!

    1. 5 stars
      False alarm on bacon woes. I made the bacon a couple of days ahead when I baked the cake layers, and by the time construction came around, the bacon was fine. Crumbled nicely atop the filling. Baked this for a friend and dropping off as a surprise (hoping they save me a slice) but holy cow this looks great! All of the components were delish and came together exactly as instructed. Another winner!

  6. I’m wondering about the ricotta filling. It says use right away. I need to make the cake the day before gathering. Do I put cake in fridge or do I need to add a stabilizer?

  7. How do you slice the apples?

    1. Skinned then sliced into small slices.

  8. 5 stars
    I entered this recipe into a contest my office had for best recipe with bacon. There were two categories, Bacon in a Leading Role and Bacon in a Supporting Role. I entered this recipe in the “Supporting Role” category and won! WOW! I followed the recipe exactly and cooked it over the course of three weeknights using the exact recommended equipment, ingredients and proportions with only two deviations.

    Day 1: Ricotta & Candied Bacon
    Day 2: Apples & Cake
    Day 3: Buttercream Frosting, Ricotta Filling & Assemble

    In retrospect, I could do days 1 and 2 together if I had the time.

    1. I substituted the vinegar in the candied bacon with bourbon. It imparted a different savory sweetness that was delightful and a hit in my office.
    2. I think the maple extract I used was weak because the maple flavor really didn’t come through very well in the frosting. It tasted buttery in an almost too buttery kind of way. So… definitely do multiple taste tests to get the flavor right. I moved too quickly through this step.

    Cooking Notes:
    1. I cooked the bacon in a cast iron skillet, it really enabled the alcohol in the bourbon to burn off quickly.
    2. When making the ricotta filling, I used my Kitchen Aid stand mixer to make the whipped cream. It took a SUPER long time because 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream is an insanely small volume.
    3. The candied bacon when cooked/cooled was almost like peanut brittle that hadn’t cooled quite yet. I was nervous I messed it up but when I picked up the bits with my fingers during assembly, they fell right apart.
    4. Drying the apples for me took much longer than an hour.
    5. I forgot to serve the leftover ricotta filling with the cake but it wasn’t necessary. Everything came out beautifully.
    6. I had a ton of leftover frosting after icing. Maybe 1.5-2 sticks of butter worth. I intentionally kept the thickness of the frosting thin because of the buttery flavor. I was concerned it would overpower the cake/be distracting but it worked out fine.

    Overall, I would absolutely make this recipe again. It would be a hit at any party with dessert!

    1. Thanks for sharing. I was wondering how to schedule out the different tasks for this cake, so it gives me a good example to follow.

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