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5 from 6 votes

Berry Good Hazelnut Ricotta Cake

Ricotta cake layers with berry ricotta filling, mixed berry compote, toasted hazelnuts and hazelnut buttercream.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Cake
Keyword: Berry Good Hazelnut Ricotta Cake, Hazelnut, Hazelnut Buttercream, Mixed Berry Compote, Ricotta, Ricotta Cake



  • 3 cups (360 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp (12 g) baking powder
  • 1 tsp (6 g) salt
  • 1 cup (218 g) olive oil, can also use vegetable oil
  • 1 3/4 cups (350 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest, from one large lemon
  • 2 cups (480 g) ricotta cheese, homemade or store bought - at room temperature


  • 2 cups (480 g )whole milk
  • 3/4 cup (173 g) heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp (3 g) salt
  • 1/2 tbsp (21.5 g) white vinegar
  • *this makes enough for the filling if you also want homemade ricotta in the cake layers, double this recipe.


  • 2 cups (260 g) fresh or frozen mixed berries
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup (118 g) water, half this amount if using frozen berries
  • 2 tbsp (18 g) corn starch, sifted


  • 2 cups (260 g) chopped hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar


  • 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter, slightly cold
  • 6 cups (750 g) powdered sugar, measured then sifted
  • 1/2 cup hazelnut paste, I use this PASTE or you can 1-2 teaspoons hazelnut extract, depending on how strong you want the flavor to be.
  • 3 tbsp. (43.3 g) heavy whipping cream
  • *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 1/4 - 1/2 batch.



  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
  • 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. Stir in the lemon zest.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix for an additional 2-3 minutes on medium-high speed.
  • 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 pan) and bake for 20 to 25 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 RICOTTA (best to make ahead of time): 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 FILLING: Combine the chilled ricotta with about 1/2 cup of the berry compote. You can use more, if desired.


  • Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Heat to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the berries to burst and the liquid to thicken. It should coat your spoon well. Turn heat off and all to cool slightly. Puree in blender or food processor. Strain out the seeds.
  • This is best made ahead of time and can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a couple weeks.


  • Add the sugar to the chopped hazelnuts in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and is coating the hazelnuts. Pour the sugared hazelnuts over parchment paper to cool and use for the filling.


  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for about 2 minutes on medium-high speed. This helps to soften the butter without the butter getting too warm by sitting on the counter half the day.
  • Add the hazelnut paste. Mix on medium-high speed until well blended, making sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of your bowl.
  • With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar, followed by the cream. Turn the mixer to medium-high and beat the buttercream for about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Before spreading on your cake, spend a couple minutes mixing the buttercream by hand with a wooden spoon to push out the air pockets.


  • Place the first cake layer, top side up, on a cake board or cake plate. Using a piping bag, pipe a rim of buttercream around the edge of the cake.
  • Fill the cake with 1/2 to 3/4 cup berry ricotta filling, followed by 1/3 cup berry compote. Sprinkle on a handful of the hazelnuts.
  • Place the second cake layer on top and repeat step two.
  • Place the final cake layer on top and apply a thin layer of buttercream around the entire. Freeze the cake for about 10 minutes to set crumb coat.
  • Finish frosting the cake with the remaining buttercream.