Italian Love Cake


Italian Love Cake make it for someone you adore
Here's the thing, I have fifteen boxes of yellow cake mix in my cupboard. Don't ask why or pass judgement I just do. I needed to do something with them so had been on the hunt for new and fun ways to use cake mix. What a calling right?

I found this recipe printed on a piece of paper...no original origin. The name hooked me so I had to make it...thank you to whomever came up with it.

This cake was simple to prepare and very delicious. The bottom is a generous layer of sweetened ricotta cheese giving it a sponge-like texture. You have to love a good sponge-cake to love this recipe. I admit I do. 

The cinnamon-sugar topping and the moist cake in the middle are just more bonus features this cake has to offer. 

This makes a large cake, so serve it to a crowd.  With some espresso of course.

Let's make it...


Here's what you will need for the cake:  Yellow cake mix, eggs, whole milk ricotta cheese, granulated sugar, pure vanilla extract and Limoncello (optional).


You will first need to drain your ricotta cheese by wrapping it in a double layer of cheesecloth. Place it in a colander and weigh it down with 4 or 5 heavy cans from your pantry. Drain over a bowl in the refrigerator for an hour.


Prepare your cake mix according to instructions on the box. This will most likely include three eggs, 1/3 cup vegetable oil and 1-1/4 cups water. You can replace a 1/4 cup of the water with a 1/4 cup Limoncello (as I did), Frangelico or Anisette. This is optional. Just use all water if you don't want to add liqueur. Set aside.


In a large bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat until smooth and fluffy, 8 large eggs, drained ricotta cheese, 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract. 


Grease and flour a 10 x 15 glass pan (I used Baker's Joy). Pour the prepared cake mix into the pan and spread evenly.  Carefully pour the ricotta mixture over the cake mix. DO NOT BLEND THE TWO BATTERS TOGETHER. Very, carefully smooth the ricotta mixture out.

Place in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.


While the cake is cooling make the topping:  All-purpose flour, dark brown sugar, granulated sugar, unsalted butter, ground cinnamon and table salt.


In a food processor blend 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Pour the mixture into a bowl and with a pastry cutter, cut in 6 Tablespoons chilled unsalted butter until the mixture looks like wet sand.


Let the cake cool for 1/2 an hour then sprinkle cinnamon-sugar crumbles over the cake.

Italian Love Cake is so great for Valentines Day
Of course I had to use my biscuit cutter to make round pieces.


But you can leave it square.


I think I like the rounds though.  Any way you cut it, this will be good. 

Print Recipe

Italian Love Cake

Recipe from: | Serves: 14

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 1 package cake mix (yellow or lemon)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 11 large eggs, divided
  • 3 lbs whole milk ricotta cheese, drained
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract (not imitation)
  • water
  • Limoncello, Frangelico or Anisette (optional)

Topping:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" squares, chilled

Directions

  • You will first need to drain your ricotta cheese by wrapping it in a double layer of cheesecloth. Place it in a colander and weigh it down with 4 or 5 heavy cans from your pantry. Drain over a bowl in the refrigerator for an hour.
  • Prepare your cake mix according to instructions on the box. This will most likely include three eggs, 1/3 vegetable oil and 1-1/4 cups water. You can replace a 1/4 cup of the water with a 1/4 cup Limoncello (as I did), Frangelico or Anisette. This is optional. Just use all water if you don't want to add liqueur. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed, beat until smooth and fluffy, 8 large eggs, drained ricotta cheese, granulated sugar and vanilla extract.
  • Grease and flour a 10 x 15 glass pan (I used Baker's Joy). Pour the prepared cake mix into the pan and spread evenly. Carefully pour the ricotta mixture over the cake mix. DO NOT BLEND THE TWO BATTERS TOGETHER. Very, carefully smooth the ricotta mixture out.
  • Place in a 350 degree F oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • While the cake is cooling make the topping.
  • In a food processor blend flour, granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, ground cinnamon and salt. Pour the mixture into a bowl and with a pastry cutter, cut in butter until the mixture looks like wet sand.
  • Let the cake cool for 1/2 an hour then sprinkle cinnamon-sugar crumbles over the cake.
  • Serve with some gelato or espresso and enjoy!


Other Italian Sponge Cakes You Might Enjoy:
Rustic Italian Sponge Cake with Cheesecake Filling
Little Italian Cakes Filled with Lemon Pastry Cream
Sicilian Ricotta Cake with Pistachio Marzipan


Post a Comment

81 Comments and 1 Reply

  1. Not a big fan of sponge but these little cakes look really cute and delicious esp with the crumble topping!!

    And your Chocolate lover’s cake looks gorgeous!

    Reply
  2. HoneyB 2

    The cake looks really delicious!

    Reply
  3. You are going to be the death of me…I swear. You had to go the italian route didn’t you…the good thing is, Hard Working Man is gonna LOVE this.

    Reply
  4. ntsc 4

    Valentine’s Day is mostly a non-event with us, too close to our aniversary. And for that all my wife wants me to make are reservations. I’m giving my wife something from Tiffany’s, already iin the house, and I’m getting a professional meat grinder.

    Reply
  5. Those cakes look so cute! I love the little love sprinkles on the top.

    Reply
  6. I am so happy to hear someone else is a cake “Hoarder”! You can never be too prepared is what I say! I love the fact that you cut them out in round little cakes – how sweet is that! They look absolutely delicious!

    Reply
  7. OMG!! These look fabulous, I love limoncello! They are so pretty. Enjoy that it uses a cake mix, doesn’t sound that out of my reach. Thank you!! I am printing this out!

    Reply
  8. What a beautiful way to spice up a cake mix!! The topping looks amazing!

    Reply
  9. These cakes look fantastic—any cake with ricotta and Limoncello (maybe even Grand Marnier?) has to be awesome! Re: your magazine recipe, I just made a beloved flourless chocolate cake for a girlfriend’s BD on Saturday. I will be making it again for our Valentine’s Day party. Chocolate and love go together, right? 😉

    Shirley

    Reply
  10. Leslie 10

    Perfect Cathy..I love that you made them into rounds!

    Reply
  11. Yum. Yum. Yum.

    Reply
  12. Looks good – real good!!!

    Reply
  13. Debbie 13

    Oh that looks good. I love to make cakes that start off with the basic cake mix! Sounds great!

    Reply
  14. Julie 14

    That topping looks delizioso!

    Reply
  15. It looks beautiful. Lowfat, right?!

    Reply
  16. Oooo tasty!

    Reply
  17. nina 17

    Oh wow, I don’t think I have ever bought a box cake before, but this looks so good, that I am tempted!!!

    Reply
  18. tamilyn 18

    Wow-those look devine! I honestly don’t know that I have ever had sponge cake, but this would be a great reason to try it! Unfortunately we work Valentines day so I don’t know that dinner will be very romantic in the lunchroom at work. Sniff. Ohh and Limoncello-just pour me a glass!

    Reply
  19. Louise 19

    Ohmygosh! All those eggs, plus ricotta, plus a crumble topping?! Looks like sheer bliss!

    Reply
  20. Katrina 20

    Love the crummy topping!
    3 lbs.–that’s a lotta ricotta. I really just wanted to say that because it rhymed so nicely!
    Oh, I know why you cut circles–because then there were scraps leftover! 😉

    Reply
  21. Sara 21

    This looks delicious, the ones cut with the biscuit cutter are so cute!

    Reply
  22. What a terrific way to use up some extra cake mix. Love the addition of limoncello. I would like the spongecake texture.

    Reply
  23. imom 23

    Substituting some of the water with Linoncello would really add a yummy flavor to the cake!

    Reply
  24. Yum!

    My mother-in-law was recently in the hospital with pneumonia. We were terribly worried about her, so what did we do? We convinced my father-in-law to come home and cook hamburgers for the rest of us. Best burgers in the world, by the way.

    Anyway, being the only girl in my mother-in-law’s kitchen, I started looking around for various things that we needed, and what did I find? About 12 boxes of yellow cake mix.

    I’m guessing that really good cooks keep several boxes handy…just in case.

    Not surprisingly, there are NONE in my cabinet.

    Happy Monday!

    Reply
  25. Sheila 25

    Those look amazing, so moist and beautiful! Italian based recipes are wonderful for including cheeses that take away the too sweet factor from desserts. Can’t wait to try this.

    Reply
  26. Liz C. 26

    Oh. My. God. These might just be worth cheating on my diet just a teensy weensy bit.

    And hey, you can always make a Pina Colada Cake, since it requires yellow cake mix. 😉

    Reply
  27. Bob 27

    That definitely looks like something I could get behind.

    Reply
  28. Cath,
    I made this exact cake a few months back. It was SO popular!
    I added rosemary and it was excellent!
    I called it “cheating: Ricotta Cake” cause I used a yellow cake box mix!
    Love this cake!

    Reply
  29. I love those cakes – Limoncello must add a wonderful flavor!

    Reply
  30. OMG–if it has limoncello in it–I’m all over it! It just so happens I have 2 boxes of yellow cake mix…I just need the ricotta!

    Reply
  31. dawn 31

    Limoncello? Oh yes! Ms. Cathy you speaka my language! così bene!

    Reply
  32. Rebel 32

    Mmmm, that looks good and it sounds like the type of cake I love. Of course I love all cake!
    Happy Ground Hog Day!

    Reply
  33. krysta 33

    mmmm, with the limoncello and the strudel like topping… heaven.

    Reply
  34. Oh, I love it! I was planning to make cupcakes this Valentine’s… with some nice marzipan decorations… but now I’m not sure what I want :)
    Enjoy your day, Margot

    Reply
  35. Suzette 35

    This looks like absolute heaven. I will not be doing a Valentine’s Day meal, but I usually take something sweet and decadent to work. Usually, it’s red velvet cake, but I’m finding that people aren’t as fond of it as I am. Maybe this is THE thing!

    Reply
  36. Lola 36

    I make a killer bacardi rum cake using cake mix…the moistest cake ever. I have never put a topping with flour as an ingredient that wasn’t baked…does the residual heat from the cake melt it down a bit?

    Reply
  37. ELRA 38

    Oh dear, don’t even remind me where the month of January went. It’s pretty amazing really how time flies!
    This cake sure cheers everybody up.
    Cheers,
    Elra

    Reply
  38. grace 39

    i would like you to spread some of this love my way, please and thank you.
    and there’s nothing wrong with having a few boxes of cake mix in the cupboard. 15? i won’t judge. :)

    Reply
  39. Oh heavens Cathy. My backside just got bigger just from looking at these! Stop the madness!! ; ) YUM!

    Reply
  40. Pam 41

    I want this cake for breakfast. The crumble topping is making me drool – great recipe Cathy.

    Reply
  41. Marjie 42

    11 eggs! Now that’s a rich recipe! And since I buy chocolate cake mix in restaurant sized boxes by the case – yes, a total of 30 pounds at a time – I understand your 11 yellow cake mixes. You need what you need!

    Reply
  42. What a great way to use the cake mixes that are always in my pantry — even though I don’t bake, or maybe because I don’t bake! This would be great as part of a brunch buffet, or for a crowd for afternoon tea.

    Reply
  43. Rosa 44

    What delightful little cakes! Wonderful!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    Reply
  44. Mrs. L 45

    Too bad my hubby doesn’t like cinnamon or I’d make these in a flash!

    Reply
  45. Spread the love my way and send some ;)!

    Reply
  46. Limoncello, ricotta, that crunchy topping! To die for. I’m back on the South Beach Diet otherwise I’d be off to Safeway for a box of cake mix.

    Reply
  47. Cheryl 48

    Oooooh, these look like a MUCH more gourmet version of a Tastykake treat I loved as a child (and probably still as an adult, just haven’t seen ’em lately!)

    Wasn’t limoncello the elixir that got Danny DeVito (and George Clooney the night before) all swacked before his appearance on The View (or was it Today?)

    Reply
  48. Those look delicious! Thanks for “catching” my lack of a post.

    Reply
  49. Lo! 50

    Mmmm. Limonicello. I could use a bit of one of these… right about> NOW.

    Reply
  50. sharon 51

    Will you be my Valentine? I want one of those *round* cakes.

    We made your shrimp stuffed shrooms for Superbowl Sunday. Whoa. Delish.

    Reply
  51. Bunny 52

    I like it that you ca see the 3 layers in this very nice! I have boxed mixes too I need to use up!

    Reply
  52. Boo Vday, but yay this cake!

    Reply
  53. Finally! Someone how has as much cake mix in her pantry as I do! *lol* I buy it when it’s on sale because I’m forever using it for something…be it cookies, or cupcakes, cakes or what have you.

    Oh and it doesn’t get much better than Limoncello. I love love love that stuff.

    If I weren’t already making some of your other recently posted recipes for the twins’ 19th birthday, I’d make this! My daughter, especially, would love it!

    Reply
  54. I love how they look quivery, as if scared of being eaten. Of course, they’re going to be devoured, they looking all delectable like that.

    Reply
  55. I know better than to come to your blog right before dinner. (*drool*GROWL!*)

    I’ll put this on my list (which keeps on expanding . . . let’s just hope it isn’t infectious for waistlines — how can it not be??)

    YUMMY!!!

    Reply
  56. Lisa 57

    Lovely cakes! The round shape is inspired and what an interesting destination for a yellow cake mix. Yum!

    Reply
  57. Ellen 58

    I have a great recipe for a chocolate Love cake that starts with a box cake mix. If you are interested, e-mail me and I will be happy to share it.

    Reply
  58. Biz 59

    OMG that looks amazing! I like the round ones better too!

    Reply
  59. Michelle 60

    Yum, limoncello! What a great idea and I like that yours looks “used” in the photo. 😉

    Reply
  60. kayola 61

    I would NEVER pass judgement….I ♥ the little round ones….everythings ALWAYS better with sprinkles on top!

    Reply
  61. Laura 62

    Wow these look good. Isn’t it weird how the cute little round pieces make it look extra tasty?

    Reply
  62. Yes I love you, it’s wonderful, sounds delicious.

    Reply
  63. Sandie 64

    For the love of Limoncello! This is the first time I’ve seen Limoncello used in a baking recipe, and of course, that makes it a must try!

    Reply
  64. Helene 65

    Oh Limoncello, that must be good. Great presentation.

    Reply
  65. Oh wow, these look sooo good. All the pictures are beautiful, too. This is making me really, really hungry!

    Reply
  66. However I must say that I had Limoncello in Italy and was not impressed – what’s the best way to drink it?

    Off topic a tad, but i LOVE Lemonatta mixed with gin. Yummm

    Reply
  67. OMG….those cakes look so fabulous, they look so soft and moist. I can taste them in my head.

    Reply
  68. Keary Naughton 69

    My contribution to the yellow cake mix overload.

    Peach Cobbler

    1 13 x 9 cake pan
    1 box yellow cake mix
    1 lg can of peaches
    1 stick of butter melted

    drain can of peaches ( you can leave some of the juice)
    put in bottom of cake pan
    open yellow cake mix and spread evenly over peaches and then pour butter evenly over the top.

    bake at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes.

    easy peach cobbler

    Reply
  69. Cathy, I can’t wait to make this! …and eat all the pieces left over after I cut it into pretty shapes.
    This weekend: Krysta’s chocolate tart. Next weekend: Your Italian Love cake for after the ballet. Thanks!

    Reply
  70. megan 71

    Ohhh, these look beautiful. I need to find me a large crowd to bake for!!!

    Reply
  71. Misty 72

    Oh my goodness those look wonderful! I am going to try & make this over the weekend!

    Reply
  72. Egghead 73

    Yummmm! These kind of remind me of a crumb coffee cake my mother used to make.

    Reply
  73. katie 74

    These look great and are so cute that I think I could about 15 of them.

    Reply
  74. Alanna 75

    I’m drooling…boxed cake mix or not…

    Reply
  75. Shoy 76

    Am I understanding this right? You don’t cook the cake any at all after putting on topping? Just raw?
    Looks great, tho.

    Reply
  76. Gene 77

    Statcy
    Thanks for your comment, you’re the only one ( out of 100 OMG’s! )that offered constructive response of actually making the cake and the response to it.

    Reply
  77. This will most likely include three eggs, 1/3 vegetable oil and 1-1/4 cups water.

    Reply
  78. Cathy, I can’t wait to make this! …and eat all the pieces left over after I cut it into pretty shapes.
    This weekend: Krysta’s chocolate tart. Next weekend: Your Italian Love cake for after the ballet. Thanks!

    Reply
  79. Maria Martin 80

    Sorry to say that the crumb topping didn’t brown up nice like your pictures. I even put the topping on after letting the cake cool for only 20 minutes. Maybe next time I’ll put the topping on the cake during the last 15 minutes of baking.

    Reply
  80. Theresa Mauriello 81

    After cake is baked and you put on crumbs, don’t you return it to the oven to brown crumbs? Otherwise they are just undone????

    Reply
  81. Lesly 82

    I think it would be good with amaretto!

    Reply

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