Italian Cheesecake

Italian Cheesecake

 The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 1 cheesecake
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
268 Calories
9g Fat
33g Carbs
12g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 268
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 11%
Saturated Fat 5g 24%
Cholesterol 96mg 32%
Sodium 113mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 33g 12%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 27g
Protein 12g
Vitamin C 2mg 11%
Calcium 244mg 19%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 142mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Italian-style cheesecakes differ from typical American ones in a few ways. First, lighter, low-fat ricotta is used instead of cream cheese. Ricotta is an Italian fresh cheese made from sheep, cow, goat or buffalo’s milk whey left over from the production of cheese. Ricotta is low in fat and high in protein. You can even make homemade ricotta cheese easily in your own kitchen.

Italian cheesecakes are also typically made without a crust, saving multiple steps and making this recipe gluten-free. Fresh lemon juice and zest, as well as orange zest, incorporates citrus flavors into the batter. The batter also calls for three different extracts—vanilla, almond, and rum extract. The result is an elegant cheesecake that is full of flavor.

Add your own flair when serving this dessert. The cheesecake can be dusted with additional powdered sugar for a beautiful presentation or garnished with chopped pistachios for a flavor profile similar to an Italian cannoli. Feel free to get creative and make this dish your own by topping with your choice of garnishes like fresh fruit, marmalade or preserves, nuts, or chocolate.

For yet another version, try this Japanese cheesecake recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ricotta cheese

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting

  • 3 large eggs

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon orange zest

  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon rum extract

  • Chopped pistachios, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Italian Cheesecake
     The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  2. Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease and flour a 9-inch round baking pan. (Nonstick baking spray can also be used.)

  3. Combine the ricotta cheese, confectioners' sugar, and eggs in a large mixing bowl and blend well. 

    Italian Cheesecake
     The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  4. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract, orange zest, almond extract, and rum extract. Beat by hand until smooth and creamy. 

    Italian Cheesecake
     The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

    Tips

    • This recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of lemon zest and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. This is the equivalent of what can be extracted from 1 medium-sized lemon.
    • The recipe also calls for 1 teaspoon orange zest. This is the zest from about 1/2 of an orange. The other half of the orange can be zested over the cheesecake just before serving for garnish if desired.
    • If you like to add fresh zest to your recipes, invest in a Microplane grater for the best results.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden brown and set, about 40 minutes. 

    Italian Cheesecake
     The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  6. Place on a wire rack and cool completely. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

    Italian Cheesecake
     The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  7. Before serving, dust with additional powdered sugar, if desired.

    Italian Cheesecake
     The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  8. The cheesecake can also be garnished with your favorite nuts or fruit if desired. For an Italian cannoli-like flavor, try chopped pistachios and additional orange zest.

    slice of italian cheesecake
    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  9. Enjoy as a sweet treat after your favorite Italian meal.