Olive Oil Cake with Whipped Ricotta and Roasted Figs

Olive Oil Cake with Whipped Ricotta and Roasted Figs
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About This Recipe

When I first discovered the rich and fruity flavor of olive oil cake, I knew I had to create a recipe that paid homage to the Napa Valley, where I live and breathe everything about our beautiful wine country. My journey to perfect this Olive Oil Cake with Whipped Ricotta and Roasted Figs was an adventure in itself, a delightful exploration of the local flavors and ingredients that make our region so unique.

The idea for this recipe came to me as I strolled through the farmers' market, where I spotted some plump and juicy figs. It was then that I knew I wanted to pair them with a delicate yet indulgent cake. I decided on a luscious whipped ricotta topping, which I knew would complement the figs and the fruity olive oil cake beautifully. To give the cake a Napa Valley twist, I incorporated locally sourced ingredients like high-quality extra-virgin olive oil, fresh ricotta cheese, and, of course, the figs themselves.

If you're looking to create a complete meal that showcases the flavors of Napa Valley, consider serving a light, farm-to-table salad with local greens and goat cheese as a starter. Follow it up with a main course of grilled wild salmon with a citrus and herb glaze to complement the flavors of the olive oil cake.

In true Napa Valley fashion, I recommend sourcing the ingredients for this recipe from local farmers and producers. Many olive oil producers in the region offer premium, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil that will make all the difference in this cake. For the figs and ricotta, try visiting one of our many farmers' markets or local artisanal cheese shops.

When it comes to wine pairings, you'll want to choose options that highlight the cake's fruity and floral notes. I recommend a well-balanced Napa Valley Viognier, such as the one from Darioush Winery, for its stone fruit and floral aromas. Another option is a Late Harvest Semillon from Cakebread Cellars, which brings out the sweetness of the figs and ricotta without overwhelming the delicate cake.

Throughout the process of creating this recipe, I was continually reminded of the beauty and bounty that Napa Valley has to offer. From the picturesque vineyards and olive groves to the dedicated artisans who craft world-class products, our region truly is a haven for food and wine lovers. If you haven't had the chance to experience it for yourself, I encourage you to plan a visit to one of our numerous wineries and tasting rooms. Some of my favorites include Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, with its stunning palisades backdrop, and the smaller, family-owned Corison Winery, which offers a more intimate experience.

In the end, this Olive Oil Cake with Whipped Ricotta and Roasted Figs is more than just a dessert; it's a celebration of the flavors and spirit of the Napa Valley. I hope it brings joy to your table and inspires you to explore the culinary wonders of our beloved wine country. Happy cooking, and cheers to your Napa Valley-inspired culinary adventures!

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: The Heart of Napa Valley Cuisine

In the rolling hills of Napa Valley, amidst its famed vineyards, grows another golden treasure – the olives which produce the high-quality extra-virgin olive oil. This luxurious oil not only offers health benefits, such as being rich in antioxidants and healthy fats, but it also imparts a nuanced fruity flavor, making it the star ingredient of our Olive Oil Cake.

When it comes to choosing the perfect extra-virgin olive oil for this recipe, consider the oil's origin and freshness. A freshly pressed, cold-pressed Napa Valley olive oil will infuse your cake with rich, vibrant flavors reminiscent of the sunny Californian groves.

Whipping Ricotta to Perfection

Mastering the Art of Whipped Ricotta

  1. Choosing the Ricotta: Opt for whole milk ricotta cheese. The creaminess of whole milk gives a richer texture.
  2. Room Temperature is Best: Ensure your ricotta is at room temperature. This helps achieve a smoother consistency when whipping.
  3. Use a Mixer: Use an electric mixer for best results. Beat the ricotta on medium speed to introduce some air into it.
  4. Add Sweetness: Gradually incorporate powdered sugar and pure vanilla extract for that sweet, creamy touch perfect for our cake.
  5. Check Consistency: Your whipped ricotta should be smooth and spreadable, making it perfect for layering atop your olive oil cake.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I substitute almond flour? Yes, you can substitute almond flour with ground hazelnuts or simply use all-purpose flour. However, almond flour adds a unique nutty flavor and moisture to the cake.
  2. How should I store leftover cake? Store any leftover Olive Oil Cake with Whipped Ricotta and Roasted Figs in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should last up to 3 days.
  3. I have a dairy allergy. What can I use instead of ricotta? For a dairy-free alternative, you can try using coconut cream. Chill a can of full-fat coconut milk overnight, scoop out the solid cream, and whip it with powdered sugar and vanilla.
  4. Can I use dried figs instead of fresh? While fresh figs provide a unique texture and flavor, you can use dried figs. Rehydrate them in hot water for about 30 minutes before roasting.
  5. Which type of baking pan works best for this cake? A 9-inch round cake pan is ideal, but you can also use a square pan. Remember to adjust the baking time if using a different sized pan.

Ensuring Your Olive Oil Cake Is A Culinary Triumph

  1. Quality Matters: Invest in high-quality extra-virgin olive oil from trusted Napa Valley producers. The quality of your oil will directly impact the flavor of your cake.
  2. Avoid Overmixing: When combining wet and dry ingredients, mix until just combined. Overmixing can make the cake dense rather than light and fluffy.
  3. Roasting Figs: For beautifully caramelized figs, ensure you coat them evenly with honey and olive oil. Place them cut-side up on the baking sheet, allowing them to roast to perfection.

Enjoy your Olive Oil Cake with Whipped Ricotta and Roasted Figs, a true ode to the flavors of Napa Valley!

Recipe Overview

Olive Oil Cake with Whipped Ricotta and Roasted Figs
Lily Anderson
8 servings
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 6 fresh figs, halved
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and granulated sugar until pale and thick. Gradually whisk in the olive oil, followed by the milk, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
  5. Bake the cake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. While the cake is cooling, prepare the whipped ricotta by beating the ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract together until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Toss the figs with olive oil and honey, then arrange them cut-side up on a baking sheet. Roast for 10-12 minutes, or until the figs are tender and caramelized.
  8. To serve, spread the whipped ricotta on top of the cooled cake, and arrange the roasted figs on top.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

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