Nov 20, 2019 Last Updated 6:31 AM, Nov 9, 2017

Lemon, Ricotta, Strawberry and Pistachio Cake

Lemon, Ricotta, Strawberry and Pistachio Cake
Roy Shvartzapel's Lemon, Ricotta, Strawberry and Pistachio Cake. Photo by Battman

Roy Shvartzapel, Principal and Executive Chef at Common Bond, Houston, TX, and one of's Top 10 Pastry Chefs in America 2013, shares his Lemon, Ricotta, Strawberry and Pistachio Cake recipe.

Read more about Chef Roy Shvartzapel's Top 10 Pastry Chef 2013 Honors.


Yield: 60 servings

Pain de Gene:

2.2 lb/1 kg almond paste
3.8 oz/110 g pistachio paste
48.5 oz/1375 g whole eggs
7.4 oz/210 g pastry flour
0.32 oz/9 g baking powder
0.32 oz/9 g salt
13.05 oz/370 g brown butter, warm

1. Begin by sufficiently softening both the nut pastes with a bit of egg, making sure there are no lumps. Add the rest of the eggs and whip to ribbon stage.

2. Meanwhile, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

3. Take a small portion of the egg mixture and whisk into the warm brown butter. At this point, add the sifted pastry flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until just incorporated. Continue to mix while slowly adding the brown butter mixture. Scale 52.9 oz/1500 g of mixture per sheet pan and bake in a 360°F convection oven for approximately 15-20 minutes.

Lemon Ricotta Sponge:

1.76 oz/50 g lemon zest
9.17 oz/260 g granulated sugar
16.22 oz/460 g unsalted butter, softened
20.45 oz/580 g whole milk ricotta
5.46 oz/155 g lemon juice
8.6 oz/245 g egg yolks
18.3 oz/520 g ground almonds
5.1 oz/145 g pastry flour
15.16 oz/430 g egg whites
9.17 oz/260 g granulated sugar

1. Combine the zest and sugar and rub together with your hands aggressively in order to release the essential oils of the zest into the sugar. Place this mixture along with the softened butter in a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream for several minutes on high until light and airy. While this is creaming, whisk together the ricotta cheese and lemon juice. Reserve. Slowly add the yolks to the creaming butter. Scrape bowl and add the ricotta/lemon juice mixture. Mix until incorporated then add the almond/flour mixture. Reserve this mixture.

2. Begin making a meringue by placing the whites in a clean mixing bowl fitted with the whisk. Whisk on medium speed until medium to firm peaks form. This will take several minutes. Then slowly begin adding sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. The finished meringue should be glossy and smooth.

3. Take about 1/3 of the meringue and aggressively incorporate into the reserved creamed butter mixture. Once homogeneous, delicately fold in the remaining 2/3 of meringue. Scale 529 oz/1500 g of mixture per sheet pan and bake in a 360°F convection oven for approximately 15-20 minutes.

Lemon Cream:

1 oz/30 g lemon zest
25.74 oz/730 g granulated sugar
24.33 oz/690 g whole eggs
17.3 oz/490 g lemon juice
37.74 oz/1070 g unsalted butter, softened

Begin by rubbing the zest with sugar to release all the essential oils. Add the eggs and juice and in a heavy bottom pan, while whisking constantly, bring mixture to an aggressive boil. Remove from heat and cool over an ice bath until mixture reaches 40-45°C. At this point, using an immersion blender, add the butter. When a homogenous mixture has been attained, reserve the lemon cream with a piece of cling film touching the surface to prevent a skim from forming.

Strawberry Gelée:

2.8 oz/80 g lemon juice
2.8 oz/80 g granulated sugar
0.88 oz/25 g gelatin sheets, bloomed
2.2 lb/1 kg strawberry puree

Heat the lemon juice with the sugar and add the previously drained gelatin sheets. Add to the puree and pour into full sheet fleximold. Freeze.

Lemon Cream Mousse:

6.5 oz/185 g lemon juice
1 oz/30 g gelatin sheets, bloomed
39.15 oz/1110 g Lemon Cream (above)
32.62 oz/925 g chantilly cream
8.8 oz/250 g Italian meringue (make a minimum amount of 500 g sugar, 250 g whites and 150 g water – sugar cooked to 121°C)

Heat the lemon juice and melt the drained gelatin with the juice. Add to the Lemon Cream. Gently fold in the chantilly cream and, lastly, the meringue. Use immediately.


Melted bittersweet chocolate, as needed
Neutral nappage
Pistachio powder

1. Begin by cutting both the Pain de Gene and Lemon Ricotta Sponge to fit a 60 x 40 cm (23” x 16”) frame with a height of 6 cm (2.3”). Take a trimmed pistachio pain de gene and coat one side with a thin layer of chocolate. Place a piece of acetate over the chocolate. This will be the base. Place the 60 x 40 cm frame on a straight and sturdy cutting board. Place the pain de gene, acetate side down, in the frame. Scale approximately 1250-1500 g of Lemon Cream on top of the pain de gene and smooth to a very even layer. Place the trimmed Lemon Ricotta Sponge on top of the Lemon Cream. Spread a very thin layer of Lemon Cream on top in order to adhere the Strawberry Gelée. Take frozen Strawberry Gelée from freezer and place on top of sponge. Again, spread a thin layer of Lemon Cream to adhere the next layer of sponge. Once the last pain de gene sponge has been placed, immediately fill with the Lemon Cream Mousse to the top of the frame. Freeze.

2. Once unmolded, spray with neutral nappage and gently sift pistachio powder over the cake in an even layer. Cut into desired sizes and shapes.

Tasty Food Photography eBook

Most Read Articles

Popular Recipes

Find Us on Facebook

Freshly Frozen

Chocolate Bites

Pastry Talk

Tasty Food Photography eBook