The Best Italian Ricotta Crumble Cake – Torta Sbrisolona

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Italian Ricotta Crumble Cake. That’s the closest translation I could find for “sbrisolona” that basically means “something that creates crumbles”. This is such a fun and easy cake to prepare, definitely to be added to the “bake with me” recipe list. The final result is simply delicious. Top and bottom are made with a crumbly sweet cocoa dough flakes and the central filling is a creamy ricotta mix with orange background flavor. It’s the Italian cousin of a chocolate cheesecake πŸ™‚

What makes this cake really special is the technique of cooling the cocoa dough, grating it and using the flakes for the base and top. That gives that unique crumbly, soft and airy texture. Let’s bake it together.

Procedure

Start sifting in a large bowl both the flour and the powdered sugar to prevent grains to form. Add the baking powder, one egg yolk, a splash of vanilla extract, the unsweetened cocoa powder and the melted butter. Mix everything together for a minute with a fork, then keep mixing with clean hands for few minutes in order to form a compact dough. Wrap the dough in parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 30 min so that it gets firm and compact.

Meanwhile you can prepare the filling mixing in a bowl the ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, 2 eggs, a splash of vanilla extract and the zest of a small lemon. Set it aside. Preheat the oven to 350F.

Remove the cocoa dough from the fridge and grate it using the large holes of a cheese grater. I find it easier to grate it on top of some parchment paper so that the flakes are quickly contained.

Grease a 8-9 inch spring form pan with cooking spray and create a bottom layer with half of the cocoa flakes. Gently pat them with your hands not to have any hole. The base should be all covered so that the filling will not go through. Add the ricotta filling on top. Sprinkle the remaining half of the cocoa flakes on top.

Bake the cake in the preheated oven to 350F for 25 minutes. Let the cake cool down for 10 minutes, remove from the spring form pan and enjoy!

Are you running out of time?

If you don’t have time to place the cocoa dough in the refrigerator for half an hour, you can place it in the freezer for 10 minutes instead, it works too.

How to store the cake?

Covered in an air tight container in the refrigerator or in a cool place. It will last for up to one week.

What if the dough doesn’t come together?

The cocoa dough will be a bit crumbly starting from the beginning. The heat of your hands and the melted butter will help compacting the dough. Still, if it’s too crumbly you can add one tablespoon of milk to help it coming together.

What can I substitute ricotta with?

I’m a big fan of ricotta for this recipe, it makes the cake light and fluffy. Still, if you can’t find ricotta at the store you can substitute it with farmer’s cheese, cottage cheese. If you want to use cream cheese, the cake will came out more dense. Use whipped cream cheese or mix half cream cheese and half cottage cheese. To be honest the best results are with ricotta. Have you ever tried making ricotta at home? It’s easy and fun. Check out my recipe for homemade ricotta here.

Would you like to bake another cake?

Ricotta Crumble Cake
Ingredients
FOR THE COCOA DOUGH
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour (250gr)
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar (80gr)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 stick butter (115gr)
FOR THE RICOTTA FILLING
  • 2 cup ricotta (400gr)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (100gr)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 medium lemon, zest only
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl sift the flour, powdered sugar, baking powder, and cocoa. Add the egg yolk, a splash of vanilla extract and the melted butter.

  2. Mix everything together for a minute with a fork, then keep mixing with clean hands for few minutes in order to form a compact dough. Wrap the dough in parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 30 min.

  3. In a bowl mix the ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, 2 eggs, a splash of vanilla extract and the zest of a small lemon. Set it aside. Preheat the oven to 350F.

  4. Remove the cocoa dough from the fridge and grate it using the large holes of a cheese grater.

  5. Grease a 8-9 inch spring form pan with cooking spray and create a bottom layer with half of the cocoa flakes. Gently pat them with your hands not to have any hole. The base should be all covered so that the filling will not go through. Add the ricotta filling on top. Sprinkle the remaining half of the cocoa flakes on top.

  6. Bake the cake in the preheated oven to 350F for 25 minutes. Let the cake cool down for 10 minutes, remove from the spring form pan and enjoy.

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