Authentic Italian Cheesecake (Torta di Ricotta e Mascarpone)

Some of you asked me about the recipe for the Italian Cheesecake (made with ricotta) always served in italian restaurants, that is lighter, airy and fluffier than the american one, so I made for you a little research and some tests to find the best one.


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I personally like more the NewYork Cheesecake version (you can find the best recipe ever here) because it kinda reminds me my beloved journeys to the U.S., but whichever you prefer, if you’ll make this italian Cheesecake you’ll love it so much that you’ll have to restrain yourself from not eating the entire cake! (I’m not joking, me and my husband ate it in just 2 days and we fought for the last slice…)

The first two recipes I tried, provide for just ricotta as a main ingredient but, although the flavors were lovely, they didn’t send me to the moon because the texture was a bit grainy and less smooth.

So I swapped out half of ricotta for mascarpone cheese, known for its silky texture and its sweet taste. And that’s when I found the best version. Smooth, lighter but rich in flavour, so fluffy and delicate, just amazing! Especially when eaten after an overnight rest (covered and refrigerated), so the flavors have time to blend, as for every cheesecake. After 2 days in the fridge it’s even better, but who can wait for 2 days to eat it?!

So this is my “go to” italian cheesecake, definitely your sweet tooth will be satisfied!

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Authentic Italian Cheesecake (Torta di Ricotta e Mascarpone)

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 90 minutes
Yield: 8-12 servings

Ingredients:

for the base:

  • 200 gr / 2 cups / 7 oz graham crackers finely crushed (I use the classic italian cookies Oro Saiwa)
  • 30-50 gr / 1/8-1/4 cup / 1-2 oz sugar (I use 30 gr)
  • 110 gr / 1/2 cup / 4 oz unsalted butter

for the filling:

  • 250 gr / 1 1/8 cups / 9 oz whole milk ricotta (cow or sheep or mixed, I use both mixed because the cheesecake will be tastier)
  • 250 gr / 1 1/8 cups / 9 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 100-120 gr / 1/2-3/4 cup / 3.5-4.5 oz sugar (I use 100 gr)
  • 1/2 vanilla pod or 1tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp (10 gr) cornstarch or potato starch
  • 3 eggs (separated)
  • a pinch of salt

for the topping:

  • fresh fruit, fruit sauces, chocolate sauces….

Instructions:

Make sure that the ingredients are at room temperature before you star mixing the filling.

If ricotta is too watery put it in a sieve or a cheesecloth set over a bowl for at least 30 minutes, but I’ve never had to do this so just drain it when you see that it loses liquid.

Grease with a no-stick spray or some butter the bottom and sides of a 23 cm / 9 inch springform pan or use a sheet of baking paper.

italian cheesecake silicon springform pan

As you can see, I use a silicone springform pan, it’s perfect for cheesecakes!

To make the crust, mix the graham crackers crumbs, sugar and melted butter until combined. Press this mixture over the bottom of the springform pan and about 2,5 cm / 1 inch up the sides.

italian cheese cake oro saiwa

Classic Italian cookies for cheese cake – they don’t contain eggs

Preheat the oven to 175°C / 350°F / gas mark 4.

Using an electric mixer beat ricotta, mascarpone, sugar and cornstarch just until smooth (do not over beat!).

Add egg yolks one at a time and beat for no more than 30 seconds each, to avoid the cheesecake to crack in the oven.

If used, split half the vanilla bean pod and scrape out the seeds. Add them (or the vanilla extract) into the batter and combine.

In a separate high bowl whip egg whites with a pinch of salt until forming stiff and firm peaks.

italian cheesecake egg whites firm

Add whipped egg whites to the ricotta and mascarpone batter.

italian cheese cake batter complete

Mix slowly with an upward movement of the spoon or spatula to avoid undoing the whipping of the egg whites (if you want a less fluffier cake, put no whipped egg whites together with the yolks).

italian cheesecake batter springform pan

Pour the cheesecake batter into the springform pan and level the top with a spatula or the back of a spoon.

italian cheesecake batter leveled springform pan

Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C / 300°F / gas mark 2 and bake for about 90 minutes, when the top is lightly golden and/or a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Turn off the oven and leave the oven door ajar for 20 minutes, then remove the cake and let cool to room temperature before covering with plastic wrap.

best authentic italian cheese cake torta ricotta baked top

Refrigerate for several hours or preferably overnight. Don’t eat it if it’s not chilled well because it will not taste like a cheesecake but like a mousse (well… it wouldn’t be so bad though, right?).

italian cheesecake baked side

Serve the italian cheesecake with fresh fruit, fruit sauces, chocolate sauces or whatever you like! (I usually use a blueberry jam and some mixed preserved berries to garnish).

best italian cheese cake topped blueberry sauce

best italian cheesecake ricotta mascarpone authentic

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As you can see from the pictures, the inside of my cheesecake is yellow but that’s why I used eggs with orange yolk, so if you use normal eggs the cheesecake will be as white as usual. Enjoy!

best italian cheese cake torta ricotta mascarpone airy soft

Authentic Italian Cheesecake (Torta di Ricotta e Mascarpone)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Classic Italian Cheesecake with ricotta and mascarpone, smooth and lighter but rich in flavour.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 8
Ingredients
for the base:
  • 200 gr / 2 cups / 7 oz graham crackers finely crushed (I use the classic italian cookies Oro Saiwa)
  • 30-50 gr / ⅛-1/4 cup / 1-2 oz sugar (I use 30 gr)
  • 110 gr / ½ cup / 4 oz unsalted butter
for the filling:
  • 250 gr / 1⅛ cups / 9 oz whole milk ricotta (cow or sheep or mixed, I use both mixed because the cheesecake will be tastier)
  • 250 gr / 1⅛ cups / 9 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 100-120 gr / ½-3/4 cup / 3.5-4.5 oz sugar (I use 100 gr)
  • ½ vanilla pod or 1tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp (10 gr) cornstarch or potato starch
  • 3 eggs (separated)
  • a pinch of salt
for the topping:
  • fresh fruit, fruit sauces, chocolate sauces....
Instructions
  1. Make sure that the ingredients are at room temperature before you star mixing the filling.
  2. If ricotta is too watery put it in a sieve or a cheesecloth set over a bowl for at least 30 minutes, but I've never had to do this so just drain it when you see that it loses liquid.
  3. Grease with a no-stick spray or some butter the bottom and sides of a 23 cm / 9 inch springform pan or use a sheet of baking paper.
  4. To make the crust, mix the graham crackers crumbs, sugar and melted butter until combined. Press this mixture over the bottom of the springform pan and about 2,5 cm / 1 inch up the sides.
  5. Preheat the oven to 175°C / 350°F / gas mark 4.
  6. Using an electric mixer beat ricotta, mascarpone, sugar and cornstarch just until smooth (do not over beat!).
  7. Add egg yolks one at a time and beat for no more than 30 seconds each, to avoid the cheesecake to crack in the oven.
  8. If used, split half the vanilla bean pod and scrape out the seeds. Add them (or the vanilla extract) into the batter and combine.
  9. In a separate high bowl whip egg whites with a pinch of salt until forming stiff and firm peaks.
  10. Add whipped egg whites to the ricotta and mascarpone batter.
  11. Mix slowly with an upward movement of the spoon or spatula to avoid undoing the whipping of the egg whites (if you want a less fluffier cake, put no whipped egg whites together with the yolks).
  12. Pour the cheesecake batter into the springform pan and level the top with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
  13. Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C / 300°F / gas mark 2 and bake for about 90 minutes, when the top is lightly golden and/or a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Turn off the oven and leave the oven door ajar for 20 minutes, then remove the cake and let cool to room temperature before covering with plastic wrap.
  14. Refrigerate for several hours or preferably overnight.
  15. Serve the italian cheesecake with fresh fruit, fruit sauces, chocolate sauces or whatever you like!

25 thoughts on “Authentic Italian Cheesecake (Torta di Ricotta e Mascarpone)

  1. Hi, how are you? My grandfather was born in Italy and made the best cheesecake but unfortunately I never learned. He also added cornstarch and mascarpone. Your recipe is the first I’ve found that does that and I’m super excited to try it. I had a question though, do I cook the crust before adding the batter? Thank you :)

    • Hi Matt, I agree with you, I don’t like the taste of Graham Crackers, I use the classic dried (and healthier) Italian biscuits as you can see from the picture, but unfortunately they cannot be found easily abroad….

  2. Our daughter made this cake for Mother’s day fantastic! The best present I have received . My husband asked me to make one for our next festivity,but not sure if I can wait that long . Thank you so much for sharing this recipy..
    Terry

  3. Wonderful!! I made this last night and it is nothing like the heavy, super sweet cheese cakes that I am accustomed to here in the central US. My little home town grocer does not carry any Italian cookies so I used an almond shortbread instead and they worked just fine. I am excited to try your other recipes and thank you for sharing.

    • Hi Bipin,
      in that case you would need a vegetarian gelatine (such as Agar Agar) to stabilise the cake in place of eggs and starch, and you don’t need to bake it.
      I’ve never done that so you should probably follow a specific vegetarian no-baking cheesecake recipe or if you’re brave enough 😉 you can follow my recipe without using starch and eggs and adding melted gelatine before putting the cake into the fridge (not in the oven). The texture of the cheesecake would be less airy and fluffy of course.
      Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

      • Thanks for the response :). I am going to try with Agar Agar or cashew nut paste. I see you are saying no bake cheesecake if I dont add eggs. Is there a reason why?

        Does the baking add no flavor to the cheese part? Is it just for the eggs to cook and make the cake fluffier?

        Just curious .

        Thanks,
        Bipin

        • I think that the baking process adds flavour to the cheese and egg mixture along with the fluffy texture, but without eggs I suggest you to don’t bake it so you won’t lose the fluffiness of the fresh cheeses. Baking a cheesecake with no eggs in it won’t add flavour and BTW agar agar needs to be put in a cold mixture to set.
          Hope to be of help!!
          Bye!

  4. I
    I really like [love]your delicious recipes. top marks too for your use of 21st century decimal measures eg kilos, grams,litres,mils, and Celsius degrees

  5. The Italian Cheesecake came out perfect. It didn’t have a heavy taste but was light. We put sliced strawberries on top but even without the fruit it was great. Can’t wait to try the other recipes.

Have you tried my recipe? Please leave a comment!