Neapolitan lemon-ricotta semolina cake (Migliaccio)

Neapolitan lemon-ricotta semolina cake (Migliaccio)

By 15/11/2016

This lovely and simple Italian recipe has its roots in Naples the place where you can find those gorgeous perfumed juicy lemons!

This cake is usually served during Carnival time and it is like a light cheesecake, made with semolina, ricotta, lemon, vanilla and no flour.. yes it does sounds and it is a fantastic combination of flavours indeed.

The traditional recipe has Limoncello liquor added as well but as I did not have any in the house I have just squeezed the juice of a lemon instead. Also you can add bits of candied lemon or orange to the cake mixture if you like.

My little sis Laura has just arrived from Italy and she is going to stay with me for some time; I am over the moon! I am just so pleased to have her here with me and over the next few weeks we are going to cook some lovely recipes and Christmas party food ideas.

Sooo happy! 🙂

  • Prep Time : 20 minutes
  • Cook Time : 40 minutes



Put the milk and the water in a saucepan and bring them to the boil. Gradually add the semolina stirring constantly then add the butter. Cook the semolina over a low heat for 3 to 4 minutes until the mixture has thickened.


In a separate bowl mix the eggs with the ricotta, the vanilla essence, the sugar the grated lemon rind and the limoncello (if using). Instead of the limoncello I have squeezed the juice of the lemon.

Mixing semolina cake

Add the semolina to the bowl with the eggs and mix well to remove any large lumps. It is normal to have a few smaller lumps with semolina.

Pour the mixture onto a well greased springform baking tin measuring approx 22 cm or 8 inch diameter and cook for 40 minutes at 190C / 370F or until golden on top.

MIxture in the mold

Before serving it you can sprinkle it lightly with powdered sugar.

You can enjoy this cake warm or cold.

Neapolitan lemon ricotta semolina cake

Neapolitan lemon ricotta semolina cake (Migliaccio)

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38 Responses to Neapolitan lemon-ricotta semolina cake (Migliaccio)

  1. Summer

    Charming and delish ♥

  2. speedy70

    Conosco questo goloso dolce, bravissima!!!

    • Anna B

      Made this for the first time! Smells amazing. But I do think I cooked it for too long (I have not cut into it yet, it is cooling down). I checked at 40 min and cake was pale. I cooked for 20 min more and it was just beginning to get some color. I put a knife in the middle to check for doneness and it came out pretty wet. So I cooked for another 15 min. Checked once more and similar thing happened. So I cooked for another 15….. at this point it’s an hour and a half and the bottom of the cake seems to be very wet still but I took it out either way. At least the color is beautiful and golden. I realize now that there are probably pockets of ricotta which will always be wet. Oh well. We will see.

      • Alida

        Hi Anna,
        Most cakes made with ricotta come out pretty moist inside but it doesn’t mean that they are not cooked, migliaccio is one of them.

    • Alida

      Thanks Balvinder

  3. elisabetta

    That slice will do very nicely thank you, just don’t forget my espresso!! Bentornata Laura, I look forward to reading about your collaboration with your sorellona Alida 🙂

    • Alida

      Of course always with a good Italian coffee. Laura and I have been having far too many. The moka is always on the stove!

  4. Chiara

    per me che adoro la ricotta è un invito a nozze, segno la ricetta, voglio farla !

    • Alida

      Si te la consiglio. Questo e’ uno di quei dolci classici che riescono sempre.

  5. Angie@Angie's Recipes

    I seriously love the bright yellow colour…bet it tastes just as wonderful as it looks.
    Have a great time with Laura!

    • Alida

      Thanks. Making the most with my sisters.. lots of coffees, cooking and shopping 🙂

  6. La cucina di Molly

    Wow che bontà il migliaccio, adoro la ricotta e il limone, è un dolce profumato, soffice e ance facile da fare, troppo buono! Buon pomeriggio, baci!

    • Alida

      Era la prima volta che lo facevo. Veramente buono.

  7. Alma Vorrei

    This cake was a huge success at a dinner party! This one is a keeper!

    • Alida

      I am pleased Alma.
      This is a classic recipe and they always seem to turn out well.

    • nick

      alida can you substitute cornmeal for the semolina

      • Alida

        Yes I think that should work, particularly the quick cook polenta quick is more similar to semolina.

  8. Phil

    Easy, delicious and authentic. A huge hit! Need to make it again!

    • Alida

      Great! Very pleased you liked it!

  9. Nadia Roper

    Does this cake keep for a day or two?

    • Alida

      Yes. If it is really hot I will keep it in the fridge.

  10. Elma

    It looksso yummy, but after cooking the semolina, is the texture is cake or pudding- like? thanks

    • Alida

      I would say it is more like a pudding as this is made with semolina. Very tasty though.

  11. Emine

    Does the seniline get be cold before i put it in the bowl with the egg? Thank u

    • Alida

      Hello Emine,
      Yes let it cool down a little

  12. Rosanna

    This recipe was perfect! I did use a 9″ round tin and baked for just over 60 minutes. It tasted amazing, you have to beat well when mixing the semolina and egg mixture together, but worth the effort! Absolutely delicious, a teste of Italy!

    • Alida

      That’s great! I am really pleased you enjoyed it! All the best! xx

  13. Sharon Thurston

    Lovely cake but if I make it again I will add more lemon.

  14. Leela

    What kind of semolina to use? Course or fine semolina? Or mix half and half.?

    • Alida

      Hi Leela, it is a fine semolina suitable for baking cakes.

      • Susan

        I have three types of semolina-fine, coarse and semolina flour. Based on the photos, I’m thinking I should the fine semolina. Do you agree? Thank you. I can’t wait to bake this cake!,

      • Alida

        Hi Susan,

        The semolina-fine is the right one.

        All the best!

  15. Rory

    Hey, I’m currently in the process of making this cake for New Year’s Day dinner tomorrow. But I don’t have a 190°c setting on my oven. I have it set to 180°c, or there abouts, and I was wondering how much longer should I bake this cake for?

    • Alida

      Hi Rory, 180C would be fine too. I would just give it an extra 10 minutes but you must always check the consistency of your cake.

  16. Patricia Swanson

    When I saw the limoncello in the recipe, I knew I should make this. I have a 9” spring form, but no 8”, so I increased the recipe by 25%. I used the whisk on the Kitchenaid and let it run for over five minutes. Dough was smooth and creamy then. The baking took way longer. 60 minutes at 370F, then boosted it up to 385F for another 15. Finally, the top looked set in the middle, but only lightly brown. The sides and bottom were perfectly brown. It is a very moist cake, but so yummy. Next time, I will use double lemon zest. Thank you for this splendid recipe.

    • Alida

      That’s wonderful 🙂 thank you for making the recipe and for your lovely comment.

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