Cottage Cheese Cake! Not a cheesecake, this is a CAKE made with cottage cheese and it is bound to surprise you. Image this: cobbler meets cake meets crumble—it truly has it all! This cottage cheese cake is light yet somehow fudgy and is a fruit dessert at its finest.

With small pockets of sweet-tart, melt-in-your-mouth apricots and dollops of brown sugar crumble, this cake is unique and absolutely scrumptious. Aside from the fruit, this cake gets its flavor from browned butter, just a hint of cardamom and both vanilla and almond extract. 

Cottage Cheese Cake: What It Is 

This cottage cheese cake is a cake, not a cheesecake, and is inspired by ricotta cake. It’s a quick and easy cake that comes together with a bowl, whisk and spoon—no special equipment needed. The addition of cottage cheese takes the place of ricotta, giving the cake body and structure without making it “cheesy.” The small curds of cottage cheese simply melt into the batter and give it a lovely creaminess.

Which brings me to one final note, it’s key to use high-quality small curd cottage cheese—if large curd cottage cheese is used, the curds will not melt into the batter during baking and will likely dry out, giving the cake an odd texture. 

How to Make Cottage Cheese Cake 

Ingredients Needed

Aside from a few staple ingredients like butter, sugar (light brown and white), flour, baking powder and salt, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Sliced Almonds: added to the crumble topping. You can use any nut you like—pecans, walnuts, pistachios and pepitas (for a nut-free version) would all be delicious. 
  • Cardamom: this is optional but just a tiny dash of cardamom enhances the flavor of the apricots. It almost goes unnoticed—which is the point. 
  • Eggs: you’ll need three large eggs. It’s important to use eggs labeled as “large.” A large egg, out of the shell, should weigh 50 grams. 
  • Extracts: pure vanilla and almond extract add depth of flavor and give this cake a lovely aroma. The almond extract is added to enhance the flavor of the apricots. 
  • Apricots: one pound of fresh apricots are needed for this recipe, which translates to about 8 or 9 apricots. The more ripe they are the more flavor and sweetness they add to the cake. 
slice of cake with apricots baked into the cake and topped with a dollop of whipped cream, set on a small white plate

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Prep the Streusel
  2. In a small bowl, use your fingers to mash together the softened butter, brown sugar, flour and salt. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use. 

  3. Brown the Butter
  4. Brown a stick of butter in a skillet until lightly golden brown and fragrant. Once browned, pour the butter into a heatproof bowl, making sure to get all of the browned milk solids too. Allow the browned butter to cool while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

  5. Whisk Together the Dry Ingredients
  6. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside until ready to use. 

  7. Whisk Together the Wet Ingredients
  8. In a large bowl, vigorously whisk together the eggs, cottage cheese, sugar, vanilla and almond extract. The mixture should be pale in color with a layer of foam on top—this should take a minute of whisking to achieve.

  9. Fold the Dry Ingredients Into the Wet Ingredients
  10. Add the flour mixture to the cottage cheese mixture and mix just until combined and a few pockets of dry flour remain. Fold in all but ¾ cup of the apricots followed by the browned butter. 

  11. Bake
  12. Scrape the batter into a 9-inch round cake pan or springform pan. Sprinkle reserved apricots over top in an even layer then pinch the streusel into dollops and sprinkle over batter. Bake the cake until it’s golden brown, doesn’t jiggle in the center when gently shimmied, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. This will take about an hour, though we recommend you check it at 55 minutes. Depending on your oven, this can take anywhere from 55 minutes to 70 minutes.

Serving Suggestions

I like this cake best when served slightly warm with a dollop or two of lightly sweetened cooled whipped cream. Between the cool whipped cream and the warm cake, it just comes together beautifully. 

A scoop of vanilla ice cream is also a great pairing. 

Because this cake is so versatile, it can also be served as a coffee cake with brunch. We recommend still serving it slightly warm but offering a dollop of yogurt and berries as an optional topping. 

cake with apricots and streusel on top set on a round marble platter lined with parchment paper

Storage Instructions

This cake can be stored tightly wrapped in foil at room temperature for up to 2 days. For longer storage, store the tightly wrapped cake in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. We have not tested storing this cake in the freezer, but if you attempt to, we recommend wrapping it in plastic wrap followed by foil before freezing.

Variations

  • We tested this cake with frozen pitted bing cherries, and while it was delicious, we didn’t like it as much as fresh apricots. If you do try this with frozen cherries, do not thaw them prior to baking. 
  • We haven’t tested this with peaches, but we worry they will be too juicy for this cake. They may weigh down the batter with their extra moisture. If you try it, let us know! 
  • Plums and nectarines should work just as well as fresh apricots here! 
  • Play around with different extracts, spices and seasonings. Orange extract would be a fun addition to the batter. A dash of cinnamon and nutmeg would be delicious in the streusel.
  • Use different nuts in the streusel, such as pecans, walnuts or pistachios. And to make this nut-free, use sunflower seeds or pepitas. 
slice of cake with apricots baked into the cake and topped with a dollop of whipped cream, set on a small white plate

FAQs

Can you freeze cottage cheese cake?

We have not tested storing this cake in the freezer, but if you attempt to, we recommend wrapping it in plastic wrap followed by foil before freezing.

Can I put cottage cheese in cake?

This recipe proves you can! It’s a great substitute for ricotta cheese in most baked goods.

Is it OK to substitute cottage cheese for ricotta?

Yes, cottage cheese is a great substitute for ricotta! They are very similar in texture, moisture, and fat content and can be swapped 1:1 in most recipes. If you’re making something that requires the cottage cheese to be blended like ricotta, pop it in your food processor and blend it until smooth before using. 

Is cottage cheese a common ingredient in lasagna?

Yes and no. It just depends on who’s making the lasagna. Ricotta is more common, but there are many folks who use both, just like our Cottage Cheese Lasagna!

Is clotted cream the same as cottage cheese?

No, they are very different from one another.

Clotted cream, traditionally made with full-fat unpasteurized cow’s milk, is a thickened cream with 55 percent butterfat content. The cream is heated for hours until it thickens and forms clots, which are skimmed off the top and served. It has a consistency similar to softened cream cheese and a taste resembling high-quality unsalted butter. It is commonly served with scones, at afternoon teas, and on summer berries. Sold in jars, it is significantly more expensive than whipped cream.

Cottage cheese on the other hand is a type of fresh cheese made from the curds of cow’s milk. It has a creamy and lumpy texture, often resembling small curds. The butter fat of cottage cheese can range from 2% to 6% and has a relatively high amount of protein for cheese.

More Cottage Cheese Recipes

Cottage Cheese Cake Recipe

5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yield 8 servings
Category Dessert
Cuisine Amercican

Description

Cobbler meets fruit crisp meets cake in this new and delicious cottage cheese cake recipe! This is the ultimate fruit dessert infused with browned butter, a brown sugar crumble and jammy fresh apricots.

Ingredients

Streusel Topping

  • ¼ cup (57g) unsalted butter, softened
  • cup (72g) packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup (60g) all-purpose flour
  • cup (35g) sliced almonds
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Cake

  • ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter
  • cups (180g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons (9g) baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon (5g) kosher salt
  • tsp cardamom, optional
  • 3 large eggs (150g)
  • cups (340g) whole milk small curd cottage cheese
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (7g) vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon (4g) almond extract
  • 1 pound apricots, pitted and sliced (8–9 apricots)
  • Whipped cream, for serving

Instructions

Streusel

  • Mix together ¼ cup softened butter, ⅓ cup (72g) brown sugar, ½ cup (60g) flour, ⅓ cup (35g) almonds and ¼ teaspoon salt until crumbly and chunky; chill until ready to use.

Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with nonstick spray.
  • Add ½ cup (113g or 1 stick) butter to a skillet over medium heat and cook, swirling occasionally, until browned and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof bowl.
  • Whisk 1 ½ cups (180g) flour, 2 teaspoons (9g) baking powder, and ¾ teaspoon (5g) salt in a large bowl.
  • Whisk 3 eggs, 1 ½ cups (340g) cottage cheese, 1 cup (200g) sugar, 1 teaspoon (7g) vanilla and ½ teaspoon (4g) almond extract in a medium bowl until smooth and pale, about 1 minute; fold in dry ingredients just until combined.
  • Measure out ¾ cup sliced apricots and set aside. Fold in remaining apricots then fold in browned and cooled butter. Scrape batter into prepared pan and scatter reserved ¾ cup apricots over top. Pinch streusel into dollops and sprinkle evenly over top of batter.
  • Bake cake until golden brown, center does not jiggy when gently shaken and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 60–70 minutes*, rotating pan halfway through. Let cool at least 20 minutes before flipping to unmold and then flipping again to serve.
  • Serve slightly warm with whipped cream.

Notes

Most ovens either run a bit hotter or a bit cooler than they say. If you aren’t sure, get an oven thermometer so can adjust the oven temperature as needed. We give quite a big range of baking time (60 to 70 minutes). We find 65 minutes is the sweet spot when baked at exactly 350ºF. If you’re unsure whether or not your oven runs hot or cold, we recommend checking the cake at around 55 minutes and adjusting the bake time as needed depending on how the cake looks.
Using good quality cottage cheese is key—I have found that Good Culture is great in this cake.
This cake can also be made with a 9-inch round springform pan.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 500kcalCarbohydrates: 65gProtein: 13gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 119mgSodium: 422mgFiber: 3gSugar: 39g
Like this? Leave a comment below!I love hearing from you and I want to hear how it went with this recipe! Leave a comment and rating below, then share on social media @zestfulkitchen and #zestfulkitchen!
cake with apricots and streusel on top set on a round marble platter lined with parchment paper

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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Comments

  1. The recipe is amazing taste amazing but I did it with Apricot compot I don’t recommend using apricot the cake didn’t rise well …..next time will do will with peaches but my question is since we are winter and it’s not peaches season can I use dried one ?

    1. Hi Maria, I anticipate the heaviness of the compote was the issue with rising. I developed this recipe with fresh fruit so the batter was crafted to hold pieces of fruit, not dollops of heavy compote. I couldn’t recommend using dried apricots unless you rehydrate them, and even then they will likely sink in the batter. I would try a different fresh winter fruit such as pears, apples, persimmons, or clementines. I hope this helps!