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
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.
- Prep the Streusel
- Brown the Butter
- Whisk Together the Dry Ingredients
- Whisk Together the Wet Ingredients
- Fold the Dry Ingredients Into the Wet Ingredients
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.
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.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside until ready to use.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
This recipe proves you can! It’s a great substitute for ricotta cheese in most baked goods.
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.
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!
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
- Use up your leftover cottage cheese to make a breakfast staple—pancakes! Our Cottage Cheese Pancakes are light, fluffy, and packed with both protein and whole grains.
- Cottage cheese is a great ingredient for pasta fillings and lasagna! Try it in our Cottage Cheese Lasagna recipe.
- Curious about the viral cottage cheese ice cream? We offer our review on this viral food trend.
Cottage Cheese Cake Recipe
- ¼ cup (57g) unsalted butter, softened
- ⅓ cup (72g) packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup (60g) all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup (35g) sliced almonds
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter
- 1½ cups (180g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons (9g) baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon (5g) kosher salt
- ⅛ tsp cardamom, optional
- 3 large eggs (150g)
- 1½ 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
- 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.
- 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.