FOR THE CAKE
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 8-inch cake pans with spray, parchment paper and spray again. Set aside.
2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside
3. Cream the olive oil and the sugar on medium speed in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for one minute. Stir in the lemon zest.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
5. With the mixer on low, alternately add the flour mixture and the ricotta, starting and finishing with the flour. Combine until incorporated.
6. Evenly distribute the batter among the three cake pans (about 16 ounces of batter in each pan) and bake for 23 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
7. Let cool in pans 5-10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, you can cover with plastic wrap and store in your refrigerator overnight or freezer for longer.
FOR THE COMPOTE
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the strawberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, basil and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the strawberries are soft and the juices start to boil.
2. Remove from the heat and puree in a blender until smooth.
3. Return the puree to the saucepan and add the sifted cornstarch. Cook on low until mixture thickens. Cool completely before using in the cake.
4. I recommend making the compote a day or two before you assemble the cake. The compote can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for a month.
FOR THE FROSTING
1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and mascarpone cheese and beat on medium speed for about 1 minute.
2. With the mixer on low, gradually add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until incorporated.
3. Keeping the mixer on low, add the cream, lemon extract and salt.
4. Turn the mixer to medium and beat the frosting for 3-5 minutes, or until it is light in color (almost white) and texture.
5. To remove air bubbles from the frosting, use a wooden spoon to stir and push out the air bubbles.
1. Place the first cake layer, top side up (crumb side up), on a cake board or cake plate. Using an offset icing spatula, spread about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of the mascarpone frosting over the cake layer. Make sure to get eye level with the cake to make sure the frosting is level.
2. Pipe a rim of the mascarpone frosting around the edge of the cake.
3. Evenly spread about 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of the strawberry compote inside the frosting barrier. Be careful not to overfill the compote. If you add too much, your cake will slide around as you frost the sides. You won't use all of it between the two layers. Reserve leftovers to serve a little with each slice of cake.
4. Repeat these last few steps with the second cake layer and filling.
5. Place the final cake layer, top side down and apply a thin layer of frosting around the entire cake. Even though this cake has a semi-naked look to it, we still do a thin crumb coat. Freeze the cake for 10 to 15 minutes.
6. After the crumb coat is set, finish frosting the cake with the remaining frosting to make a slightly thicker semi-naked cake look.