Classic Homemade Italian Ciambellone Cake Recipe
An old-school classic recipe, the homemade ciambellone cake was once found in every Italian household. This simple sponge cake is made in the shape of a large doughnut (literally ciambellone in Italian) and usually flavored with citrus or vanilla. Watch Foodie Sisters in Italy, Benedetta and Valeria, prepare this traditional Italian ciambellone using one of Valeria’s favorite recipes.
Although nowadays the humble ciambellone is often overlooked in favor of more decadent and extravagant cakes and pastries, the sight of this ring-shaped sponge will usually bring a tear of nostalgia to the eye of even the most hardened Italian. Made from storecupboard ingredients, all Italian families have their own preferred ciambellone recipe that could be easily whipped up and kept for breakfast, an afternoon snack, or to impress unexpected visitors. Therefore it is only right that we share our tried-and-tested version with you in our newest Foodie Sisters in Italy video. The recipe is from one of Valeria’s favorite Italian pastry chefs, Maurizio Santin.
Ciambellone is an easy recipe that does not call for complicated ingredients or techniques, and yet, once you have perfected the method, will no doubt be made time and again. Like many Italian cakes, the sponge is made with vegetable oil in place of butter which, along with the whisking of the egg whites, keeps the texture light and airy. Once made, the ciambellone can be kept in an airtight container for a few days so is great to keep on hand for those moments when you need something sweet at a moment’s notice.
300 g (10.6 oz) soft-wheat flour, 00-type
250 g (8.8 oz) white sugar
120 ml (4.1 fl oz) vegetable oil (corn, sunflower)
75 ml (2.5 fl oz) milk
7 g (0.25 oz) baking powder
5 g (0.18 oz) fine salt
natural flavoring of choice (orange or lemon zest, vanilla pod or extract)
Separate the eggs. Put the yolks into a large bowl with the sugar, the salt, and your chosen flavoring. Beat well until the mixture is soft and foamy.
Tip. Use natural flavorings. If you choose vanilla, either use natural vanilla extract or a vanilla pod. With the tip of a knife, cut the pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds.
Add the vegetable oil and milk and mix together well. Sieve the flour and baking powder into the bowl and mix everything together with a pastry spatula.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Mix the whisked egg whites into the yolk mixture and fold everything together to form a light batter.
Pour the mixture into a greased 28 cm (11 in) ring-shaped baking tin and cook at 180°C (356°F) for about 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Leave the cake to cool before tipping it out of the tin.