Ciambella cake (Italian ring-shaped cake)


Ciambella cake is an Italian ring-shaped cake. I believe it is traditionally eaten at breakfast. Yes, a cake that is supposed to be eaten for breakfast. Amazing. You can, of course, eat it at whatever time you like, but for breakfast seems quite indulgent, and we like that.

The cake was sweet, vanillery and smooth  with a lemony twist and denser than say a Victoria sponge, not heavy though. Having never made this cake before I was a little concerned that it may be too dense, but when I shared it with my work colleagues they assured me it had worked. It didn’t last long on the plate and that’s a success in my books!

It may look plain, but it’s a simple cake and meant to be so, full of flavour and great all by itself. No added extras needed. Although it did work very well with a coffee. The magical interweb tells me that it also works extremely well with warm milk or at the end of a meal with a glass of sweet wine. Although, while we all like a bit of indulgence, I can’t recommend that you have wine for breakfast.

Here’s what you’ll need and how to bake it (recipe from Nigella Lawson):


  • 150g plain yogurt
  • 150g flavorless vegetable oil, plus some for greasing
  • 3 eggs
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 2 capfuls (1.5 teaspoons) vanilla extract
  • Zest 1⁄2 unwaxed lemon
  • 175g plain flour
  • 75g corn flour
  • 1 teaspoon icing sugar, to serve
  • Ring mould


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan oven/gas mark 4, and grease your ring mould with vegetable oil or a special baking spray.
  • Separate the eggs and put the whites in one bowl and the yolks in another. Whisk the whites until you have firm peaks, then set aside. Remember to use a glass or stainless steel bowl to whisk the egg whites, not a plastic one.
  • Pour the yoghurt onto the egg yolks, add the sugar and whisk until airy and light.
  • Slowly add the vegetable oil to the egg yolk mixture, beating all the while. Then beat in the vanilla extract and the zest of half a lemon.
  • Still beating, add the plain flour followed by the cornflour, then scrape down and fold in with a rubber spatula. Now, with a large  metal spoon, dollop in the whisked egg whites, and fold them in with the spatula.
  • Fill the greased ring mould with the mixture and bake in the pre-heated oven for 30–35 minutes (although it took about 45 minutes in my oven). It’s cooked when the sides come away at  the edges and a cake tester comes out clean.
  • Remove it from the oven to a wire rack, letting the cake sit in the mould for 10 minutes  before turning it out.
  • Once cooled dust with icing sugar. Although it’s also very tasty eaten warm.

Mmm mmmmmmm.



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