Ciambellone is an Italian Bundt Cake that is perfect for Christmas. The soft cake is studded with dried figs and almonds – a slice of this Italian cake is perfect any time of day during the holiday season.
There are so many traditional Italian cakes you can make for the Christmas season, but Ciambellone is one of my favorites. Every bite of this bundt cake has sweet dried figs and crunchy nuts that are baked inside. For us in Italy, it just tastes like holidays.
It’s easy to make, too. Ciambellone is not a fussy cake recipe – no frosting or fancy cake decorations are needed. I sprinkle some coarse raw sugar and nuts over the top before baking, and that’s it.
I also love it because it can be served pretty much any time of day. Whether you’re hosting a holiday breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner this Italian Christmas Bundt Cake is the perfect sweet treat to add to your menu.
What is a bundt cake
A Bundt cake is a cake that is shaped basically like a donut, a cake with a hole in the middle. The shape is inspired by a traditional European cake known as Gugelhupf, but Bundt cakes are not associated with any particular recipe.
What is the difference between a Ciambella and a Ciambellone?
A Ciambella translated to English is a Donut, a yeast dough that is usually fried in hot oil. Whereas a Ciambellone is a donut-shaped cake that is generally a type of Margherita cake. In Italian direct translation would be Ciambella – Donut and Ciambellone – Big Donut.
- Flour – all-purpose flour or cake flour
- Baking powder
- Large eggs – room temperature
- Large egg yolk – room temperature
- Granulated sugar
- Vegetable oil – or melted butter
- Milk – room temperature
- Sliced almonds
- Chopped dried figs
- Demerara sugar
Tip: For the best results, let the refrigerated ingredients stand at room temperature for an hour before you make the cake.
How to Make Cake Flour
For every cup of all purpose flour, remove two tablespoons and replace with two tablespoons of corn starch. Be sure to sift the flour and cornstarch together a couple of times, this way it is sure to be properly combined and lump free. Cake flour in cakes will give you a very tender texture and fine crumb, it will also help the cake to rise.
How to Make Italian Christmas Cake
Butter and flour a 10-inch bundt pan and preheat the oven to 350°F.
Chop the nuts and figs.
Whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder in a mixing bowl.
In a separate large bowl, beat the eggs, extra yolk, and sugar with a hand mixer until the mixture is creamy. Add the oil and beat to combine.
Add the dry ingredients and milk in batches, alternating between each.
Fold in the nuts and figs and then pour the batter into the prepared bundt cake pan.
Sprinkle the nuts and coarse sugar over the top of the cake. Bake the cake for 30 to 40 minutes. Keep an eye on it during the bake time and take it out of the oven once a toothpick comes out clean.
Leave the cake in the pan to cool and then turn it out onto a serving plate. For an extra touch, you can dust the cake with a little confectioner’s sugar.
How to store the cake
Ciambellone will keep well as long as it’s wrapped in plastic wrap. Store it at room temperature for several days.
How to freeze the cake
Once the cake is completely cooled, double wrap it with either foil or plastic wrap and then place in a freezer safe bag. It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let the cake thaw overnight on the counter before serving.
Whenever I make this cake, the aroma alone while it bakes just reminds me of Christmas. It’s a wonderful cake to make for your holiday dinner or make it to have during the season. Enjoy!
More Bundt Cake Recipes
- Homemade Raspberry Bundt Cake
- Italian Lemon Bundt Cake
- Classic Italian Bundt Cake
- Chocolate Chip Banana Bundt Cake
Italian Christmas Bundt Cake – Ciambellone
- 2½ cups flour all purpose or cake flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 2 large eggs (room temperature)
- 1 large egg yolk (room temperature)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I use corn or sunflower oil) (80 grams total)
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon milk (room temperature) (I use 2% or whole milk) (135 ml total)
- ½ cup hazelnuts (coarsely chopped)
- ½ cup almonds (coarsely chopped)
- 8-10 dried figs (chopped)
For room temperature remove the ingredients from the fridge approximately 60 minutes before using.
- ¼-⅓ cup sliced almonds
- 2 tablespoons Demerara sugar or granulated
- Pre-heat oven to 350F (180C). Grease and flour a 9½-10 inch (24 cm) bundt pan.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
- In the mixing bowl beat the eggs, yolk and sugar until creamy 2-3 minutes. Add the oil and beat to combine. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk. Fold in the chopped nuts and figs. Transfer to the prepared bundt pan. Sprinkle the top with the sliced almonds and Demerara or granulated sugar.
- Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached. Let cool in the pan, then move to a plate. Enjoy!