This easy Italian Lemon Bundt Cake or better known as Il Ciambellone, is a simple soft Italian Cake, with a hint of lemon and vanilla. Delicious served for breakfast, snack or even dessert. Dust with powdered sugar or fancy it up with a simple Chantilly cream.
A homemade Ciambellone or Bundt Cake is very important to Italians. I have never been to someone’s house where they didn’t bring out which looked like a just made cake. A homemade Ciambellone is probably presented with more pride than a full course meal! Everyone is very proud of their own recipe whether it was handed down from their mother or grandmother. Today I present my Homemade Ciambellone Recipe.
How to make it
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and zest.
In a large bowl beat the eggs, yolk, sugar and vanilla until light, then slowly drizzle in the oil while beating. Alternately add the flour and the milk while beating on low speed. Beat until smooth.
Pour into the prepared Bundt Pan sprinkle with pearl sugar if desired.
Bake in the pre-heated oven, let the cake cool in the pan. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
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 kind of Margherita cake. In Italian direct translation would be Ciambella – Donut and Ciambellone – Big Donut.
What is the difference between Lemon Zest & Juice?
Lemon zest, the yellow part of the peel only and not the white part which is quite bitter, consists of lemon oil, which is filled with the pure lemon flavour. Whereas lemon juice, has the acidic, tart taste of the lemon. So depending on what you prefer you can either use one or both when baking. For this recipe I used zest.
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Other flavourings to use
If you aren’t a lemon lover then you can substitute with orange, lime or even mandarin orange. Instead of using Vanilla you could substitute with almond or even lemon extract.
Usually in Italian recipes they will use a vanilla bean, but beans are quite expensive, although I love the idea of the little black specks and the taste of the bean. I discovered a Vanilla Bean Paste that is used as a one for one substitution for vanilla extract and has those beautiful black specks and taste of a vanilla bean.
What is pearl sugar
This sugar is also known as Decorators sugar or Coarse sugar. If you can’t find this sugar where you live you can always use granulated sugar, or you can make your own.
It is a very simple procedure and you can find out how to make it on my Romagnola Italian Cake. Pearl sugar does not melt when baked and retains it’s appearance even after baking
What is Chantilly Cream?
Chantilly cream is a combination of whipped cream and icing sugar, sometimes flavoured with vanilla. It is usually used to fill pastries. It was supposedly invented by Francois Vatel, the master of ceremonies to the prince of Conde at the castle of Chantilly. He thought of adding sugar to whipped cream, and he also gave the name to the preparation.
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 store a Bundt Cake
As long as the cake is unfrosted it should be kept at room temperature. Keep it in a cake container or well wrapped. It will keep for up to 3 days.
How to freeze it
Be sure to cool the cake completely then wrap it tightly in either plastic wrap or foil, place it in a freeze safe bag. The cake will keep for up to 2 months. When ready to thaw place the wrapped cake in the refrigerator to thaw before serving.
More Delicious Bundt Cakes
- Simple Glazed Orange Cake
- Italian Apple Cake
- Almond Cranberry Cake
- Mascarpone Cake with Raspberry Cream
So if you are looking for a simple Italian Cake I hope you give this Italian Lemon Bundt Cake / Ciambellone a try and let me know what you think. Enjoy!
Italian Lemon Bundt Cake/Ciambellone
- 2 cups + 1 tablespoon cake flour (300 grams)
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- zest of 1 lemon
- 3 large eggs (room temperature)
- 1 large egg yolk (room temperature)
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (210 grams)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used sunflower) (165 grams)
- ½ cup milk (I used whole milk) (room temperature) (100 grams)
- Pre-heat oven to 350F (180C). Grease and flour a 9½-10inch (24cm) bundt pan.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and zest.In a large bowl beat on medium speed the eggs, yolk, sugar and vanilla until light about 3-5 minutes, then slowly drizzle in the oil while beating. Alternately add the flour and the milk while beating on low speed. Beat on medium speed for about 1 minute until smooth.
- Pour into the prepared bundt pan sprinkle with pearl sugar if desired. Bake in the pre-heated oven for approximately 40-50 minutes, test for doneness with a toothpick, let the cake cool in the pan. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
I made this with Bob’ Redmill 2/1 Gluten free four and added the cornstarch! Wow best cake ever! You would never know it is Gluten Free 🙂
Hi Kate, thanks so much and thanks for letting me know it worked with gluten free flour. Take care and have a wonderful weekend!
This cake was very easy to make and it came out delicious. Thanks for sharing this recipe and how to convert all purpose flour into cake flour!
Hi Donna, thanks so much, so glad you enjoyed it. Take care and have a great weekend!
Could this be made in a square tin? If so, could you advise which size? I’d really like to try it!
Thanks so much
Hi Hayley, yes you could use a square tin, I would say a 9 inch would work. Let me know how it goes. Happy New Year!
Irene I.P. says
This cake was so delicious. It was my first I ever made cake flour and I was very impressed how high the cake rose and the texture was so nice and moist. I cooked it for 42 minutes and it came out perfect. Everyone loved the tiny hint of lemon flavor inside the cake. It definitely brought back many happy memories of my younger days when my Italian mom and nonna used to make it for us. So glad you posted this delicious recipe… it will be a keeper in our family.
Hi Irene, thanks so much and so glad you it brought back memories. Take care and have a great weekend!
Camille iannacco says
This recipe is delicious. The ciambellone, was so moist and light and the flavor of the lemon and vanilla was perfect. ❤️❤️
Hi Camille, thanks so much, so glad you enjoyed it. Take care.
Hi, Rosemary, I can’t find your original comment about “lemon perfume” but I too am a lemon lover in all its forms! I have been using a lemon body mist instead of perfume for years. Unfortunately, it is no longer available :o( Since I am almost completely out of my mist, I have recently searched for a substitute & I think I found 2 very similar. I haven’t tried either yet but here’s the info if you’re interested: Both are on etsy.com: Zynfulbeauty 5 out of 5 stars Body Mist- Lemon Bliss Body Mist…. OR….
StephaniezSweets 5 out of 5 stars Lemon Whip Body Mist, perfume, body spray, body splash, fragrance mist
Please Note: I have no affiliations whatsoever. I just wanted to share what I found. I love your emails & yours recipes are fantastic! I am definitely a fan……. Bravo & GrazieI
Hi Marta, I think I commented on the lemon perfume on another recipe, but I can’t remember which, thanks I will definitely check them out (and no worry about an affiliation). Thanks so much, so glad you like the recipes. Take care. Have a great weekend.
How do you think it would taste with some anise seeds added to it?
Hi Linda, I really don’t know, I am not a great lover of anise seeds, but if you want to try it, let me know how it turns out. 🙂
Thank you for sharing your Outstanding recipe! Moist, delicious with a perfect hint of lemon… and just like Nonna Caterina use to make! Everyone loved it!
Hi Anna, thanks so much so glad I could bring back a Nonna memory. Have a great weekend.
This is a delicious, lightly lemon flavored cake that is best eaten the day it’s baked. I’ve followed this recipe exactly two times and each time the cake is on the dry side. Seeing all the oil that is in this cake, a dry cake result is quite surprising.
Still delicious, but wondering if the cake flour may be the reason for the dryness? I may try all purpose next time?
Hi Pattie, Italian cakes are not as moist as American cakes, but this cake should not be dry, I think you might have baked it a bit too long. 🙂
Jessica Simpson says
This was a winner! Came out beautifully, was easy to make, loved the way it cut and loved the taste. My bundt pan has ridges, so the cake comes out “fancier” than your pictures. On to trying the chocolate chip/ricotta bundt cake next! Thanks for this!
Hi Jessica, thanks so much, I like the sounds of that bundt pan :)! Take care.
Oh lovely!! My mouth is watering right now just reading this recipe, which is going on my to-do list for the next few days!!! One question, though. Ive eaten this in Italy and I know a Ciambelleone is traditionally made in a Bundt pan but I don’t have one. I’m in Germany and don’t even have a Gugelhupf pan, no space in my tiny kitchen. Any problems in making this in a loaf pan?
Hi Elizabeth, thanks so much, I don’t see a problem with making it in your loaf pan. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know. Take care.
Thank you, Rosemary! I’ll let you know how it turns out and if hubby got any of it before it disappeared into my stomach. 🙂
I love all of your recipes and have made quite a few, easy to follow and delicious! Thank you Rosemary x
Thanks so much Nicola, glad you like the recipes. Merry Christmas.
It’s an easy cake to make and the family love it
Thanks Tonia, glad everyone enjoyed it. Merry Christmas.
I thought this was great. I substituted Cup 4 Cup gluten free flour so that my husband could enjoy it too. It worked well though the GF flour makes it hard to put in the pan evenly. Still tastes great!
Hi KC thanks so much, so glad you both enjoyed it. Take care.
When I saw this recipe, I was so excited because I was raised in Italy and am very familiar with “Ciambellone”, which I hadn’t had in decades.
I made it this morning and it’s been a big success. It turned out beautifully and it’s perfect with a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. I will definitely be making it again.
Hi Susan, thanks so much, glad to bring back memories. Glad you enjoyed the recipe. Take care.