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.