Ciambella Romagnola {Italian breakfast cake}

by cakeduchess on August 13, 2012 · 36 comments

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There are certain recipes that I don’t mind baking over and over again. Simple recipes that you wouldn’t believe taste as wonderful as they do.


Like this Italian ring cake recipe that I’ve had many times in Rimini and here in Florida baked by my best friend’s mamma who is from Bologna. Rimini and Bologna are cities both in the delicious Emilia-Romagna area of Italy. Well, every area in Italy is delicious. But this particular area is famous for it’s tortellini and prosiutto (prosciutto di Parma)and of course, Parmeggiano Reggiano.
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I know there are as many ways to make a ciambella as there is to make a Bundt cake. This is one of the ways nonna Marta makes it (my best friend’s mamma from Bologna) and I don’t argue with her. She says you can never have enough lemon zest. Actually, very time a bake a cake she tells me in Italian, “Lora, you could’ve used more lemon zest”. I could add the zest of 6 lemons and it still wouldn’t be enough for Marta. But I don’t argue with her. I just shake my head in agreement as I watch her finish off the cake. ;)
I love this ciambella because it is a simple cake that reminds me of being in Italy. When I smell it baking in the oven I close my eyes for a minute and picture me being back in my mother-in-laws kitchen waiting for a cake. It’s perfect at breakfast with a  steaming hot cup of cappuccino and even better with a glass of sweet white wine after a wonderful meal. 

Ciambella Romagnola

Ingredients

400 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour (even better, the Italian “00” flour)
2 tsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt
zest of one lemon, preferably organic
160 g (2/3 cup) butter, melted
200 g (1 cup) sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 cup warm milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

zucchero granella (pearl sugar), to sprinkle on top before baking

Directions:
Butter and flour a tube pan (or spray generously with baking spray-my preferred method for its ease).

Preheat oven to 350 F. Melt the butter and set aside.  In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest; set aside. In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until white and form soft peaks
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In a large mixing bowl, add the sugar. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time.

On medium speed, mix in about 1/2 cup of the flour mixture to the egg and sugar mixture; beat about one minute. Beat in another 1/2 cup of the flour mixture and slowly add in the melted butter; beat until combined (about 1 more minute). Stop the mixture to scrape the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula when needed.
On medium speed, mix in 1/2 of the milk and the vanilla followed by another 1/2 cup of the flour mixture until combined (about 1 minute) scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the rest of the milk followed by the rest of the flour mixture.
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Stir in about 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter. Fold in the rest of the egg whites. Bring the batter from the bottom of the bowl over the egg whites and keep turning the bowl around until it is all folded together.
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Pour the batter into your prepared tube pan and even out the top of the batter with yoru spatula; tap pan carefully on your counter to level out the batter.

Sprinkle on the granella di zucchero (pearl or decorators sugar) and bake 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Let cool and then remove the bottom of the pan and place on your serving plate.

buon appetito! Happy Monday:) Thanks for stopping by!
xo
Lora

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian @ A Thought For Food August 13, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Look at those beautiful peaks in the egg whites. Fabulous! I bet this is the perfect way to start the day.

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Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes August 13, 2012 at 12:54 pm

I agree with Marta on the lemon zest. What´s interesting is suggesting 00 flour. Here we have 000 used for breads and 0000 which is supposed to be pastry flour. Now I don´t know anymore! Will have to do a little research, jaja

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Cake Duchess August 15, 2012 at 2:21 am

oh wow, Paula. I never heard of 000 and 0000 flour. Is that in all of S. America or only Argentina?

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Baker Street August 13, 2012 at 1:16 pm

light and fluffy crumb, soft and moist – that’s how I like a breakfast cake! this recipe sounds amazing, Lora!

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Julia August 13, 2012 at 1:32 pm

This looks delicious and reminds me very much of a recipe my grandmother makes (we’re from Abruzzo). The main difference is that her recipe calls for oil and not butter.

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Carmela Sereno Hayes August 13, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Very similar to my nonnas recipe, it looks delicious. I fancy a slice now. We are from Puglia!x

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Annamaria August 13, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Looks delicious. Have you found the Italian “00” flour in the US?

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Cake Duchess August 15, 2012 at 2:20 am

I have found it at an Italian specialty market, Annamaria. I brought a little bag home from Italy. :)

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Xinmei @ Pudding Pie Lane August 13, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Who wouldn’t want cake for breakfast? :D This one looks really moist and delicious :)

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Laura (Tutti Dolci) August 13, 2012 at 6:07 pm

I love this cake and I’m such a lemon lover too – I know I’ll be adding extra zest :).

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The KitchenMaid August 13, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Cake for breakfast sounds wonderful (a close second to trifle for breakfast, I think). I misread your post at first and thought you were suggesting a glass of sweet wine at breakfast too – which isn’t a bad idea, I guess, if you can go back to bed afterwards!

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SweetSugarBelle August 13, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Simply beautiful, Lora!

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Patty August 13, 2012 at 7:17 pm

I really just want a slice right now!

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Maureen | Orgasmic Chef August 13, 2012 at 10:02 pm

it’s 8am in Australia and a piece of this cake would be perfect at this exact moment! :)

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Carol | a cup of mascarpone August 13, 2012 at 10:27 pm

What an absolutely lovely recipe and story. I love hearing about Italian family traditional recipes, coming from an Italian family myself. This has just been added to my must makes. Thanks for sharing!!

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Jen @ Savory Simple August 14, 2012 at 1:36 am

What a beautiful recipe!

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Pacheco Patty August 14, 2012 at 1:56 am

Italian breakfast cake with lemon- I’m being transported to a good place, thanks;-)

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Lisa August 14, 2012 at 4:24 am

I can’t believe I can say I’ve actually had a Ciambella Romagnola, but I did! My neighbors growing up were Italian..and the Mom made this for us (along with pounds of Aglio Olio..to die for!), but I remember she added ricotta to it..is that normal? In any event..yours looks beautiful..and sometimes you can never have enough lemon zest! xo

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Nami | Just One Cookbook August 14, 2012 at 7:27 am

Perfect breakfast cake indeed! Very simple ingredient and I already can see how delicious this is from the pictures. I agree with everyone – I also love lemon zest in sweets!

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Barbara | Creative Culinary August 14, 2012 at 2:29 pm

I have got to stop looking at blogs before I get up; now I’ve got a list of things I want to make as soon as I walk into the kitchen. I want THIS for breakfast!

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Paula-bell'alimento August 14, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Buonissimo! I haven’t had this in so long. Time to fix that ; ) xoxo

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Shulie August 14, 2012 at 8:10 pm

OMG I can even have this with tea now. Gorgeous Italian cake for breakfast Lora. Superb job as usual!

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Carolyn August 14, 2012 at 10:49 pm

Simply gorgeous, Lora. As usual!

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Elisabeth August 15, 2012 at 12:59 am

Lora, the ciambella was so amazing, light, lemony and just the right sweetness. I really loved this and hope you make it soon, again!
xoxo

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lena August 15, 2012 at 2:36 am

i might not know how to pronounce this cake but i sure love taking a bite at it! it looks marvelous!

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Kiran @ KiranTarun.com August 15, 2012 at 5:19 am

I love Italian cakes like this with my afternoon tea. Delish :)

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Chic & Gorgeous Treats August 15, 2012 at 10:05 am

Hi Lora, this cake is so light and fluffy. I really love cakes with lemon zest incorporated. Am book marking to make them when I crave for cakes, erm.. almost on a weekly or fourth nightly basis. LOL.. Have a good week! xoxo, Jo

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Chic & Gorgeous Treats August 15, 2012 at 10:05 am

Hi Lora, this cake is so light and fluffy. I really love cakes with lemon zest incorporated. Am book marking to make them when I crave for cakes, erm.. almost on a weekly or fourth nightly basis. LOL.. Have a good week! xoxo, Jo

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Chic & Gorgeous Treats August 15, 2012 at 10:05 am

Hi Lora, this cake is so light and fluffy. I really love cakes with lemon zest incorporated. Am book marking to make them when I crave for cakes, erm.. almost on a weekly or fourth nightly basis. LOL.. Have a good week! xoxo, Jo

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Chic & Gorgeous Treats August 15, 2012 at 10:05 am

Hi Lora, this cake is so light and fluffy. I really love cakes with lemon zest incorporated. Am book marking to make them when I crave for cakes, erm.. almost on a weekly or fourth nightly basis. LOL.. Have a good week! xoxo, Jo

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Winnie August 16, 2012 at 1:37 pm

I’ve never heard of this cake, but I definitely like what I see.
I’d definitely love to try, so I’m pinning it

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Jenny @ BAKE August 16, 2012 at 4:03 pm

this cake looks beautiful! your italian memories sound beautiful!

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Paula August 16, 2012 at 11:52 pm

Cake for breakfast! That is legal and without guilt? I’m all in :)

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Lizzy Do August 17, 2012 at 12:53 am

The crumb of this amazing cake is just divine! And I think the zest of one lemon is perfect :)

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Lorraine Joy Alegria-Vizcarra August 17, 2012 at 4:21 am

This cake looks wonderful. I love that this is perfect for breakfast.

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Helene Dsouza August 21, 2012 at 1:58 pm

A cake that reminds us of precious memories can only be a great. I love sponge cakes and I dont know what the world would be without them O.O I have never tried throwing in huge amounts of lemon zest, I tastes odd when bakes, but then that my “weird” taste. ;)

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