The Mint Shop

The Mint Shop

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Simple pleasures - a slice of ciambellone

I am often asked what I like cooking best. Certainly not meat and not so much starters for some odd reasons. Pasta, rice, and cakes are probably on top of my list. There is always something so rewarding from making a rich and velvety sauce or to see magic being made under the light of the oven when all of sudden something rises and becomes gold!


In my first months of motherhood I was baking like mad. Not sure why. I have calmed down a bit now to the displeasure of my husband though but I'm sure to the benefit of his waist! And I'm afraid I don't believe in making cakes light by replacing butter with margarine or sweetener instead of either do the proper thing or nothing!

So this cake is reasonably rich in butter and eggs but if you only have a slice - or two - with your cup of caffe' latte -  in the morning you will just have the right boost to start the day and will feel much more in harmony with the whole world. Believe me!


It is called ciambellone for its lifebuoy shape, *ciambella* as it has a hole in the middle, a little bit like a giant  doughnut. Of course you could have the same ingredients and use any type of tin. I find though that the ring shape not only adds some fun to it but also packs more the wonderful flavours. Virtually in any traditional Tuscan household you would wake up at the smell of a fragrant ciambellone.

Ciambellone Toscano

100g butter
150g sugar
2 eggs
2 egg whites
50g potato flour
150g plain flour
1 lemon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp milk

Melt the butter in a pan without making it bubble. Once melted mix it with the sugar and whisk it well until it becomes almost fluffy. Add the eggs one by one and keep beating.
Grate the lemon and add the zest to the mixture. Add also the vanilla essence.

Separately beat the egg whites until firm and keep them aside.

Mix the two flours with the baking powder. Using a sift, add the flour to the egg mixture and keep beating. It will be quite thick, so add the milk to make it a bit runnier.

Now incorporate with a metal spoon the beaten egg whites until they are well mixed in. The risk of not doing this well is that the cake will raise more on one side than the other.

Grease a ring tin, flour it, and pour the mixture in it. Bake the cake in the oven at 180C for 25 minutes.

It will keep well for a few days and if you want to eat it after a meal you cold serve it with vanilla ice cream and a glass of vinsanto. 




  1. Made it this morning and it was so light and fluffy! Lovely as you say with a cup of coffee. Thank you!

  2. Love ciambellone! I'm sure I could eat a whole one in one sitting if I wasn't careful ;)

  3. Hi Francesca just made this and it is fantastic. Thank you