Ciambellone | Italian breakfast cake

This ciambellone cake is super soft, fluffy, and perfect to enjoy with a foamy cappuccino in the morning. This traditional Italian recipe is super easy to make with just a few ingredients.

Ciambellone cake on a rustic table with cappuccino coffee in the background.

What Is Ciambellone?

Ciambellone is a very common Italian breakfast cake served in the morning to accompany the traditional cappuccino or to have as an afternoon snack.

It is a soft and fluffy sweet cake, with a rich aroma of citrus and vanilla and is shaped like a big donut. Is not so buttery but moist enough to enjoy alone.

In Italy, this recipe is prepared in various versions with chocolate, vanilla, or a combination of both (marmorizzato).

The recipes vary and can be made with or without oil/butter, gluten-free, without eggs, with water or milk, or as in this case, yogurt, which is the one we like the most at home.

Close-up of a ciambellone slice.

Every now and then Max (my husband) asks me to bake un semplice ciambellone per il cappuccino, per favore, amore… And well, I can’t say no because I love to indulge my family with their favorite treats.

So I make his mom’s recipe because it has never failed and is so easy to make. You don’t need to be an expert baker!

Every time I bake this, the house will fill with this wonderful fragrance of baking goods and we know that in less than one hour we will be enjoying this amazing soft cake still warm from the oven.

If you loved our Lemon Ricotta Cake, you gonna love also this traditional Italian breakfast cake!

Ingredients Needed

  • FLOUR: All-purpose flour is what we use. You can also use cake flour, just make sure to add one teaspoon less baking powder.
  • SUGAR: Use white sugar or you can also add a mix of white + brown sugar.
  • EGGS: I used 4 mediums eggs which weighed in total about 8oz (230g). If you want to use small or large eggs make sure to weigh them (without shell) and don’t add more than 8.5oz in total.
  • YOGURT: Use plain yogurt with no sugar. Or you can use fruit yogurt, just be aware the taste will change slightly.
  • OIL: I like to use a neutral flavored vegetable oil such as sunflower or corn. You can replace oil with melted butter.
  • AROMA: Lemon zest and vanilla extract are the obvious choices, but this cake can also be flavored with orange zest, almond extract, rum, etc.
  • FOR RAISING: Baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Ingredients for ciambellone cake displayed on a marble surface with names.

How To Make Ciambellone Cake

Grease and flour a ring-shaped pan. Heat the oven to 360°F/180°C.

Ciambellone ring pan greased and floured.

Put the eggs into a mixer bowl, add a pinch of salt, and mix for 1 minute on medium speed.

Eggs and salt mixed in a bowl.

Add the sugar and mix on high speed for 5 minutes. Add lemon zest and vanilla extract, and mix until you’ll get a fluffy, light-yellow mixture.

The fluffy and airy eggs and sugar mixture.

With the mixer running at the lowest speed, mix in the oil and the yogurt until combined.

Place a strainer over the bowl and add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Sift well.

Collage with two photos of ciambellone preparation.

Mix for a few seconds at medium speed, just the time to combine the flour with the other ingredients.

Ciambellone batter in a bowl.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and use a spatula to spread it evenly on the top.

Spreading evenly the ciambellone batter with a spatula.

Bake the cake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and place it on a cooling rack.

Ciambellone cake freshly baked on a cooling rack.

Let the ciambellone cake sit for 10 minutes and then carefully remove it from the pan.

Ciambellone cake removed from the pan on a cooling rack.

Allow to cool down completely then dust with powdered sugar on top and serve.

Recipe Notes

  • All ingredients must be at room temperature.
  • Make sure you don’t overmix the batter or the cake will turn out too dense.
  • Do not open the oven door to check the cake in the first 30 minutes or it won’t raise well.
  • If you see that 50 minutes have passed and the cake is not done yet, cover it with foil to prevent the surface from browning too much and keep baking at 8-10 minutes intervals.
  • For the original ciambellone shape you will need a tall ring-shaped pan. If you don’t have it you can use a bundt cake pan or a 9″ (23cm) round pan.
  • Make sure you grease and flour the pan well so the cake won’t stick to the pan.
  • If 4 teaspoons of baking powder sound too much for you, try with less, but be aware the cake won’t be as tall as it’s supposed to be.
Ciambellone Italian breakfast cake on a rustic table with a cup of cappuccino on the side. Seen from above.

How To Serve

Ciambellone is a cake that Italians eat for breakfast along with cappuccino or coffee. Is usually just dusted with confectioner’s sugar on top and that’s it.

But often is also served as a snack in the afternoon (la merenda) with tea or a glass of cold milk.

However, nothing wrong with serving this cake as dessert, especially if you drizzle it with chocolate or caramel sauce and add a scoop of mascarpone gelato on the side.

How To Store

  • You can store the cake in a container with a lid and leave it at room temperature for 4-5 days.
  • As with many cakes, don’t leave it without covering properly or it will dry and become hard.
  • You can also wrap it with cling film, this is my favorite way of storing it because it stays nicely soft.
  • You can also freeze it for up to 3 months. Wrap it with cling film and place it in a resealable bag so it will stay moist.
  • When ready to eat, thaw the cake at room temperature and enjoy.
  • Or you can also warm it up in the oven for a couple of minutes.
Ciambellone Italian Breakfast Cake Recipe.

Ciambellone | Italian Breakfast Cake

author Maricruz
Prepare this delicious Ciambellone at home in just a few steps and enjoy it in the morning with a foamy cappuccino. The recipe is very simple and so easy to make!
prep 10 minutes
cook 45 minutes
total 55 minutes
serving 10

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (300g)
  • 1 cup white sugar (200g)
  • 4 medium eggs (7.75oz /220g)
  • ¾ cup plain unsweetened yogurt (180g)
  • cup vegetable oil (80g)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • powdered sugar (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Grease and flour a ring-shaped pan (read notes). Heat the oven to 360°F (180°C).
  • Put the eggs into a mixer bowl, and add the salt. Mix for 1 minute on medium speed.
  • Add the sugar and mix on high speed for 5 minutes.
  • Add the lemon zest and vanilla extract. Continue mixing on high speed until you get a fluffy, light yellow mixture (see video).
  • Add the oil and the yogurt, and mix for a few seconds at medium speed so that the ingredients combine well.
  • Place a strainer over the bowl and sift the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
  • Mix for a few seconds at medium speed to combine everything.
  • Pour the batter into the pan and use a spatula to spread it evenly on top.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  • Remove the ciambellone cake from the oven and place it on a cooling rack. Allow resting for 10 minutes.
  • Carefully remove the cake from the pan and place it on the rack to let it cool completely.
  • Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Notes

  • All ingredients must be at room temperature.
  • For a fluffy and soft cake, make sure you don’t overmix the batter.
  • To make the cake rise nicely, do not open the oven door in the first 30 minutes.
  • If you see that 50 minutes have passed and the cake is not done yet, cover it with foil to prevent the surface from browning too much and keep baking at 8-10 minutes intervals.
  • For the original ciambellone shape you will need a tall ring-shaped pan. If you don’t have it you can use a bundt cake pan or a 9″ (23cm) round pan.
Nutrition Information
Serving: 1slice | Calories: 269kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 322mg | Potassium: 100mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 96IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 145mg | Iron: 2mg
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9 Comments

  1. It’s in the oven. Had to use satsuma rind and strawberry yoghurt though…..
    Oh and didn’t have a ring shaped tin.
    Smells delicious. Thanks.

      1. I am curious to try this. I make a similar one with double the oil. I use the zest of 2 oranges and 1 lemon using a peeler and chop them fine in food processor with the sugar.

    1. Hi Susan, here in Italy, baking powder comes in small bags of 16 g, that’s about 4 teaspoons and I always use 1 bag to make the batter.

      It doesn’t taste bad or ruin the batter, believe me. Have you tried? or maybe you want to try first with less baking powder and see how it goes?

      By the way, this ciambellone is about 9 inch tall.

      1. Thanks for responding. I will try using the usual baking ratio, 1tsp. per cup of flour and see how it goes. I will let you know.