Ciambellone, an Italian Favorite

Ciambellone al LimoneToday’s recipe almost didn’t have a picture to go with. As soon as out of the oven, the ciambellone was half devoured by my husband.


3 eggs

300 grams sugar (it should be 1 1/5 cups)

300 grams of whole purpose flour (it should be 2 1/2 cups)

1 tablespoon of baking powder

the zest of two lemons

1 cup water

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

a pinch of salt

For the icing:

2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

4 tablespoons of sugar.

Preheat the oven at 325F. I used the Kitchenaid to whip the sugar and the eggs, then added in a few batches the flour mixed with baking powder , the salt, and the lemon zest. Between batches I added the water and the extra virgin olive oil. I poured the batter in a Bundt cake pan and let it bake for 50 minutes, until it was golden. I added the icing and let it rest for the one minute it took my husband to find it.  The icing isn’t necessary, but I like lemony desserts. Instead of the lemon icing, nutella or jam can be used.

The story behind the recipe:

At my house, this Bundt cake is known as, ‘il ciambellone della Signora Checca,’ which more or less translates into, ‘Mrs. Checca’s Bundt cake.’ Mrs. Checca was a nice lady who introduced my family to this staple of the Italian desserts tradition. She shared the recipe with my mom, and my mom eventually shared it with me and my sister. The original recipe unfortunately doesn’t fare well with the American ingredients. From flour to sugar, everything is different here. Any time I tried to bake the ciambellone, it came out good, but never as the one I remembered from my youth. Last year, I passed the recipe to two friends of mine. While they were writing down the ingredients, instead of the eleven tablespoons of water required, one of them put down twenty-two. The ciambellone was baked with the altered quantity of liquids and surprisingly turned out great. So I implemented the serendipitous discovery into the recipe and started experimenting with the extra virgin olive oil as well. Instead of the two tablespoons of evoo the original recipe required, I used half a cup. The rest is history.

Ciambellone, an Italian Favorite