Best-Ever Ciambella

published Nov 9, 2021
Ciambella Recipe

This lemon and olive oil breakfast cake pairs perfectly with a foamy, dreamy cappuccino.

Serves8 to 12

Makes1 bundt cake

Prep15 minutes

Cook40 minutes to 45 minutes

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Ciambella (an Italian round cake, like Italy's version of a bundt cake, traditionally eaten for breakfast). on a white plate with a few slices cut.
Credit: Olivia Mack McCool

Imagine you’ve woken up by the seaside in Italy to the smell of salty air and lemon groves. Then you’re greeted with a hot cappuccino and a slice of the most perfect, not-too-sweet lemon and olive oil breakfast cake. This is that cake.

Ciambella is a classic Italian cake eaten at breakfast time with coffee. Italy is known for lemons and olive oil, so it’s only natural that they flavor this traditional recipe with both. The addition of ground fennel is optional but adds even more of that Italian flair.

Credit: Olivia Mack McCool

Do I Need Any Special Equipment to Make Ciambella?

The beauty of this cake is how easy it is to make. You don’t need a mixer — just a couple of bowls. It’s traditionally baked in a Bundt pan or tube pan, but I imagine that in a pinch, a round or square cake pan would work, too. Just check on your cake earlier that the recipe instructs, as it might take less time to bake. 

What to Serve with Ciambella

Coffee! Think like an Italian and serve this snack cake with a foamy cappuccino or freshly made espresso. You’ll think you’re sitting on the Amalfi coast. Its beautiful round shape would make a beautiful centerpiece to a breakfast or brunch spread, surrounded by fruits and other fixings like yogurt, cheese, and cured meats. 

Ciambella Recipe

This lemon and olive oil breakfast cake pairs perfectly with a foamy, dreamy cappuccino.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 40 minutes to 45 minutes

Makes 1 bundt cake

Serves 8 to 12

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray

  • 3 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon

    baking powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    ground fennel (optional)

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 2

    small lemons

  • 1 cup

    olive or vegetable oil (or a mix of both)

  • 1 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1 cup

    whole milk or whole milk yogurt

  • 3

    large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Generously coat a 10- or 12-cup bundt pan with cooking spray.

  2. Place 3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground fennel seed (if using), and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl; whisk to combine.

  3. Finely grate the zest of 2 small lemons (about 2 teaspoons) into a medium bowl. Add 1 cup olive or vegetable oil, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup whole milk or whole milk yogurt, 3 large eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Whisk until fully incorporated.

  4. Pour the oil mixture into the flour mixture and stir, scraping the bottom of the bowl, until just combined and no dry flour spots remain. It’s okay if the batter is slightly lumpy. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.

  5. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the edges are golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Flip the cake out onto a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: This cake can be made up to 1 day ahead, cooled, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, and stored at room temperature. Dust with powdered sugar right before serving.

Storage: Leftovers can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for 4 to 5 days.