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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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!