Italian Language Blog

Ciambella allo Yogurt Posted by on May 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

The most traditional Italian home made cake is without doubt la ciambella, a ring-shaped sponge cake which, in recipe books, is often called la ciambella della nonna (Granma’s ciambella) to make it sound more ‘authentic’. To bake una ciambella you need a ring-shaped cake tin, but if you don’t have one you can always use a normal round cake tin, and place an empty can (e.g. an empty tin of tomatoes) in the middle in order to create the characteristic hole. This is what my mother used to do when, as kids, we lived abroad in a country where ciambella tins were not available. The problem with this method is that the can tends to move about a bit when you pour the batter in, and during the cooking and rising process, so the final result looks more like a flat tire than a ciambella!

Allora, here is a very simple and healthy version of the traditional ciambella. N.B. To quickly measure all the ingredients you can use an empty 125 gram yoghurt pot if you have one (equivalent to 150 ml).

Ingredienti: Ingredients:
1 vasetto di yogurt bianco
3 uova
2 vasetti di zucchero semolato
3 vasetti di farina 00
buccia grattugiata di 1 limone
mezzo vasetto di olio di semi (girasole o mais)
1 bustina di lievito in polvere
un poco di latte
1 small pot of plain yoghurt
3 eggs
2 pots of caster sugar
3 pots of plain flour
grated rind of 1 lemon
half a pot of vegetable oil (sunflower or maize)
2 heaped teaspoons of baking powder
a little milk

Preparazione (Preparation):

Grease a ciambella tin, and dust it lightly with flour. Preheat the oven to 180°C, 350°F.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Add the eggs, yoghurt, oil, sugar, and lemon rind, and beat using an electric whisk, until pale and creamy like batter; if it’s a bit stiff just add a little milk to it.

Pour the mixture into the ciambella tin, and bake in the oven for about 50 minutes until well risen and firm to the touch. Turn off the oven, but leave the cake for another 5 minutes before taking it out.  Leave it to cool in the tin.

Variazioni (variations):

You c0uld use the grated rind of an orange instead of the lemon peel, or add some vanilla essence. Other variations include: adding some pine nuts or other chopped nuts, raisins soaked in liqueur, or candied peel.

Buon appetito!

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  1. Kathryn:

    mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! (I don’t know how to write that in Italian.)

  2. Allan Mahnke:


    Tante grazie!!

    Kathryn & Allan

  3. Edna Gee:

    Sicuramente provero’. Preferisco le ricette come questa che ‘e semplice ma ancora buone.

  4. nick:

    Lol. I’m sure this is a great cake..BUT..what on earth does a ‘pot’ measure? I am a pastry chef. I don’t want the recipe for myself I stumbled on this site while researching Italian. I am English and laugh when I see a recipe with a stick of butter in it, since a stick of butter is always different from country to country. Remember folks this is the WWW! Love the look of the cake though.

  5. nick:

    i’m sorry I just read the recipe properly I see the Pot weight now. I will hit myself.

  6. Mattia:

    Hahaha do you like ciambella eh? is not my favourite italian sweet, but is very good choice from our recipes! If you don’t understand who i am yet, i’m mattia, battlefield’s friend! 🙂
    i can sudgest some interesting variations of this traditional ciambella type!
    A salt ciambella! (called Babbà Rustico, or Torta salata)
    or other ingredients to add to get other ciambella type!

    • Geoff:

      @Mattia Ciao Mattia, rimani sintonizzato, stai per diventare famoso col tuo primo blog:)

      A dopo, Geoff

  7. Gianroberto:

    I have seen Nigella Lawson on her program called Nigellissima making a yogurt ciambella where most of the ingredients are the same: whisk 3 egg yolks, 1 pot of yogurt, 2 pots of sugar, 1 pot of vegetable oil, 1 pot of cornflour (or potato starch), stir in 1/2 lemon zest, 2 capfuls of vanilla extract. Whisk the egg whites and fold into the batter in 3 goes, beat strongly the first one and gently the other 2. Pour in a savarin mold and bake for 35 mins in a moderate oven (??), I guess moderate means 180deg.
    Whatever one does you always have to test with a skewer to see if it is cooked.

  8. Clarke:

    Reply to Gianroberto

    Nigella does not use baking powder. She whisks the egg whites as you noted. She also adds cornflour. From her original recipe “Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4/350°F”.

    Regards bjmc

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