Ciambella Romagnola - An Easy Italian Ring Cake

Lemon zest on plate
Cheryl Tan / EyeEm/Getty Images
  • 60 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Yield: 1 10-inch cake (8-10 servings)
Ratings (5)

Barbara Lucchi and her husband Riccardo Menghi run the Vëcia Cantêna d'La Prè restaurant and wine bar in Predappio Alta, a pretty hilltop town in the mountains southwest of Forlì, a city in the central Emilia-Romagna region.

Her Ciambella Romagnola, the traditional cake of the region, is quite easy to make. It's wonderful for breakfast, dipped into warm milk, cappuccino, or a caffè latte. It's also nice at the end of a meal, either with a glass of dessert wine or drizzled with zabaione, a fruit sauce, or a simple lemon glaze.

Her one word of warning: Don't scale the recipe. It works perfectly as-is.

What You'll Need

  • 1 1/4 cups/250 grams sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (she uses Italian grade 00, plus additional flour for dusting the cake pan)
  • 1 cup/250 grams unsalted butter (melted, plus additional for greasing the cake pan)
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 1 cup/250 ml milk
  • 6 teaspoons baking powder (or two 16-gram packets of lievito chimico, the Italian equivalent of baking powder)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pearl sugar (coarse sugar/decorator's sugar)

How to Make It

  1. Preheat your oven to 360 F (180 C) with the rack in the lower position.
  2. Butter the ring mold; be thorough, and then flour it, tapping it upside down to remove excess flour.
  3. Put the granulated sugar in a deep mixing bowl and crack the eggs into it. Beat with an electric hand mixer or stand mixer set to low/medium for 3-4 minutes, or until the mixture is a creamy yellow. 
  4. Add about a third of the flour to the egg-and-sugar mixture, and beat the batter for about a minute. Add another third of the flour and beat for 1 more minute.
  1. Add the melted butter and beat for another 30-40 seconds.
  2. Next, add the lemon zest.
  3. Beat in half of the milk, and half of the remaining flour. Then beat in the rest of the milk and the rest of the flour.
  4. Add the baking powder and beat it in. The batter will be quite creamy. (You can add another tablespoon of milk at this point if the batter seems too dry.)
  5. Pour the batter into the pan, using a rubber spatula. Give the filled pan a couple of quick shakes, and tap it once or twice against your countertop to level the batter and break any large air bubbles.
  6. Sprinkle the coarse pearl sugar over the top of the cake. 
  7. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Edited by Danette St. Onge

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 435
Total Fat 23 g
Saturated Fat 13 g
Unsaturated Fat 7 g
Cholesterol 155 mg
Sodium 487 mg
Carbohydrates 54 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g
Protein 5 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)