This delicious classic Italian ring cake is simple, fast and butter-free.
By Elisa Gennari
Basically every person I know used to have, as a child, what we call “ciambellone” (big doughnut). I don’t think in the 70s and 80s in Italy there were women who did not know how to bake this delicious cake (obviously every household had its own recipe..).
Unfortunately, for the last two decades many moms seem to have forgotten how to bake their children an healthy and home made snack and had replaced it with ready-made ones, rich in sugars and preservatives. Recently, though, there has been a change of direction and many mothers are becoming more aware of the importance of food habits in children, and have started again to bake their own cakes.
You don’t have to be and expert chef to cook this simple cake and it’s amazing to prepare it with the kids. It’s so easy they can make it on their own. It tastes like old days, it is the perfect comfort food. Can you find something more simple?
I remember when I was a little girl my mom used to bake this cake and many variations of it, quite twice a week to make me and my sister have a healthy snack in the afternoon. Nowadays I would also say that it’s not only healthy for your children but it also really cheap, you will need just 5 simple ingredients. You can also add your personal twist by adding raisins, chocolate chips, nuts or everything you like, I’ve made it a couple of times with matcha green tea, it was awesome. I recommend you try it with chocolate chips and pecan or with a mix of grounded spices such as ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves…it will always be perfect.
To get the original shape you will need a ring-shaped pan, but if you don’t have it you can use a plumcake pan or a 23cm round pan.
Some tips to make some changes to this cake:
1. Richer taste: You can substitute milk with yogurt, or cream if you want to prepare a richer cake.
2. To make a marble cake: you use 250gr of all purpose flour, then divide the batter into two bowls and add 50 gr of cocoa powder into one. Then pour the dough into the pan alternately.
3. Apple variation: slice two apples and line them over the batter in the pan, dust with caster sugar and bake.
4. Whole grain variation: use whole grain flour – spelt, oat, wheat or a mix
5. Dairy free: use soy milk instead of regular milk
Now let’s bake our cake!
- 3 eggs
- 300gr (2 and ½ cups) all purpose flour (or 270gr - 2cups whole wheat)
- 200gr sugar (1 and ½ cups)
- ½ glass of vegetable oil (1/2 cup)
- 1 glass of milk (1cup)
- 15gr baking powder, that should be 2 and a half teaspoons
- orange or lemon zest, grated
- 5gr of butter to grease the pan
- Preheat the oven at 180/200°C (350/390°F). Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix it with a whisk, or put them into the food processor and turn it on. Mix until evenly combined.
- Grease your baking pan with butter and then add some flour and move the pan to even distribute the flour on the surface. Add the batter and cook for 40 minutes. You can check if it's ready by piercing the cake with a skewer. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready.
- IMPORTANT! do not open the oven in the first 25 minutes or the cake will collapse
Elisa Gennari was born and raised in Rome, with a true passion for home made food. Her goal is to share her ideas about eating delicious food while still staying healthy. In her blog she teaches her secrets on how to cook Italian recipes, always with a healthy twist.