Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman
As someone with a serious sweet tooth, one thing I love about Italian breakfasts is how they tend to be focused around pastries and sweets. After all, is there anything better than a strong espresso alongside a sweet treat? Ciambella is a delicious classic Italian cake that’s traditionally eaten for breakfast, and it’s incredibly simple and easy to make. Light, fluffy, tender, and with a great aromatic flavor of lemon and olive oil and a touch of fennel – it really is perfect with espresso in the morning!
In Italy, this cake will often be eaten alongside some charcuterie and cheese. For me, I think it’s great for special occasions – and it’s a fabulous hostess gift, too.
This can absolutely be served up as a dessert, too – and it’s a win-win because any leftovers can be breakfast anyway! While it’s delicious on its own for the mornings, you can dress it up with whipped cream and berries or citrus segments for a beautiful Italian dessert.
- 3 eggs at room temperature
- 1 ¼ cup sugar
- 3/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest from 2 lemons
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1 large lemon
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground anise or fennel seed
- Powdered sugar to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Position a rack one above the center position. Spray the inside of a 9 or 10 inch bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, use a band mixer to beat together the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy and pale in color, about 3 minutes. Add the olive oil, milk, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla extract to the bowl and beat again on medium speed until smooth and combined. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and fennel seed to the liquid ingredients and beat on low speed until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for approximately 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out without and crumbs. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Carefully invert the cake onto a wire rack and cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.