The Ciambellone is the sweet symbol of every Abruzzese nonna (grandmother). Recipes vary from nonna to nonna. Some incorporate a touch of sweet, citrus-scented liquor; some a spoonful of cocoa powder; and others a sprinkling of crusty, crystallised sugar on top.
This recipe is based on the recipe used by Lucia at my favourite B&B in Roseto degli Abruzzi. Grazie Lucia per la ricetta!
Lucia's Ciambellone with cocoa
Serves 6-8 people, depending on how hungry!
- 300 g plain (all-purpose) flour
- 150 g sugar
- 3 whole eggs
- a drop of vanilla extract
- a pinch of salt
- 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 glass of milk
- 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder
- 1 packet of lievito per dolci (16 g) if you can find it *
- butter and a little more flour to grease the pan
* Substitute 1 tablespoon of baking powder & 2 teaspoons baking soda if you can’t find lievito. See picture below.
- Add all dry and wet ingredients, except the cocoa, into a bowl.
- Using a hand mixer, mix for 15 minutes until blended thoroughly.
- Heat the oven to 150 centigrade (@305 F).
- Butter and flour a ring (kuglehopf/bundt) pan.
- Add half of the batter to the pan.
- Sift most of the cocoa onto the batter and gently run a skewer through in a wave pattern to mix the cocoa in (this will give you subtle stripes of cocoa, not a chocolate cake).
- Pour the rest of the batter into the pan.
- Sprinkle the remaining cocoa on top in a random fashion.
- Cook in the oven for about 35 minutes or until done.
- Allow to cool on a rack then turn onto a plate.
- When cool, sprinkle with a small amount of confectioner’s sugar to serve.
Delicious for breakfast, morning tea or afternoon coffee break (pretty much anytime, actually).
The ‘lievito per dolci’ is pictured below, along with a serving suggestion for breakfast! There are many brands available in Italy but I have never noticed it in Australia.