Today’s recipe has a guest cook: Simona, performing in Nonna Lella’s own “ciambellone”.
“Ciambellone” (literally, “big donut”) is a typical family cake of the spongy, sandy variety, very common in the Marche and subject to so many variations that a cook friend of mine one day noted that the Marche have about a hundred typical cake recipe, all of them a ciambellone” (hi Rolando!).
Arguably the dullest cake on Earth, the ciambellone’s disarming simplicity can become addictive. At breakfast, it’s healthier and more satisfying than biscuits, and tastier than bread while still being spreadable (I suggest raspberry marmalade).
Also, its simplicity makes it a perfect candidate for last-minute occasions.
Simplicity of course masks important details: too much milk will make it too soft to spread. Heating the butter too much will make a firmer dough, quite unlike it ought to be. The desired result is something like sponge-cake, without the spongyness. Easier said than done…
Which is why we are ppublishing Simona’s grandmother’s own recipe, refined over some 50 years. Show some respect.
Apron-to-dish: 1 hour; SoHo time: 15 minutes.
What you’ll need:
- 500g all-purpose flour
- 250g white sugar
- 125g butter
- 4 eggs, whole
- 1 lemon peel, grated
- 100g whole milk (or less, you decide how friable you like it)
- 1 packet vanillin
- 1 packet baking powder
Turn on the oven and set it to 180°C.
Put eggs, flour, sugar, vanillin and grated lemon peel in a large bowl and mix.
Put the butter in a small pot on medium heat until almost completely melted. You want melted, not liquefied: turn off the heat before the butter turns into a transparent liquid.
Add the milk to the butter, then pour the mix into the large bowl. Mix, add baking powder, mix again.
Generously butter the inside of a non-stick baking pan, pour in the content of the bowl, bake for 30 to 40 minutes.
A ciambellone out of the oven smells delicious, therefore it is extremely uncommon for it to reach the following morning intact (we often have ciambellone dinner). If you plan to use it for breakfast, cut and stow away some…