Nonna’s Classic Ciambella

Ciambella della nonna

ciambella ring cake recipe

The classic ciambella, like the crostata or the torta di frutta, is a simple country cake for which every grandmother in Italy has her own recipe.

They are often known as torte di credenza (sideboard cakes), because they are dry cakes made without cream and therefore keep well without refrigeration.

As a child, when visiting his grandmother’s, Mario Matassa would always run to the sideboard to see what was in store for his mid-afternoon snack. The classic ciambella was always a firm favourite.

➤ Makes 1 26cm ring cake

➤ PREPARATION 10 minutes

➤ COOKING 40-45 minutes


  • 400g self-raising flour
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 160g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 medium free-range eggs
  • 150ml tepid milk
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. This cake is simplicity itself: just throw all the ingredients into a large bowl and whisk together well. Grease and dust a ring-shaped baking tin with flour and add the cake mix.
  2. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C/Gas Mark 4 for 40-45 minutes. You can if you wish, decorate the top of the cake with sugar sprinkles or chocolate drops; simply sprinkle these on top of the cake before baking.

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