A ciambellone is a simple, sunny Italian tea cake with lemon zest and a rich crumb typically baked in a tube pan, which gives it a torus shape, i.e. the appearance of a doughnut, which is, in fact, what Google Translate tells me is the translation of ciambellone. As I can never resist the siren call of either an everyday cake or a doughnut, I am unequivocally here for this.
When someone told me last month the version at Caffe Marchio — which is described as a “rich, Italian-style bundt with a lemon glaze” — is one of her favorite cakes, and even found the recipe on the internet for me (subtle hint, there), my first thought was: but wait I already have a lemon cake that I know and love. Ina Garten’s assertively lemony lemon pound cake is a Top 5-level cake classic; you bring it to housewarmings, as host gifts, to teachers; everyone loves it. So, I broke the recipes out into proportions and found that the Caffe Marchio version uses oil instead of butter, more of it, a bit more sugar too, a combination of mascarpone and yogurt instead of buttermilk, and a lot less lemon. Why should I make a more rich, more sweet, and more mildly flavored cake than one I already like, you might ask? I mean, I did. So, I made them both, fully doubting that there was anything new worth needing to know in the land of citrusy tube cakes, and the ciambellone stopped me in my tracks.
It has a glorious, indescribably perfect crust, yes, crust. Even when I overbaked it, it was still one of the best parts of the cake, second only to the lush, plush crumb within that not the tiniest bit dry, no basting of simple syrup required. Rather than having to wait that impossible wait for it to fully cool to glaze it, you slather on a more glossy one when the cake is piping that sets into a finish that looks exactly like a glazed donut. How did I resist putting sprinkles on top of something called a doughnut? I don’t know, either, but I trust you’ll do the right thing.
One year ago: Best Hot Fudge Sauce
Two years ago: Funnel Cake
Three years ago: Herbed Summer Squash Pasta Bake and Chocolate Chunk Granola Bars
Four years ago: Cherry Almond Dutch Baby
Five years ago: Pickled Vegetable Sandwich Slaw
Six years ago: Triple Berry Buttermilk Bundt
Seven years ago: Blueberry Yogurt Multigrain Pancakes
Eight years ago: Strawberry Ricotta Graham Tartlets, Crushed Peas with Smoky Sesame Dressing, and Chocolate Doughnut Holes
Nine years ago: Spanikopita Triangles and Neapolitan Cake
Ten years ago: Pistachio Petit-Four Cake and Sweet Cherry Pie
Eleven years ago: Dilled Potato and Pickled Cucumber Salad
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Salted Butter Chocolate Chunk Shortbread
1.5 Years Ago: Pimento Cheese Potato Bites
2.5 Years Ago: Eggnog Waffles
3.5 Years Ago: Jelly Doughnuts and Endives with Oranges and Almonds
4.5 Years Ago: Eggnog Florentines, Linzer Torte, and Breakfast Slab Pie
Ciambellone, An Italian Tea Cake
Written below is an 80% level of the cake, as I’d found the original too voluminous for some bundts. Bundts are generally 10-cup or 12-cup; the one shown here is 10-cup and the original volume nearly overflowed and took so long to bake through, the edges got too dark, although they still tasted amazing. I’ve also shown this cake in a ring pan mostly because why make it a little doughnuty if you can make it a lot, right? For this pan, I recommend a 60% level of the original cake, as it holds only 7 cups.
This recipe recommends you use a plain, not Greek-style, yogurt. If you only have Greek yogurt (like me), simply replace the last tablespoon of yogurt with water. The original recipe calls for lemon zest in the glaze but I skip it because I thought the texture would be distracting.
- 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons fine sea or table salt
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- Finely grated zest of half an orange
- 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (325 ml) neutral oil (such as sunflower, safflower, grapeseed or another vegetable oil)
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (about 185 grams) plain, not Greek, yogurt (see note)
- 1/2 cup (120 grams) mascarpone cheese
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (20 ml) vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 3 cups (390 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup (120 grams) powdered sugar
- Scant 2 tablespoons (30 ml) corn syrup
- About 3 tablespoons (45 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
Place sugar and salt in the bottom of a large bowl and use your fingertips to rub the zest into it. This abrasion helps release the most flavor from it. Whisk in oil, mascarpone, yogurt, and then eggs and vanilla until smooth. Sprinkle baking powder over batter and whisk it thoroughly into the batter, a good 10 turns around the bowl. Sift flour onto batter and use a rubber spatula to stir just until batter is smooth.
Drop batter in large scoopfuls equally around your cake mold, then smooth, and drop on counter a few times to ensure there are no trapped air bubbles. Bake for about 40 minutes (times will range by shape and volume of pan), checking in at the 30 minute mark to rotate the pan for even coloring, and to ensure it’s not baking faster than anticipated. Cake is done when a toothpick or tester comes out batter-free (crumbs are fine).
While the cake bakes, make the glaze: Whisk sugar, corn syrup, and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice together until smooth, adding the last tablespoon of juice just if needed. You want this glaze thick, thicker than your regular drizzle glaze, because we want it to stick to the sides of the cake when it’s hot.
When cake is done, let it rest on a cooling rack for 3 to 5 minutes, then remove it from the pan — yes, while piping hot. Brush glaze evenly over the top of the cake, and sides if you wish. Chef Weiss says “Use all of the glaze! Don’t be cheap.” And I listen to her. Glaze will set as cake cools.
Cake is good at room temperature for 4 days. I loosely, really loosely, cover it with foil.
422 comments on ciambellone, an italian tea cake
Wow – seems like a lot of salt for a cake – why so much?
Sounds like a lot to me too. It’s exactly right and the resulting cake is not salty at all. It’s a big cake, that’s also why it will seem like a lot of sugar, oil, flour, etc. But it all works.
I made this cake with the listed amount of fine sea salt. I’m a big fan of salt in sweets, but it was too salty for me. If I bake it again I’ll use two teaspoons of Diamond Kosher salt.
Two guests who don’t normally like sweets thought it was delicious.
I agree. It was much too salty for me. I wonder if perhaps her table salt is actually kosher salt (half as salty as standard table salt). I will try it again using kosher to see if that fixes the problem as it was VERY salty when I made it.
Deb, do you think this would hold a shape if baked in little cakelet forms for a tea party? 💕
I made this in several mini loaf tins and it worked just fine! Unfortunately, I don’t remember how many cakes it made, but the loaves were darling!
I definitely think so!
I made this in two 6 inch Bundt pans and it was beautiful! It girls suck a lovely dark crust that holds the shape.
I made this cake this weekend with the listed amount of table salt – it was a bit saltier than I’d have liked both as the batter and the finished cake (and I LOVE salt). This could just be the difference of table salt vs. fine sea salt, though.
Next time around, I’ll try cutting it back to 2 tsp, which I think should be about perfect, but I’ll taste the batter as I go to be sure.
Salt aside, this turned out great!
For the record, I also needed about 5-7 extra minutes to reach full done-ness, but I baked in a bundt.
Yes, I’m going to cut back to 2 teaspoons too. It tasted a little salty. I too used a bundt pan and had to add another 10 minutes. Still it was very good. Surprisingly light. It tasted Italian!
I loved this so much. It is sweeter than I normally like but it’s lovely with the citrus. The only sub I made was equal parts agave instead of corn syrup in the glaze because I was out. Will make again.
So much salt?
I need this in my life! Ina’s lemon cake is a staple.
Also – can I use 2% Greek yogurt or whole only?
Whole is best in baking but I’m sure 2% won’t be a huge problem.
I am excited to try this recipe! I don’t have mascarpone, can I use the equivalent amount of cream cheese instead?
I haven’t tested it with cream cheese but my hunch is that it would be okay. It’s a bit more dense. Maybe cream cheese minus 1 tablespoon that you replace with cream or milk?
I use cream cheese all the time and it’s just fine. Favorite cake ever.
I just used orange blossom honey goat cheese, to avoid a trip to the store. It’s in the oven, but the batter tasted amazing!
I know some might consider it a typo, but glaze makes me glad, so…..
” Brush glad evenly over the top of the cake, and sides if you wish.”
Lol, I’ll change it anyway because it seems like a key part.
I would like to use this recipe.
Thank you for sharing.
Can I replace mascarpone to sourcream⁇
Is it okay to use the same amout?
I can’t wait to make this–maybe as soon as I get home from work! Sadly, I have neither a bundt nor a tube pan. Could I bake this as loaves or (possibly, adorably) as mini-loaves? Also, cheers to the official start of summer and end of school!
It should bake up just fine as loaves, you could make two.
A local library has a whole bookcase of baking pans that patrons may borrow like books. They’re in large plastic bags with instructions. Brilliant idea! Ask your library to do it!
Oh my I need that in my life. And if it dies nit exist here (Netherlands)yet, I now know what to do with my life!
(Sorry for early morning typos!)
Love this cake! I just made it for my quarantine birthday. Because of what I had on hand, I subbed ricotta for mascarpone and used Greek yogurt with a Tablespoon of milk. The cake was perfection!! I was also missing corn syrup for the glaze and it still came out shiny (and delicious!) with 2.5T lemon juice. Thanks, Deb, for providing recipes that are reliably spectacularly delicious!!!
I accidentally bought “extra fine” granulated sugar at the store instead of regular sugar. Do you think that extra fine would be an ok substitute for regular granulated sugar in this recipe, assuming I use the metric measurements?
Can I use anything to replace mascarpone cheese?
Ricotta would work, maybe sour cream or cream cheese.
Absolutely brilliant. Next we need this for Vitamixes and KitchenAids and Food Processors. But mostly obscure baking pans. :)
What a fantastic idea! I bet my town would go for one of those… hmmmm…
Oh, Deb. How did you know I was nostalgic for our Italy trip two years ago? How did you know I needed cake for breakfast, immediately? Is it possible to be grateful for a cake recipe?! My day is transformed!
Lemon and tea are perfect. What a delicious recipe.
It reminds me a little of a quatre-quart, or poundcake. But the measures are a bit different. Sounds maybe more moist/less dry–a good thing.
So wait, what’s the verdict? Ina’s or Ciambollene? Maybe you purposefully avoided that, but since you made both I really have to ask, which one will be made again?
Both. They’re good at different things. Make Ina’s if you want an assertively lemon cake. It’s a lot of work — zesting, juicing, making a syrup, basting it on, glazing it later, etc. It uses 6 lemons the way I make it and 8 the way she does. (I’m working on an update to streamline it, but it still a lot of work and bowls.) This is gentler. I think the crumb is more rich; because you’re not basting with a syrup, it keeps a very nice crust/edge. Because it’s an oil cake, it tastes more moist in general. It’s a lot less work and uses a lot fewer lemons (one, in fact). The glaze is just as lemony as Ina’s so it might not be as obvious that the cake is less so.
Thank you for that side-by-side comparison! I have found your comparison descriptions so helpful in the past when I’m trying to decide between two recipes (I’m especially thinking of the comparison in the post for the giant chocolate cake you made your father-in-law).
TYSM for this. I’m about to try it, despite Ina’s lemon pound cake ruling here. Don’t know if I can bring myself to use glaze (don’t use for her recipe, either, think it’s too sweet and a dusting of confectioner’s sugar is fine) but definitely up for less work. Ina’s cake, while perfection, is very labor intensive. TY!
I just made this cake for probably the 20th time. I used 1.5 tsp of mortons kosher , an extra egg and used the glaze. It was wonderful . With fresh strawberries and whipped cream and extra lemon zest its exceptional.
Turned out fantastic. (Didn’t make the glaze) I only used 1tsp salt, and I ran out of yogurt so half of it was 0% Greek. Also used vegetable oil. I recently took a triple to Italy and was trying to replicate my favorite breakfast cake, this comes 99% close!!! The one in Italy was a bit dense but the taste was the same. Also I used a bundt pan.
I only have whole plain Greek yogurt. What can I use to substitute? 2 % Milk and this yogurt?
I’ve made this trying different yogurts and it has never turned out as good as when I used what the recipe called for,
I just made this using full fat sour cream instead of yogurt. Tasted really good..
After being sick for over a week with no appetite, this is the first thing that woke up my taste buds! Thank you, Deb. I shall get right on it!
Could I use canola oil in the cake? I’ve honestly never known if it was a neutral oil or not…..
Yes you can and yes it is.
Erivan yogurt (if you can find it) is delicious and works great for these cakes !
Yay! Erivan is from our town in PA. Definitely use it if you can.
I’ve been wanting to make an olive oil cake, but now this looks perfect, so I’m going to try swapping it with some (!!!) of the oil and see what happens.
Ah ha! Scrolling through the comments to see if anyone was thinking olive oil. I too have been dying for an olive oil cake! <3
Possible sub for corn syrup in the glaze? Thanks :)
With most recipes, I suggest things like honey or maple syrup or, if you can get it, golden syrup but I’m not so sure here. Corn syrup provides a shine that I’m not sure the others will.
Just use some butter!
A recipe for ketchup written by a Moroccan uses simple syrup. I thought it worked fine in that case!
I made this and found I had no corn syrup (thought I did since I almost never use it) so remembering a cooking class in HS (remember you used to have home-ec?) I subbed – get this – pancake syrup. (Not pure maple syrup, but that Aunt Jemima’s stuff.) Yes, it really is nothing but corn syrup with flavoring. I did pick up the taste a little in the glaze but once it was on the cake, did not taste it at all, and didn’t affect the color or anything.
i don’t have a tube pan for this, but i have a donut pan for cake donuts which i may turn this recipe into, because you said the word donut/doughnut several times unconsciously planting the desire for donuts into my stomach.
Me too. I made a 1/4 recipe and it was perfect for six donut sized cakes. Subbed cream cheese and Greek yogurt as I’m making this during Covid quarantine time. They were perfect and delicious. Thanks for this recipe.
This looks like something I would make today for my yesterday birthday. Unfortunately my Market here has no mascarpone or full fat yogurt, so it will have to wait. I will just have to make a pie and wait to get the proper ingredients. There is no such thing as “too many” lemon cake recipes.
This cake looks divine w my afternoon cup of coffee!! I have leftover ricotta, do u think swapping it for the yogurt will be ok?
Sooo just made it!! Used ricotta instead of yogurt & mascarpone bc i had some that needed to be used. It’s delicious!!! I glazed it and looks great also, My question is how do i store it for tomorrow without making it soggy & sticky as usually happens when i try to store muffins etc…??? Thank you, love your site!!
Do you store your muffins in a closed container? I find lack of airflow gives them that gooey film. Try covering them very loosely with foil or keeping the container lid cracked open.
This looks *amazing*. I am dying to bake it.
What does this mean: “Written below is an 80% level of the cake, as I’d found the original too voluminous for some bundts.” If we have a regular bundt pan, are we supposed to do math/fractions to scale up the recipe???
No, this works just fine in a 12-cup. (It’s equivalent in volume to the Ina Garten lemon cake, which has never seemed scant to me in a bundt.) However, if you’d like to make an extra large one (it’s truly huge), and your pan allows it (you can check here if yours is NordicWare, just find the match and open the link; will definitely need one that is 12-cup) you can use the proportions in the original recipe, which is linked at the top of this recipe.
Yum! We just got back from Italy, where we dunked a similar cake into dessert wine (usually vin passito or sciacchetra). Will have to try with this one!
Where did you get the tube pan? I’ve never seen the like!
I found it online.
Thanks for the link to the tube pan (savarin mold), Deb. I need one in my life! Do you recommend the classic or the nonstick mold?
I have the nonstick because it gives me less to worry about!
Think I could sub something for the mascarpone or is it absolutely necessary? Trying to save a little money if I can ;)
It will probably work with sour cream or creme fraiche (erm, not necessarily less expensive) too.
Try this – I use it all the time.
Thank you for this great tip!
This looks so good! It might just be the thing to cure me of my “can’t stand to be in the same room with the stuff” yogurt phobia. Even better, could I substitute sour cream?
Sour cream should be just fine here.
I only had about a half cup of yogurt and used sour cream for the rest and it cam out perfectly.
By the measurements, it appears that you might be able to make this into a 9″x13″ sheet cake. I make my carrot cake that way and it is an oil based cake…but I know that some cakes are baked in a tube or bundt pan so that the middle will bake at the same time as the sides. Do you think it could be baked as a sheet cake? If not that, I suppose I could bake it in an angel food cake pan. Thanks for this lemony recipe. Lemon cakes are the best!
I think it could be in a sheet pan, however, I like the more interesting crumb from a deeper cake. I’d be more tempted to put it in two loaves.
I made it in a 9″ x 13″ rectangular pan (as I couldn’t find my Bundt pan anywhere). and it was delicious although not nearly as beautiful. I think I will try it next time in loaf pans. I had only a bit of mascarpone so subbed in some lemon-flavored yogurt and it was still perfect. Yet another fail-proof recipe from you, Deb! I’m going to make this again for my mom’s 94th birthday in a few weeks.
Am I the first to bake this?!? I subbed sour cream for mascarpone and honey for corn syrup and the cake looks gorgeous… and it’s killing me not to taste it before I bring it to work tomorrow. It was super simple to put together once I oiled the fancy bundt pan and zested the lemon. Took 55 min to bake. Keeping my fingers crossed!
The crumb is wonderful, the glaze lemon-y. Concensus was a bit more lemon in the batter would have put this over the edge. to Lola M: yes you flip the cake out and then glaze the top. A bit scary but it came out in one piece! A definite winner, especially in a fancy bundt pan.
Thanks for giving the post mortem! I always want to know how a recipe turned out for others, especially if substitutions were made.
I was looking for a tea cake for my friend’s birthday tomorrow. I saw this and ran home early from work to try. It smells SO good.
Thanks for including weight-measures. I can’t wait to make this cake. I’m going to borrow a special bundt pan for it.
I think I know why the original recipe makes so much batter – it’s all in the name. Ciambellone = big ciambella.
Would there be enough batter to split it between two pans?
In the original, depends on which two pans. But I’d say no. It was just a little over for a 10-cup bundt and should be fine in a classic 12-cup.
I’m in the UK and corn syrup isn’t so easy to find. Anything I could use instead? Thanks 🙂
Gillie, try golden syrup instead.
I’d use golden syrup.
Same problem here. I used maple syrup. It was great. Not too sweet (which is what I’d feared) and the glaze still tasted of lemon, not maple.
I make many, many bundt cakes and I do find that often the batter is too much volume for my decorative pans. My solution: use the extra batter for one of my three-cup bundt pans so I have an extra cake that I can eat immediately (if I plan on sharing the larger one). It’s never a bad thing to have extra cake.
Do you don’t flip the cake over when you remove it? I’m used to the bottom of a bunt cake pan being the top of the baked cake. My bundt pans are decorative on the bottom so I’m not sure this would work.
For the ring, that’s the logical thing to do — also extra doughnut-y. But I flipped mine back just because I liked the slightly flatter, craggy top so much.
Thank you for this recipe. It looks wonderful. I have a 10″ angel food pan, so there should be no problem with the amount of batter. However, I’m always nervous about flipping warm/hot cakes, especially flipping them twice. Is this cake unusually sturdy or should I use my Bundt pan so I only have to flip it once?
I think either will work. For flipping the second time, I just put a cooling rack on the top, grip it and the cooling rack below tightly, and flip it fast.
I have convection ovens and if I want to use them as a no-fan-style oven, it takes forever to heat up. Would it be possible to include the convection temp and baking time since more & more homes are being built with them?
My go-to lemon cake has cream cheese & butter from a late ’30’s north TX women’s group that taught indigent women, which was most of the area after the stock market crashed, how to cook on a tight budget. Apparently there were enough dairy cattle that they made not only their own butter & cream but cream cheese as well. Anyway, it takes 6 lemons since a glaze is part of the recipe & I have to say it’s to die for, though time-consuming to make. Having visited Italy & experienced a Florence version of this cake (which I loved), I’m anxious to give this a whirl. Thanks so much!!
I cannot because I don’t have a convection oven to test in, unless it’s as simple as a straight translation (such as Celsius).
I heat my oven with convection and switch the fan off when the temperature is reached. If you cannot switch off the fan try the baking at 20F lower.
The manual that came with my convection oven said to bake at 25 degrees less for the same amount of time. I haven’t had any trouble in nearly 3 years of frequent use adjusting this way.
Wow this is something that is just to my liking.
How ever…(excuse now to follow), I am not that fond Bundt Cakes.
I have the ring mold you show (Mmmmmmm).
In your recipe you say this this is a 60% level (?)
What are the ingredient amounts for 60% level cake – Please
For the 60% level:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon plain yogurt
6 1/2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Zest of about 2/3 lemon
Zest of about 1/3 an orange
Thank you for publishing the 60% calculation. We make this cake often in the larger size, and I decided today that I’d brave the math and make a smaller one – and here you’ve already done it for me! I’m grateful, Deb – thanks.
Lovely cake. It would be nice if there was a print button on your recipes.
Michael, there is. Look at the bottom of the recipe and there is a banner of small “related” pictures/recipes. Right below that are icons for saving to Pinterest, emailing or printing. :)
Just under the recipe, look for where it says “Do More” There’s a little printer icon among the group of icons. It prints just the recipe.
I would love to see a tinker for this recipe that replaces the mascarpone with a more common-place ingredient. The beauty of Ina Garten’s lemon cake was that I always had the ingredients on hand. That said, I can’t wait to make this – after I buy some mascarpone cheese.
Hoping this recipe will work with a good AP gluten free flour…what do you think?
I haven’t tried it with one but it’s probably the best approach here — let us know how it goes if you can.
I made this with 2/3 Paleo flour from Bob’s Red Mill, but didn’t try the KA Gluten-Free. Worked like a charm! Super-yummy and kept well. I put it in 3 small disposable loaf pans, as I was on vacation. Glazed them in the pans, and just left them in there. Oh, and used fancy double-cream yogurt and regular sour cream. And extra zest might have found it’s way in there too. I was wishing I’d just committed to all Paleo flour, but having never tried the recipe before… well, just a bit leery of heading completely off the rails.
Hi Deb! This looks amazing and I am going to try it this weekend. As a fellow New Yorker, who now lives in Denver, I wondered if you would recommend any changes to baking this at altitude.
Thanks so much!
Sadly, I have never lived in or baked in a place with a high altitude. I’d look to King Arthur’s tips for guidance.
It works just fine for me at Denver’s altitude! I do find it takes longer to bake, nearly 60 minutes in my convection oven at 375F in a tube pan.
Love the looks of this recipe and would like to make it soon. I am confused about using the ring pan you recommend, as the one I am looking at to purchase is 9-1/2″ round and less than 2″ deep. My question is : how much of the batter am I placing inside the tube pan ? Thank You. I too love Ina’s Lemon Cake
If you’re unsure about your pan, measure how much it holds in cups of water. Mine holds 7 cups. I needed a 60% of the original recipe to fill it without overflowing it.
i made this cake with a few changes to make it dairy(cow’s milk)free and it is absolutely delicious and moist. i even shaved off a few fat calories, though that wasn’t my intention: instead of yoghurt and mascarpone, i used goat’s milk kefir (in the same quantities). i also used the zest from an entire orange for even more citrus flavor. my last change was just an experiment that i think succeeded. i added 1/4cup of freeze dried trader joe’s raspberries, pureed with the sugars and zest in the processor to add a hint of another fruit flavor to the cake. it’s definitely something i’ll make again. thanks deb.
Here’s an authentic Italian recipe…I’ve made it several times. Makes a smaller cake in a ciambella pan! Small tube pan. https://blogs.transparent.com/italian/ciambella-allo-yogurt/
Delightful! I was pleasantly surprised by how well it worked despite my need to make modifications due to my dwindling kitchen supplies – I used 1 C mascarpone and 1/4 C sour cream for the dairy products and only 1.5 t baking powder. Still looked just like the pictures and came out of the pan without a problem. Lemony, rich, and just the right amount of sweet!
I love Ciambellone! It’s such an amazing Italian cake I made a few years ago after tasted it in Italy. I have to try making your recipe too!
I saw this yesterday & went out to buy the ingredients! It looks amazing. I’ll be bringing this to an event today. Looking forward to tasting
Don’t bake that cake with rape oil, you will not be able to ignore the strong taste.
Sorry, rapeseed oil.
Don’t bake that cake with rape oil, you will not be able to ignore the strong taste.
Made it this morning, and just tried it after lunch. Delicious! I love the texture and richness from the mascarpone & yogurt. Mine did stick in the bundt pan even though I greased and sugared well (at least I THOUGHT I did), but the glaze stuck the top bits right back on. Thanks for sharing…this is a keeper!!
This is delicious and so easy. In case anyone’s wondering, yes, you don’t need an electric mixer. I used a balloon whisk and then a rubber spatula to mix it. Literally eating a slice as I type.
It took about 15 minutes more to cook all the way through for my bundt pan, but I didn’t panic and it was done inside before it burned.
JUST MADE THE CAKE – SUPER SALTY. I USED MORTON’S TABLE SALT… HAS POTENTIAL TO BE DELICIOUS
It’s super salty, to the point that it’s the most dominant flavor, not the lemon. It’s also a super heavy cake that takes well longer than the 40 minutes in the recipe.
Too salty to eat— naked about 45 min. Could have used a couple more minutes
Baked – not naked! Lol
Sorry to hear this. I’ve made this three times with this exact salt level and the salt isn’t even notable in the final cake; totally in the background. I’m not sure what would cause it. Table salt can be a tiny bit heavier than fine sea salt, but not enough to throw a whole cake or make it inedible…
Hi – table salt is quite a bit “saltier” than kosher salt, my usual go to. I’m less certain about sea salt. If using Morton’s Id say 1.5 teaspoons of table salt should be about right.
I’ve made this cake twice in the span of 2 weeks and they came out totally different. One was heaven and one was too salty, similar to the descriptions above. The only difference is I used 1 cup avocado oil and 1/4 cup coconut oil in the first delicious cake and the second too-salty cake was made with olive oil and coconut oil. Could there be a reaction to the olive oil that creates the salty taste? They really were 2 different cakes, taste-wise. It is a mystery.
Hmmm. I used mostly olive oil (was running out of sunflower oil) and did not have a saltiness problem. I used regular table salt for the salt.
I made this cake today, and everyone really liked it.
I reduced the sugar to 300g and skipped the corn syrup entirely, both worked out nicely.
Next time I will double the lemon zest and probably replace half of the glaze by lemon syrup – the cake‘s consistency is very nice, but I want it a bit more lemony.
This cake is awesome. I mean, I’m awed at how easy it was to make, and how delicious it is.
Followed the recipe for cake exactly. (okay, so I put the zest of 2 lemons in, plus the half orange). For the glaze I used maple syrup. Was a little concerned it’d taste too maple syrup-ey, so I added a little lemon zest. It was perfect, and perfectly delicious!
The texture of this cake was perfect—moist without being to dense with a great crumb. However, the lemon flavor was nearly nonexistent once you bite past the glaze. This was truly disappointing. It’s a fine cake to nibble on, but if you’re expecting a “lemon cake” look elsewhere.
I’m sorry for the disappointment but I had hoped to make it clear that it wasn’t a lemon cake. For a true, robust lemon cake, make the lemon pound cake from Ina Garten in the archives. This is a tea cake with lemon flavoring (and also orange and vanilla). Glad the texture was enjoyed.
You had me at “lemon” and “doughnut”! This cake was wonderful. Out of pure laziness, I substituted cream cheese for the marscapone (because it was already in my fridge), and ended up using half vanilla/half almond extract (due to an unforeseen vanilla shortage mid-way through the recipe, whoops). I am a long-time fan and I appreciate your dedication, humor, and good taste that never fail to inspire me to get into the kitchen!
Ooh how did it taste with the part almond extract? Sounds enticing!
Thank you very much for such a magnificent cake recipe! I got an amazingly heavy and old ring shaped pan from a garage sale this morning and had to put it to use. I didn’t have any mascarpone or orange so used sour cream and a wee bit more lemon peel instead. I also used Italian olive oil.
I do believe it’s the best cake I’ve ever made.
cheers from Ruth
It’s great with fresh raspberries and whipped cream, too.
This cake! Managed to impress my mom and aunt who are master bakers- having baked for decades. Also made the ranks as my dad’s new favourite cake. Thank you will be my new signature cake.
This cake was so easy to make and absolutely delicious! The crust is real and definitely reminded me of a donut! And the cake was really moist – actually made me feel like a real baker. Took this to a cookout and my friends ate it up then I ate it for breakfast the next day. We ate it plain but I can definitely see how adding berries would take this to the next level. Love your recipes Smitten Kitchen – if there were only enough outs in the day to make EVERYTHING you post!
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tbsp oil – is the 2 tbsp for something else or does it all go into the cake batter? I’ve been tripped up by this before :)
Worked it out from the milliliter conversion!
it all goes in the cake
Made this yesterday and served today. Alongside freshly picked blueberries someone brought over…
Was looking forward to having it again with coffee tomorrow morning, but it has been devoured.
I cook professionally and this is a recipe worth keeping!
Ok. I’m a teeny bit frustrated. Just made this as written. Cooked for 12 minutes longer than the recipe but my oven is typically slow/cool. I let it cool for 5 minutes and then it got stuck in my bundt pan. Really really stuck. Which I’ve never had happen before. I’ve made tons of SK recipes in the past and this is the first that has been a total failure. I think oil was a mistake for the cake pan. I’ll try this again but will butter my pan. On a hopeful note, it was not too salty.
Are you sure you baked it long enough? My oven runs hot and I still baked it for the whole 40 minutes, and I think it could have stayed in even a bit longer. I used sunflower oil on my bundt pan and did not have sticking problems.
Yeah. The cake was definitely cooked enough. It tasted great but was in pieces. I think it actually was on the verge of being overdone. I’m going to try again this weekend and will report back!
This is when you mix those delicious chunks with softened ice cream. Freeze for a bit and call it “Train Wreck”.
For those who are wondering, the ratios listed (including the salt, don’t worry) are PERFECT. I only had about 300g of white sugar so I had to make up the difference with light brown and I think it was a very wonderful “mistake”. I used a 12 cup bundt pan and added about 3 minutes to the cook time but that could most likely but due to our old gas oven not being quite to temp. This cake has “corner of the brownie pan” crust and SUPER soft inside, nothing like the over dense pound cakes you get from a coffee shop. I’m in heaven and my husband is too. Thank you!!
Delicious! I’ve found my new favourite cake. It’s so easy to whip up and it’s seriously addictive straight from the pan with ice cream, but easily just as nice on its own when cold. I didn’t have a large enough tin, so I split it over a small ring tin and a loaf tin and both baked up beautifully. Thanks Deb! :)
I should note for any fellow Aussie’s that I used self raising flour as a sub for the AP flour and baking powder – and had no problems with it, though perhaps the rise wasn’t quite as high as Deb’s versions, but it in no way effects the taste!
I just tried to make it and had to cook it for perhaps 15-20mins longer, however, the longer it had to bake the darker it got where the panned was coated with sugar. I finally took it out and in some places, it is still a bit wet but if I let this cake go anymore it will be in bad form. Any suggestions as to what I could have done wrong or to combat the caramelization? Do you think it depends on the coarseness of your sugar? Despite all of this it’s still yummy just not aesthetically pleasing to one’s eyes. Will try to make again but split between two pans.
I should have trusted the process a bit more. Though my cake is significantly darker in color then your cake it isn’t burnt nor gives off that taste. It is perfect in taste and structure. However, I will still try the splitting the recipe into two pans just to see if there is a difference.
Keep in mind what I noted, which is that my larger one got very dark before it cooked through but was still incredible. Didn’t taste burnt or toasty at all.
I made this yesterday. Due to shortages in my cupboard, I substituted 2/3 of the neutral oil with olive oil, and used maple syrup instead of corn syrup. I also didn’t have an orange so I skipped that. Even with all these changes, the cake looked gorgeous and tasted spectacular. A definite do-again.
I made this cake yesterday following the recipe exactly and it was delicious. Would definitely make it again.
This looks great and I want to try it however my son is allergic to dairy. I could get non-dairy yogurt, would that work? and what about for the mascarpone – that’s such a delicious flavor and I’m sure really adds to the cake, wondering how to replicate the non-dairy version of that or if I should even bother w/o the mascarpone?
Try non-dairy yogurt for both, unless you might want to try some non-dairy cream cheese. I might use less and then a higher proportion of yogurt, if so, because it’s so thick.
I made this cake tonight with two 150g so delicious unsweetened yoghurts and it turned out delicious!
I made this cake the day I got the post in my email (Friday) and my husband and I demolished the last crumbs last night (Sunday!) all by our selves. With native strawberries and a bit of whipped cream. All right, a lot of whipped cream. But the slices we ate for breakfast without berries or cream were also fantastic so the there really is no need to guild the lily. This cake will be in my regular rotation.
To replace the corn syrup I mixed 1 TBSP water with 1/4C sugar and microwaved until the sugar melted (1-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds) and then let it cool a bit and it thickened a bit. Then I measured out the needed amount. Worked great.
Any thoughts/input/advice on how or whether to turn this into cupcakes? I might just look up the pan conversion and go for it, but I thought I’d ask if you have any opinions on whether it’d be a good idea or not.
I think it would be fine but they might be more muffin-ish than frost-able cake-ish.
Thank you. I did it and it worked great, though the cupcake liners were awfully sticky with glaze, which I didn’t think about when imagining these as perfect finger foods. No one complained though. PS: I love the “new” site, though I didn’t at first…I was just so attached to the old site that I was slow to fall in love with the new one, but I finally have. It’s got so much functionality that wasn’t there before (that I wasn’t willing to admit until now).
It’s been 2 years! And another redesign is in the works. I just want to prepare you. :)
Deb! You were 1000% RIGHT!!! The cake was still fantastic! I have now made this cake four times. The second attempt I split the batter into two bundt pans. The bake time was just around 30mins and so far has become the standard way of making this cake. It is the perfect quick cake to have for guest who just so happen to stop in. You never fail me, Deb!
question: can I freeze this (bundt or loaves) and if so, with or without the glaze? Thanks.
Nooo!! JK, but I mean dang, it took me 2 years to get right with this. Although, I had nearly 10 years of loving the old one, so maybe my recovery time will only be a couple/few months this time. Fingers crossed! I’m sure it will be great :)
The goal is to smooth out and make more aesthetic things that were left rough around the edges last time. And add some features. Don’t worry, it’s going so slowly, it’s probably going to be another 9 months!
I halved this for one loaf pan and kept the same levels of citrus zest. I also substituted cream cheese with a little milk for the mascarpone. Oh, and reading over the recipe again I realized I definitely used 100% Greek yogurt, not plain. It was still very delicious — so, so tender and moist on the inside with just the kind of crispy exterior I was hoping for.
Can I make this as a gluten free version with ground almonds? If so how much ground almond do you use in place of flour?
I made half of Deb’s quantities into two donut pans (12 in all) and I also got 4 medium-sized muffins. Baked in a fan-assisted oven at 340°F for 14 minutes. Scaled down the glaze as well but it was just enough for the donuts. The crumb is fantastic but the glaze takes it on to another level… by any means do not skip it! I substituted agave syrup for the corn syrup, maybe it was because of this but the glaze was much thinner than in Deb’s pictures and ended up completely soaked in. Nevertheless – they were still awesome! Definitely a keeper. Now I can’t wait to make it in cake form as well ;) Thanks, Deb!
I am sure you will have seen this: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/03/magazine/holiday-cake-roman-lemon-breakfast.html
Must be something in the air…
Just make the NYT cake. A lot of steps and bowls. Can’t wait to compare this one.
Dorie Greenspan was similarly charmed by this cake (which she calls ciambella) at breakfast in Rome and shares her recipe in the New York Times Magazine on Sunday (posted online in advance of print publication). She recommends adding a cup and a half of berries during berry season.
Oh, thank you for posting this! I was wondering whether this cake would still work if I threw in some blueberries. I think I’m going to try it!
This looks awesome! I heard of ciambellone, but never got the chance to try it!
Cream cheese is a great substitute for mascarpone. Same texture and similar taste.
well I am a fan of Ina’s Lemon Pound Cake also, but I made this. Glad I did!
I am in England and love reading your blogs, I made this cake yesterday exactly as you said to do it and it came out perfect. The cooking time was spot on and to my surprise it just slipped straight out of the bunt tin. The taste was superb. This will be made again and again! Thank you for great recipes.
I made this lovely, crusty, slightly lemony cake today. It baked up golden, toothpick came out clean. But, a weird thing happened. When I turned the cake out of the pan a bunch of batter ran out of it. Huh? I’m an experienced baker, I’ve never had that happen before, ever. When we cut the cake the inside was underdone, and there was a big hollow space running throughout the whole cake. I had tapped the cake to remove trapped air bubbles. Any idea what happened?
Me too, and baked an extra 5 minutes, too. I could have written your comments.
Used tester in 2 places, both came out clean . your comments good be mine, word for word.
1 possibility occurs to me: maybe you didnt mix it thoroughly enough. and also-the obvious- you need to bake it longer, now that you know the time you baked it wasn’t enough-add another 10 minutes and poke the cake in several places and make sure you aren’t just testing it at the edges.
Sounds like it just needed longer to bake. It can help to poke the cake in a few places.
Thank you. Sorry you had this problem buy I had the exact same problem. I thought I had made a huge measuring error but I weigh all the ingredients. I went the full 40 minutes and it slide out of the pan well. I think my fancy rose Bundt pan is too deep and it needed an extra 20 minutes to finish cooking. I put it on another pan and back in the oven. It’s a little shorter than it started but it is delicious.
I will be making this tomorrow morning for mid morning tea. I hadn’t received an email from you in forever and it was like a long lost friend. I thought I wonder how big her kids are now. I’d first known you when you was just a mommy of one beautiful baby boy. Don’t tell me he’s in 4th grade, then I’ll know that I am so old…. So glad to hear about second book, that was my next thought, she must have written another book with scrumptious desserts with lovely stories. I always felt like I was having coffee with a friend in her kitchen and exchanging family recipes. That was the relationship I felt I had with you. And I am sure all your readers felt the same. That is what a great writer does, brings you in to her world, sits you down and shares wonderful recipes that I still use and your first cookbook still is in my kitchen in its slot next to my favorite cookbooks, with little butter stains, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
I made this yesterday to take to a 4th of July dinner and it was very good and well received. I was worried about too much volume in the bundt pan, so I made a small loaf also – but I could have used it all in the bundt pan. I did have to cook it for about 5-10 minutes longer to get a knife to come out clean. It was cooked through and I did not have the experience of it being under baked as some of the commenters mentioned. It came out of the bundt pan beautifully. It was a very nice tea cake and I could see making it for an afternoon tea or brunch. I think raspberries or blueberries in the batter would be a nice addition. I will make again.
I have a big question before I make this – and that has to do with the volume of the pan. I just read reviews for the ring pan linked above, and they said that the pan holds just 5 cups of batter. I ordered the Paderno ring pan because it was cheaper, and upon measuring it with water, find it only holds 4 cups. Has anyone else used a ring pan to make this? Does the batter not rise at all? How on earth does it not bake over?
A ring pan is too shallow; you’d want to use a tube pan – the cake will rise
If you pan only holds 4 cups, I’d just use half this recipe.
I made this for a 4th of July party and it was demolished in short order. One of the best desserts I’ve ever made or eaten! So easy to make!!!
Made this cake last weekend, it didn’t survive even two days. Incredibly moist and delicious cake with a light summer flavor, adding it to my forever recipes for sure!
I made it without italian tea and its kind of more citric flavor next time i will try it with italian tea.
I made this and it was delicious. I baked it in a bundt pan and it baked off perfectly! I did make the following adjustments. I decreased salt to 1 teaspoon. I’m glad I read the reviews. I also flipped the quantity needed for the marscapone and yogurt. So I used 3/4 cup of marscapone and 1/2 cup of (Greek) yogurt. Lastly I added 1T of limoncello. I will most definitely be making this again. Thanks for the recipe!
Oh Deb you’ve done it again. I’m having cake for dinner……and dessert and breakfast tomorrow. Rinse and repeat. I was a little skeptical because of all the oil and sugar but it is going to be a go to from now on. Love the texture. Glaze gives it just the right amount of lemon flavor. It does have a crust. It’s amazing. Also, I’m baking during a heatwave so you know I was dying to try this. Success!
PS at 30 minutes it still looked raw. At 40 minutes it looked under done. At 48 it was perfection.
I made this with minor tweaks and it turned out fantastic. My tweaks were: 1) used 1/3 cup of baking splenda to replace 1/3 cup normal sugar (couldn’t detect fake sugar taste at that level) 2) used zest from an entire orange 3) used gold’s syrup in glaze 4) used a mix of macadamia nut oil, walnut oil, avocado oil, and peanut oil- cake is delicious and cabinet is more spacious.
I made this exactly as indicated. IT IS INCREDIBLE. I love that such a one-bowl uncomplicated recipe can yield a cake like this. The crust. The crust!!! It’s exquisite. I also appreciate the detailed comparison with the other beloved lemon cake on Smitten Kitchen.
What a beautiful cake! I’ve never heard of this recipe before… I might try it for a party, or make it to go with my morning coffee. I always love discovering new, simple bakes. Thanks for the post!
This is WONDERFUL! I made it as written. I am not a huge fan of lemony things and it was clear from Deb’s descriptions that lemon was not the point of this cake. It’s lightly citrusy and such an interesting flavor. I just loved it.
I was alarmed when I actually saw the oil in the bowl and then measuring out all that salt – but my cake tastes wonderful so those were obviously the right amounts. So weird that some people had super salty results.
I do disagree with Deb and most of the commenters about just one thing – I don’t love the crust. It had to cook for so long (50-60 mins, i forget..) that the crust does have a bit of the burn taste. The glaze goes a long way to help that of course.
I will definitely be making this again!
Take 1 – under baked…. but I never imagined how much I would be baking with my 22 year old :)
Take 2 – in a hurry – had my new tube pan versus a borrowed bundt pan (no clue where my bundt pans are) my orange was kind of big, used most of it, used whole fat greek yogurt, was sloppy as far as measuring (and realized take 1 was no fat) used what was left in mascarpone container, didn’t even sift flour. baked 50 minutes, YUMMO perfect – the recipe actually seemed pretty forgiving during take 2. My son did the dumping and smoothing this time. The first time I was handing the ingredients to him.
In one of his senior English classes last semester, he suggested edible attendance – which I hear became very competitive.
what is “edible attendance”? never heard of it. Thanks!
edible attendance – I am not quite sure how it started, the faculty member loves to cook, it was a small class, it became competitive, (well to my son it was competitive) each student was assigned a class and cooked/made/brought something. My son did something along the lines of brownies, with cherries, marshmallows, icing… she made a pinata cake the last day of class, the photos were amazing. This is an instructor he has had before and really enjoys her classes. She isn’t an easy instructor by any means, but he feels he is challenged and learns. I like that she made attending class fun.
Engl 355 ? Communicative Practices and Play Theory
Thank you, Jane. How interesting.
I absolutely love trying various tea cakes and munchies to go with my morning coffee! This looks so great!
This cracked the glaze code for me! I have tried numerous times to recreate my favorite (far away) bakery’s almond poppyseed muffins that are baked without a paper and then glazed upside down. This glaze nailed it; also the cake is perfect and will be a go-to – so simple! Also, also, it totally smells like a doughnut to me but doesn’t have the guilty taste to it, especially with raspberry sorbet and/or lemon curd so yes, perfect.
On the Ciamballone, can it be made as muffins?
On the apple sharlotka, which I plan to make for Rosh Hashanah, could peaches, berries, pears, or plums be used instead of apples?
Yes and yes, although I haven’t tried either.
One more question on the apple sharlotka, Deb. Some recipes call for 8 tablespoons of butter. Yours does not call for any. What’s right?
I only know the way I make it, which is how my MIL makes it. So, that’s “right” to me. You might have time to try it both ways before the holiday — let us know your favorite.
I made this for July 4th and everyone LOVED it! They just kept cutting off more slices to “even it out” haha. But the same thing happened to me as happened to someone below; when we first took it out, it was a bit underdone in parts and also came apart while being turned onto the plate. Nothing that a little glaze couldn’t fix. :) I have it in the oven now to bring in and share with my fellow library employees!
This cake is phenomenal. Indeed, the crumb is as lush and plush as advertised, and the glazed crust as delicious, and it does indeed keep very well at room temperature. I’ll be making this forever. Thanks to Jessica Weiss for a fantastic recipe and Deb for sharing it!!
Couldn’t resist pitting blueberries. In the cake. I recommend flouting the pan. This was spectacular!!!!
I made this as a half recipe in a 10 inch cake pan, having no bundt at my disposal. I also cheated shamelessly because I wanted cake now, and I like more lemon, and who keeps mascarpone laying around, really? Changed the following:
– zest of 2 tiny lemons instead of 1/2 orange and 1/2 lemon
– 1 cup yogurt plus 2 tbs powdered milk, instead of 3/8 c yogurt and 1/2 c mascarpone
– extra generous with oil and sugar in the cake pan, cause I didn’t that yummy crust sticking to it (worked great!)
– half shot of bourbon added to glaze, because obviously I don’t know when to stop (the glaze tasted a bit medicinal, so I’ll skip the booze next time, but when it went on the cake it got better)
Turned out AWESOME. 5/5 will make again.
Well this cake jumped straight to being a #1 favorite around here. I loved the texture of both the crust and crumb but none of my testers thought there was a doughnut vibe to it at all. But maybe that’s because I couldn’t bring myself to make a lemon cake that wasn’t a lemon cake (sorry!), so I swapped 25% of the vanilla with lemon essence and added the zest of an extra lemon to the batter (but left inadvertently left out the zest in the glaze). I also took out a couple of tablespoons of sugar and didn’t miss it in the least. I love Ina’s lemon cake, and there’s a vegan (wacky) lemon cake that also has its place, but I think I love this one more.
My batter, by the way, was more like something you “pour” not “scoop”. Also took a full hour (and a few extra minutes) to bake but she was gorgeous. I made this in a 9″ spring form and it puffed up it the middle such that it was wearing a little crust “hat” that I literally had to slap my mother’s hand away from slicing it off and stealing it. (“But you could just re-glaze it. Or flip it upside-down. Who would notice?” Eh…Everybody?)
Such a great cake, and forgiving of substitutions! Due to poor planning and laziness, I made this with what I had in the pantry.
I added the zest of a second lemon, and substituted cream cheese for marscapone, and made my own buttermilk with milk and lemon juice. I made it at the 60% level since my bundt tin is about 2L/8 cups, and baked in about 40mins. Resulted in a beautiful, dense cake that was easy to get out of the tin too. Thanks Deb!
Thanks for this recipe, looking for to making this with my son!
This recipe is a keeper! I just made it a second time on vacation where I had to use aluminum loaf pans instead of a bundt pan (only thing I could find in the local store) but it STILL came out awesome! Had to sub sour cream also. The marscapone was a little better but I wouldn’t worry if you only have sour cream. Everyone wanted to know about the glaze … ended up with 4 TB and a wee more sugar for consistency. My fav cake!!
4TB 🍋 juice
I just made this and OMG, it is fabulous!
Subbed sour cream for the yogurt and took a pass on the glaze because I was making it for husband’s work lunches and he prefers ‘basic’ desserts. It was so tender and light I almost couldn’t believe it, although it took almost a full *70 minutes* in my Bundt pan. I covered the top with foil to avoid a burn situation.
Thank you for this recipe, Deb. Another winner!
Made this with my 9yo son Saturday morning; worked out great–mom loved it! (Reposting!)
Made this! Made one bundt and 3 small ones in a muffin tin. Muffin tin took 35 min, bundt took 50. Lowered the salt to 2 tsp of pink Himalayan salt per peoples suggestions and used canola oil. I had a few pieces of marscapone that had little chunks that I didn’t see until I add the flour so I recommend mixing that part a little more. Also sifting the flour is key. Next time I think I’ll add the marscapone and oil first mix then add the yogurt and mix a smidge more.
Also I didn’t have any oil spray so I did a combo of avo oil and butter.
Hello, Deb! I’m a new commenter, and I want to thank you for being a reliable place in the often overwhelming world of food blogging. When I need a recipe for anything, I come here first because you only post tried and tested recipes! I just made the ciambellone tonight, and, I had such high hopes… but I can really really taste the oil! I used canola, which is neutral, so I’m sad that it comes through so strongly. Is melted butter in the volume equivalent a viable option or would that affect the recipe? Thanks, again, for being old reliable through the years, and I appreciate any feedback on this particular recipe!
Was the canola old or maybe off? It really shouldn’t come through. It’s, by definition, flavorless. Melted butter normally works as a replacement but I know the chef behind this recipe felt that the texture is better with oil.
And thank you — I’m so glad you’re enjoying the site.
This cake is AMAZING!!! My family cannot stop eating it! I can’t wait to make it again.
I love the flavor of this cake, but the process was very strange indeed — I only needed one loaf pan (I tried this recipe twice), and it took far, far longer to cook both times — like 60 minutes at least.
Now, I will admit that I changed the recipe a bit — all of the orange zest (I love citrus!) and I always cut the sugar down by about a third. And I used sour cream cut with a little milk for the yogurt (I find them interchangeable). But one loaf pan? Odd! And the baking powder was brand-new. Regardless, the cake was light in flavor and texture and really delicious! I’d like to try it again soon. Wonder how some lime/coconut/spices might go?
I baked this yesterday in my VERY hot kitchen (no AC) and it was so worth it. The crumb was rich and moist and the lemon glaze was zingy and superb! This recipe is also very forgiving of substitions. I used coconut oil and a bit of olive oil, halved the sugar (yep, only used 200g), and 2 scant tsps of Morton’s table salt. It cooked for 50min in my bundt pan and flipped out with ease (used butter instead of cooking spray). Had it for dessert last night and with coffee this morning. Yum!
What a lovely cake. Being that we’re in full summer swing, I omitted the lemon and orange zest. Instead, I used strawberry Icelandic yogurt from Trader Joe’s and strawberry extract. Then I used lime juice in the glaze rather than lemon juice. So good. A simple, stunning, delicious cake.
Wow, this was amazing! I substituted grapefruit zest and halved the recipe, it was still quite large (maybe for 6). My crust wasn’t as deep brown despite following the other directions and using the same heritage Bundt pan, but still very good :)
Best cake EVER!
I made this as per the recipe using Rice Oil and it was perfect. Thanks Deb – another winner!
Any thoughts on making this in a 9 by 13 pan? Or in 9 inch rounds?
It should work but I do like the textural contrast of a deeper pan.
Deb, I made this last night for my mom, who is at home recovering from a double mastectomy. She loved it, and so did the rest of my family. Her favorite part of anything is always the crust, and this was no different. The cake is perfectly balanced, and simply delicious- not to mention, very easy to assemble. Thank you for a lovely recipe!
I have made this twice using an angel food cake pan. It took about 10-15 min longer than the recipe — maybe due to the thicker round. The similarity of this cake to an old-fashioned doughnut inspired me to try something different the second time. Instead of zest, I added 1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg to make it taste like a traditional cake doughnut. Then I mixed maple syrup and powdered sugar to make a maple glaze — topped with a bit of sea salt. Turned out well — same great crumb, and the crust soaked in maple glaze was really good.
I made this last night for feeding to my co-workers. (The husband isn’t a big cake fan, his loss). Followed cake recipe perfectly, but didn’t have enough powdered sugar, so I made a boiled syrup glaze with 50% blood orange and 50% lemon juice(since that’s what I had around).
Its gotten great reviews, no comments on saltiness or nuffin, and since I had that beautiful nordicware bundt like yours in the pic I used it. So great. While the cake was warm, and I poured hot glaze on it, I added Demerara for the pretty, and its a stunner!
This is more of an overall rich, basically citrusy cake, whereas the Ina cake is all lemon kaPOW. Both great in different ways. Nomnomnom.
Is there a way to print the recipes – don’t see a link for that?
There is a print icon that leads to a print template at the bottom of each recipe, where it says “DO MORE:” You can also click CTRL + P from any recipe post and it will take you to a streamlined print template.
I’m not sure what went wrong here – my batter was definitely not scoopable, I could only pour it into the pan. Maybe the metric measurements didn’t match up for me? Also, I’m not sure how everyone else doesn’t seem to have this problem with such a long bake time, but the sugar on the pan quickly caramelized and caused the outside to overcook far more quickly than the middle set. The result is a really dark, squat cake. I have an oven thermometer, so I know that my temperature was accurate, not sure how to get the results everyone is posting about.
What kind of pan did you use? My batter was loose but I like to spoon/scoop it in to make sure it’s getting into all of the nooks and crannies and not creating big pockets of air. When a cake gets too brown on the outside before it sets inside, it benefits from being baked a lower temperature, even if your oven is accurate. That said, I note that this cake gets very dark but never tastes burnt; it actually tastes perfect.
Hi Deb! I halved the recipe and used a light-colored nonstick 8×4 loaf pan. I will say, the taste and crumb inside the crust was lovely, but the outside did taste a bit bitter/burnt. I might try greasing/flouring next time instead of sugaring, and reducing the oven temp to 350.
LOL, you guys and salt comments…..in Italy, they make this “plain”, and a heavily salted version!
It sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing that. You made me think of my childhood. I’m Italian and our housekeeper used to make it for us in the afternoon in special occasion. It was much simple than yours, but still delicious.
This looks lovely! However, in the UK corn syrup isn’t really a thing, and I don’t think golden syrup would be a good substitute, would it. Can I ask what would be a good alternative?
Also, your apple bundt cake is so amazing that my dad asks me to make it, and he doesn’t even really like cake or cinnamon; it’s THAT good! Thank you, Deb x
Karen, I’m from Italy and substituted the corn syrup with agave syrup the first time I made this, and with plain glucose the second time. With the cake decorating craze sweeping Italy, I have no trouble finding small tubs of glucose even in non-specialist shops. I guess corn syrup keeps the glaze from crystallising, and for this any inverted (liquid) sugar will do (even honey, if you don’t have taste-related issues).
I love this recipe as is and have made it a couple times. As Thanksgiving approaches, I am wondering if you think it might be possible to sub pumpkin puree in for the yogurt? Then perhaps make the glaze with maple syrup instead of corn syrup. Has anyone thought of doing this or would this be a disaster?
It might work but I think that this pumpkin bread has a similar-ish density/moisture/great crust? I cannot say for sure without trying them side by side, of course.
Just made this cake and if it is as good as it looks and smells it will be one I make often. I noticed the comments about salt but followed Deb’s advice and used fine sea salt as directed. Fingers crossed. I was worried that if I reduced salt I should also reduce baking powder and then decided I better follow the pro. I think it’s important that the mascarpone be soft before adding to the recipe…. I used only the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in the glaze and it seemed perfect. Mine took about 45 minutes to bake. I used a Nordic Ware bundt pan which said not to use baking spray so I buttered the pan first and then sugared.
Hi Deb, I love lemons, love everything Italian & I’m a new yorker!
That said, could I have over whisked the ciambellone that it finished very oily and not bright and lemony in color but tan ?? Or maybe bak pwd is outdated. I used 1 1/4 vegetable oil = 2 tbsp, maybe olive would be better. :((
thanks for all you do! denise stiles
I don’t think so. The cake is on the dense side but shouldn’t be unpleasant or anything, there should be a good edge and a rich center.
In the print copy there is NO flour…
I made this. I’ve been eyeing it since Deb posted it a few weeks ago and bought myself the Gobel tube pan over the holidays. I subbed the mascarpone for cream cheese (because I had 4 bricks leftover from NYE…), flaxmeal for the eggs, and I forgot the orange zest. Still, it was fabulous. I like the earthiness from the flax too. I only flipped it once because I lost my nerve to do it the second time. It’s lovely.
I made this as written and it’s awesome. I didn’t find it too salty at all. It’s also easy and uses one bowl which I appreciate because there isn’t much clean up. This is also not overly sweet. I will make this again for sure.
Made this as directed using 2 and 1/2 teaspoons of regular iodized Morton’s table salt and I’m sad to report that is was quite salty. not inedibly so but it tasted almost savory, like I was expecting cheese or something. If you’re using regular table salt, I recommend to reduce it a bit. the glaze is delicious and it had a good texture though.
This took about 10 extra minutes to cook through for me. By that time, the outside was burned. The cake inside was delicious though. Not sure how fix that problem other than using g a different size pan that is not so deep. I used a standard bundt pan.
I just had to try this & I failed miserably. So disappointed as I have never had a fail in baking. Followed the recipe, all seemed good, baking it a bundt pan, checked it after 30 minutes (not done), checked it at 40 minutes (toothpick came out clean), let it sit for 5 min. & cake came out of the pan easily then all of a sudden all this raw dough came out! OMGoodness can not believe it! So, I ate the cooked pieces & the rest went in the garbage… 😟
Made this exactly as written except, per previous comments, I used 2 tsp kosher salt, and it took over an hour to bake through completely in a bundt pan- slid effortlessly out of the pan and oh! That crunchy crust! Bravo! I’m a household hero now.
I just Have to reiterate: THIS IS A PERFECT CAKE.
I have a beautiful 12-cup Kaiserbuss domus bundform pan I’ve never used, and now I have this wonderful recipe I’m going to make for a weekend with the girls. Do you use caster sugar to coat the pan?
made this again and it’s just about perfect! used greek yogurt so added 1 T of meyer lemon juice instead of the water. and used zest from one whole orange instead of half because why not. in a convection oven, for those of you who use convection, it took 1 hour on 350. love love love
oh forgot to say, in a tube pan
Was a disappointment. Would not make this cake again.
I have made this cake twice and I loved it both times! The first time, I made it in a bundt pan; the second in two 8″ x 4.5″ loaf pans. I didn’t have any cooking spray, so the first time, I wiped the pan with oil, then tried to sugar it. Um, don’t do that. Spectacular fail and the cake came out in two pieces, but thanks to its high moisture content, I was able to place it back together and no one was the wiser.
Second time I used butter and sugar on the pans and the cakes slipped out cleanly. My other sub was to use cream cheese rather than mascarpone both times. A wonderful cake with that delightful dark crust and perfect sweet/tart glaze. I think it tastes even better on day 2.
Both times the cakes took about 50-55 minutes to bake
Side note that this cake is not tagged to “cakes,” which made it harder for me to find the first time.
Thanks for the heads up — now fixed! Glad you’re enjoying the cake.
This cake is perfection. I made it exactly as directed and it tastes and looks perfect. I used a 12 cup Bundt pan, and it needed to bake for about 48 minutes. Deb, thank you for consistently providing incredible & detailed recipes! We met may years ago briefly…you were dining at my bar at Island Creek Oyster Bar in Boston. I think you were in town for a book signing. I was thrilled to meet you! Thank you again for the best cooking resource out there.
Hello! I’m a little late to the ciambellone party but plan on making this awesome cake for my childrens’ teachers for teacher appreciation week. I need to make two and will use bundt pans since I have two of them. Here’s my question: when you double recipes for baking, any tips on ingredients (do you just straight up double it with precision?) and guidelines for baking time if you want to bake two at once so as not to make it a whole day affair? Thanks for any tips!
I wouldn’t have any concerns about doubling this.
I made this an almond poppyseed cake by swapping the mascarpone for almond paste, replacing the zest with 2 tbsp poppyseeds and using 2 tsp almond extract instead of vanilla, with 1/2 tsp almond extract and 2 tbsp milk in the glaze instead of the lemon juice. Oh wow this is a winner, now I don’t have to order from a bakery 6 hours away to get my fix!
Has anyone made it in two round layers? I was thinking of using for strawberries and lemon cream
This is an excellent recipe. The cake is simple and elegant, rich and moist. I made it as written except I subbed in calamondin zest for the orange zest and calamondin juice for some of the lemon juice in the glaze. And I reduced the salt to 1 and a scant half teaspoons of fine sea salt. Highly recommended, especially since it’s so easy to make.
Could I use maple syrup in place of corn syrup?
With most recipes, I suggest things like honey or maple syrup or, if you can get it, golden syrup however I’m not positive here. Corn syrup provides a shine that I’m not sure the others will.
i am lactose intolerant. is there a substitute for the mascarpone that would work well?
Is there anything to substitute for the corn syrup? I just don’t have any and don’t want to buy a whole bottle for one recipe.
With most recipes, I suggest things like honey or maple syrup or, if you can get it, golden syrup however I’m not positive here. Corn syrup provides a shine that I’m not sure the others will.
I used glucose syrup cos I had some in the cupboard. It worked fine. But I reckon you could just use the lemon juice and sugar, and a little butter to help it set.
Hi Deb! Just made this cake tonight and it is phenomenal! I used a bunt pan and it turned out of the pan beautifully, however, the outside of the cake (except for the underside – or top while baking) got pretty dark. The inside of the cake is baked perfectly. I suspect it was from the sugar I used to coat the pan because the top never got dark. Would it be worth trying to grease and flour the traditional way next time for a lighter cake? Or would this effect its release from the pan while hot? Thanks for another amazing recipe!
I was afraid of the sugar. I used baking spray and they popped out beautifully. I dusted liberally with powdered sugar after glazing to get a little crust. It was delicious.
It might be the sugar, or the pan. You can definitely skip it and still have a great cake.
How long would you bake two 6 cup bundts?
Update: the batter filled the two 6 cup bundts perfectly and I baked for 32 minutes. They were gorgeous.
Thanks for the update — good to know.
All of my favorite recipes are from Smitten Kitchen. This is one of the best yet! I subbed Sour Cream for Mascarpone. Decreased salt a bit, added a bit more orange rind as my lemon rind wasn’t in the best shape. This cake is absolutely incredible! This is the cake that pound cake wishes it could be! Perfect texture, perfect sweetness, hint of citrus without being overpowering. Thank you Deb!
I have just started cooking and baking with Crystal diamond salt which I know is different than Morton’s salt. I know the measurements would be different in recipes and would like to know which salt you used.
I use Diamond brand for kosher.
I made this today exactly as the recipe is written. I kept it in the oven for 34 minutes as the tester was clean and the crust was brown. It was absolutely delicious!!!
I made this yesterday, and subbed in sour cream I had in the fridge, instead of the mascarpone, and 2x lemon zest as I had no oranges.
It’s wonderful. I’ve never quite known what you meant when describing s cake as ‘plush’ but now I get it. Just gorgeous and smooth and springy and moist and…plush!
Now I’ll have to make your other lemon cake too, for research purposes.
It looked so beautiful when I took it out of the oven and even out of the pan. Then I put on the glaze and in two places it split apart.The cake is still together. I only used 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice for the glaze. Was this too much? Should he glaze been even thicker?
Eating it tomorrow – still think it will be delicious but I worry about the texture.
To continue – the we sliced this beautiful cake – it was hollow inside, all around the inside. It did not cook and there was raw batter inside. We ate the cooked parts and it was delicious.
Thinking of lowering the temp a bit a cooking longer.
Any other suggestions?
I’m wondering if per the instructions you gave the batter-filled pan a couple of good bangs on the counter before putting the pan into the oven. I’ve had problems in the past with some cakes forming a big hollow air pocket in the center, and the pre-oven whacks seem to settle the batter evenly.
If the cake is too dark on the outside (although keep in mind, this cake gets dark, as shown and mentioned, but still tastes amazing) before it’s baked through, a lower temperature and longer bake could help.
In which place did the cake split?
I halved this recipe to bake in a loaf pan with no issue. It took the full 40 minutes to bake through. I kept the zest at its full amount, as other commenters suggested, and had to sub some sour cream for the yogurt. Didn’t have corn syrup but the glaze went on fine.
Hello from sunny (!) Edinburgh. I made this cake today and it was delicious. Amended to centigrade oven and it took way longer than 40 minutes, took an hour ten (covered with greaseproof for the last 30 minutes to prevent burning). I had cut down the salt already to 2tsp (and we Scots loooooove our salt), would cut it down again to about 1.5tsp and think it would be perfect, Love your site, lots of great and yummy stuff :-) Catriona
Other than halving the salt, I made this in a bundt pan, as written. It was a bit worrying to see what looked like a dry sugar crust on the outside, but inside the cake was moist and oh-so-lemony. Flavor improves on day 2 or 3. This is a great cake. If you want to dress it up a little, some fresh berries and a little whipped cream will go nicely.
by the way, when I made the cake a second time, I subbed in some fiori di sicilia extract (which I had on hand) for half of the vanilla. It enhanced the orange notes, I think.
This was delicious. I have an old bundt cake pan that is 10 inch in diameter. The finished cake was almost 2 inches tall. baking time was about 50 minutes but once it “dried” out…some leakage of liquid into the oven from the bottom of the pan…I knew it was done.
Has anyone added blackberries or blueberries?
I added blackberries last year and it was amazing. About to do it again!
I have a love/hate relationship with this cake. I love that it is so easy to make and ridiculously delicious. And I hate it for the same reasons (but not really, I mostly love it). I’ve made it at least 6 times this year, I’ve never had mascarpone on hand, so have subbed more yogurt or sour cream or plain kefir instead and it’s still amazing. Sometimes I’ve used both orange and lemon juice in the glaze and that is delicious. And – for my niece who can’t have dairy, I recently made it using oat milk yogurt (or probiotic oat milk) and it worked perfectly and was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone at our Christmas in July (in August) gathering. Thanks so much for this. I will be making it regularly for quite a while…
Can this cake be frozen?
I froze it to save it for my sister and it was wonderful.
This cake was absolutely stellar. I made it with ev olive oil because that’s what I had. I made it in a standard angel food cake pan. Although I set the oven to the indicated temperature, it took considerably longer – 15 minutes – to cook, so the outside was quite dark by the time I finally pulled it out. Regardless, I slathered it with the glaze and it was a massive hit. It had the most beautifully fragrant, olive oil-y cake consistency. Thank you!!
Loved this cake. I made it by the recipe, but did add a bit of very finely grated zest to the glaze with good results. I like this so well I’ve ordered a ring pan.
Now I’m wondering what other recipes you’ve listed on your site that might work with this pan. It makes a very attractive, simple presentation.
Made this cake twice. I did not use the sugar in the pan to bake 2nd time cuz first time I suspect it made the cake brown too quickly where the pan touched it. I also used 2 tsp of kosher salt instead of table or sea salt. It was perfect. I didn’t see the need for corn syrup in icing so I omitted it and it was fine. I too wish for a wee bit more lemon flavour in the cake itself. I used avocado oil for the oil and it was great.
I’m obsessed with making this cake and making variations. Yesterdays Covid less supplies variation was with 2 1/2 cups flour . 1.5 cups sugar, no cheese, 2 cups squeezed frozen sour cherries and 1.5 tsp almond extract And 1 cup Greek yogurt.
Yes it’s a different cake but absolutely delicious
Even without a glaze
Deb, is there a substitute for the mascarpone? Normally I would run out to the store for it, but during these shelter in place times that’s not possible. Thanks in advance!
I don’t have a tube pan and am confused by the 60% and 80% references. Do I make 80% of the recipe or fill 80%? And can I use cream cheese instead of marscapone? Not sure I can get the good stuff during quarantine. Can’t wait to try this!
I scaled the recipe down to 80% of the original because it was too big for most bundts. The recipe here is the result. What size pan are you planning to use? That will determine how much of this recipe you want to use. The 60% recipe is for a specific, unusually-sized tube you see in one of the photos.
Gotcha! I’ll be using my granny’s super heavy Bundt. It should make a great crust!
Hi. I want to make this in the ring pan you pictured above. So, would I adust the recipe to 60% of the recipe you have listed? So for example, the flour would be 240 grams? Looks delicious!!! thank you.
Used a dark Bundt pan. After 5 minutes out of oven the cake would not come out of pan, however a bunch of the top of cake fell out which was not cooked. 45 minutes in oven. I needed to use a rubber spatula to loosen sides and bottom so I could get the cake out of pan. It was sufficiently dark on the bottom. Maybe lower oven temp and longer bake time. Wondering if I should have greased and floured the dark pan instead of coating with sugar.
But the worst part is that it isn’t a very lemony flavored cake so was disappointed mostly in flavor and therefore will not try again.
I prefer a more prominent lemon flavor as well. I think it’s mentioned in the post that this isn’t meant to be a lemon cake, but more of a tea cake with a lemon background.
If you do want to try again, I suggest doubling the zest and adding a squeeze of juice to the batter. When I make this recipe, I also add zest to the glaze. The super flavorful oils add a lot of punch. With those two changes this becomes much more of a lemon cake than a tea cake with a bit of lemon.
As for the sticking issue, I found I really need to get a good bit of grease in the pan. More than average. And I have to be equally as generous with the sugar- really coat the pan with it. Hopefully this helps if you decide to give it another go!
Stunning cake, and just what I needed today. Thanks for the reminder post on Instagram. It turned out amazing. I used Greek plain yogurt and block cream cheese, loosened up with some cream.
Is there a substitution for marscapone cheese? Cream cheese, maybe?
I’ve had success using ricotta, or if you don’t mind a slightly tangier flavor, using all sour cream. It makes a very tender cake.
I love reading (and making) your fabulous recipes. I am curious about why you prefer sea salt to kosher salt in your cake recipes? Is it the texture of the granules or the sodium level (which is higher than kosher salt). Would love to know.
Granule size. Kosher salts are very inconsistent between brands; if you use Diamond, you need twice as much as you’d need of another brand (Morton, David) to achieve the same saltiness. It’s a headache in recipes where you want the salt level correct. Fine sea salt and table salt have consistent weights, and thus saltiness, per spoonful. I don’t use fine sea salt for savory stuff; there I think the texture is more important.
Please let me know where the “submit button ” is when I want to email the recipe!
If I make this cake in muffin form, do I need to make any adjustments? How would you recommend adjusting the baking time?
If I halved the recipe above, would it fit into one standard loaf pan? Thank you!
Made this today and sooo yummy!!! Made a few substitutes that I wanted to share, it worked out amazing.
I replaced the vegetable oil with 1/2cup olive oil, 1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons coconut oil, and 1/4 cup applesauce… i also didn’t have mascarpone, and mixed 4oz cream cheese with 1/8 heavy cream.
Baked for 40 mins, and it came out perfect! so moist and light crumb.
This is a winner! Like a giant glazed lemon donut with crispy edges. Everyone loves it – even the quarantine-surly teen gave a nod of approval! ps – I did decrease the salt by 1/2 teaspoon due to other reviews and had no mascarpone so subbed ricotta. Perfect!
Made this exactly as written in the same Bundt pan you have, and it was enjoyed by all at dinner. Next time, I might add some almond extract.
This looks great! Can’t wait to try it!
So I’ve just learned that you should definitely reduce the percentage if baking in an angel food cake pan, which is usually a good substitute for a bundt pan in my experience. With the time allotted in the recipe the inside was raw and I’ve had to cook it much longer.
Can I use cake flour for this? If I don’t like lemon, can I substitute vanilla?
Would it be possible to bake this in muffin form? If so, how would you recommend adjusting the baking time?
Any tips for getting a stuck bundt unstuck? Not sure if it was the granulated sugar or if I slightly overbaked, but just made this (my kitchen smells amazing) and it is persistently stuck in the bundt pan…
Wow this cake is amazing. Added only 1tsp of salt. Moist and crumby. Glaze is incredible. Definitely putting it into my rotation of cakes to make. Thank you!
Also subbed cream cheese with cream and butter for the marscapone not on hand 😊
I made this As written (baked for 60 minutes in my tube pan) on Friday and it was gone by Sunday. Honestly, the longer the cake sat the better it tasted, so delicious. I posted a picture of it on social media and I immediately got requests from, well, pretty much everyone. So I made it again this morning, increased the lemon zest to 2 lemons and baked them in loaves. Deb you have the best recipes hands down and you have made me a phenomenal baker among my people. Thank you !
I’m trying to find the large doughnut shaped pan you use in some of the ciambellone pictures. None I’ve found have the wide diameter tube in the center. Would you please recommend a source for this pan? Thank you!!
It’s not in stock right now, but this is the one I have.
I made this recipe by weight. I used 2 tsp Himalaya salt, grape seed oil and spelt flour — all other ingredients as written. I sampled the batter, but didn’t find it very promising. Testing with a toothpick, my baking time was 55 minutes (Nordic Ware Bavaria cake mold). Unmolding after 5 minutes was a disaster (middle sides of cake stuck to the form), and being the perfectionist that I am, I still glazed it, but discarded the saved recipe.
THEN — we tried it — what a lovely flavor, crumb, mouth-feel! We were immediately „smitten“! Not too sweet, not too salty, I didn’t even miss the butter — it was perfect! I promptly came back to your website and saved the recipe for good keeping! Next time I‘ll try letting the cake cool 10-15 minutes before unmolding and see if that helps. If not — I‘ll cut myself some perfectionist slack and serve it anyway!
Thanks for sharing a great recipe. I especially appreciate the metric weight measures. They were spot on! This will be my go to recipe for my Bavaria form!
This cake is delightful! Moist, flavorful, delicious, and easy to make! Thank you!
I have made this cake twice now using a Savain (sur la table) pan and followed the recipe as written . So rustically beautiful, just like in the picture. Soft crumb , moist , citrusy
This is the BEST cake ever. Made it exactly as described and unfortunately my husband and I consumed the entire cake last week, week 1000 of the Pandemic. And equally unfortunately I have just enough mascarpone left to make it again tomorrow. I realized that since this craziness started in Canada 8 weeks ago, I have made so many SK recipes including taco torte, pizza beans, lentil and sausage soup, my favourite brownies (with a layer of sea salt caramel chips on top), vegetarian cassoulet, cauliflower gratin, crispy broccoli with lemon and garlic, chocolate chip sour cream cake, the best baked spinach, and roasted yams and chickpeas. All outstanding but none as good as this damn cake.
I made this today for my husband. It was awesome!! The flavor and texture are so great. Other then my fluted Bundt pan being an a**hole, I had no problems. Although I did put only 1tsp of salt. I’ll be ordering a tube pan in the near future. Thanks for sharing this recipe.
Made this today and it was lovely. After reading comments about saltiness, I only used 2 tsp fine sea salt. I don’t think I would want more salt. It was quite lumpy after I added the flour, but baked well. Not overly citrussy but definitely could taste it! Would make again definitely!
This was amazing. I used a healthy coating of melted butter instead of the cooking spray + sugar and it came right out of the pan with ease. My only regret was not using all of the glaze which you specifically said in your recipe to do, so that’s on me! Definitely use it all, even if it seems like a lot! I would recommend even waiting for the first coating to harden a bit before applying more.
HI- Question regarding the tube pan you used. I purchased the what I thought was the same one you linked to in your post and the sticker on my pan says it is a 9.75 inch size but it holds only 4 cups of liquid so I’m thinking that somehow I ended up with the wrong one? What is the diameter and depth of your pan?
This is absolutely delicious–the best lemon cake I’ve ever had! I followed the recipe exactly, using a 12 cup bundt cake pan and it came out fantastic. It did take an extra 10-15ish minutes to cook through, though our oven is temperamental. The cake comes out so moist, not too dense, and a perfect sweetness level paired with tang from the glaze. Making it again this weekend.
This cake is stunning. Wonderful in every way, but I found it VERY oily. I will make it again but omit the two tablespoons. Thanks for your reliable recipes.
Mind-blowingly delicious and I made some substitutions to use up what I had on hand. I can only imagine how incredible this is following the recipe to the letter. First, lacking any sort of Bundt or ring pan, I opted to make muffins out of the batter. I got 18 regular-sized muffins out of one recipe (the abridged amount). Baked them for 33 mins at 375°. I used light sour cream instead of yogurt and 1/3 less fat cream cheese instead of the mascarpone. I didn’t have an orange, so I used the rind of two large lemons and really took my time working the lemon peel into the sugar. I briefly nuked those two lemons and squeezed a good three-quarters of a cup of juice out of them, then added powdered sugar without measuring (just eyeballed it), and glazed the hot muffins with that. They were good last evening, but today they are PHENOMENAL.
Ah quarantine baking. I made this today, olive oil instead of neutral, no orange zest so I used extra lemon. Baked in 4 mini loaf pans for 40 minutes. It’s quite good, but I probably will make Ina Garten’s lemon pound cake next time. This doesn’t *quite* have the crust I imagined from Deb’s description
I made this cake with the exact measurements. I substituted the mascarpone for ricotta because 1. I didn’t have mascarpone, 2. I’m too cheap to buy mascarpone. I whipped the ricotta for a few minutes to make it fluffier before adding the other ingredients. The cake turned out PERFECT! It tasted amazing. One of the best cakes I’ve made, and I make a lot of ’em! Thanks!
This is a family favorite! I make it whenever I can find mascarpone cheese on our remote little island. I always have to make 2 cakes lest the mascarpone goes moldy. Do you know if this cake freezes well?
I’m not much of a plain yogurt fan and I find it difficult to find in a small quantity. Usually it’s in those larger containers. What if one were to use vanilla flavored yogurt and reduced or eliminated the vanilla in the recipe?
Absolutely delicious, though I must admit, I replaced 1/2 of the sugar with Splenda, used 2 t salt and accidentally used “Key Lime” yogurt. I didn’t realize until I had dumped it in the batter. Thank goodness it was a citrus flavor and not something strange.
I made this last night for a dinner and it was fabulous! I wanted a simple, different cake that would complement a luscious fresh peach sauce a good friend would be bringing. The cake was perfect! I did not do the glaze this time, because of the peach sauce, but will do it next time. (I’ll add that today, just walking by the small leftover amount in the kitchen, it’s quite fine even without the peach sauce.) Thanks!
Note: We live at just over 7,000 feet above sea level in Santa Fe, New Mexico, so I adjusted for altitude using the tips at this page, https://bakingnaturally.org/high-altitude-baking-adjustments/. One of the things you do is increase the liquid – I adjusted the yoghurt amount to add liquid.
I love that peach sauce idea! Thank you.
For anyone’s who’s still tuned in: whole wheat pastry flour is fine, cream cheese instead of mascarpone is good, extra citrus zest is great, and varying the extracts is delicious. Glaze: powdered sugar, lemon juice, and a splash of dairy/ish (I used half-and-half) is also tasty and still allows for that thick, crunchy, contrasting crust. Those who love such a crust on a fresh old fashioned/sour cream cake doughnut will be bewitched by this cake. I had a very hard time putting the fork down!!
Oh: and I baked in two nine-inch layer pans. Just perfect. Next time, I’d like to punch up the cake with some zippy fresh or candied ginger and a bit of lime zest in the icing.
It smells great – but how did you get it out of the pan while it’s still hot without it breaking in half? That, unfortunately, was my experience.
This is a really lovely cake and the crunchy crust and moist crumb is the best part. I did greek yogurt + sour cream and the zest of two lemons (instead of orange) and it turned out great. Didn’t have corn syrup so I just did powdered sugar + 5 tablespoons of lemon juice and it was super tasty. However, I agree with the other commenters that the cake is weirdly salty — I would do half the recommended salt here (note i was using diamond crystal kosher salt, not table salt).
Riffed on this recipe pared down to 1/3 to fit in a loaf pan. One egg, milk and yogurt mix subbed for mascarpone, and threw in some raisins. Still turned out great!
I made this cake yesterday. And I have to tell you, that this one was the best I had in a really long time. It‘s so delicious. Just perfekt! This will get a place in my all time favorites list.
All the best from Germany
This is so good. Great texture, light citrus flavor, excellent crust, and the glaze is just perfect! I had to bake for an extra 15 minutes until it was done. And the cake would not release from my bundt pan (which has never been an issue for me before)…. But nothing a little glaze can’t fix.
Awesome results for basically a one-bowl recipe. It’s a show-stopper! I also love the other citrus (yogurt) cake on this site. They’re both fabulous… This one feels a little richer/fancier to me.
Can I use an extra lemon if I forgot to buy an orange???
Thanks I did use an extra lemon instead and it came out great
The Mayfair folks changed their website. The link for the cake is now found at https://livingbeautifully.blog/blog/please-try-this-at-home-ciambellone.
I’ve never used nonstick spray before (my Bundt pan is the smooth arc-shaped kind) – I am kind of overwhelmed by the selection! Do you use “original” Pam? “Butter flavoured”? Is there any reason why greasing the pan with butter (and then coating it with sugar) wouldn’t work in this recipe? Thanks in advance for your advice!
I just use original. And you can of course use butter; I use spray for ease.
I like the baking spray with flour in it for bundts – they always release. For this cake, I used that and added the sugar to get the crust – which I was nervous about – but they popped out perfectly!
Oh, and meant to say – skip the butter flavor, it has a weird chemical taste to me.
What can I substitute for corn syrup in the glaze ?
You can use another liquid sweetener — honey, maple syrup, etc. But corn syrup gives it the most shine.
I never use corn syrup. Bad sugar. What would you suggest I use instead?
I used honey and the glaze turned out awesome! I also saw another commenter used agave which might work better for you if you don’t like the lemon honey taste.
Any ideas for best gluten free flour substitute?
I haven’t tried it gluten-free but this commenter has and it sounds like it worked: https://smittenkitchen.com/2018/06/ciambellone-an-italian-tea-cake/#comment-1092450
This cake is absolutely delicious! I don’t have a Bundt pan, but this fits nicely into one loaf and a cupcake tin.
(I also substituted whipped cream cheese for marscapone, since my grocery store only had flavored marscapone. I’d add a little bit more than half a cup next time, or measure out half a cup before whipping. My results weren’t as dense, more like a standard cake texture.)
I’ve made this and absolutely loved it twice, once pretty much as written and once dairy-free. To make it dairy-free, I used unsweetened vanilla coconut yogurt (So Delicious brand) in place of the yogurt and mascarpone. The texture once baked was a little denser, but it was still very very good. The batter seemed slightly more liquid with the coconut yogurt, so next time, I might drain the yogurt a little so it’s not quite as runny. I divided the dairy-free version into one loaf pan and three mini loaves. Worked great. A wonderfully moist, tangy, special-feeling cake! Lots of praise for the delicious crust, so don’t skip the glaze!
This was so good!!! A definite keeper. I underbaked a little, so less crisp edges, but luscious texture.
Oh man, this may be the best textured cake I’ve ever had in my entire life? I used full fat ricotta as that was what I had on hand. The saltiness was fine in the finished cake, but the batter was too salty to be enjoyable – oh well. Overall I really liked it, but may use double the lemon zest next time – the couple of bites that didn’t have glaze were barely lemony at all.
I finally made this last night, after thinking about it for, like, a week and a half. It is the BEST cake I have ever made, and I have made lots of cakes. I had to sub in almond extract for about half of the vanilla because I didn’t have enough, and used greek yogurt instead of the regular kind. I used the full 2 1/2 teaspoons of Morton’s table salt (I don’t keep sea salt on hand). I was a bit worried that it would be too salty since some commenters had that problem, but I usually follow a recipe as closely as possible the first time I try it. It is definitely not too salty–I don’t really taste salt at all.
The texture is amazing: densely crumby and moist, but not heavy, and with a beautiful, deliciously lemony crust. I will definitely make this again. SO GOOD.
Wow! This cake is amazing!! I reduced the sugar by 1/2 cup and the salt by a tsp, and used the zest of two oranges and one lemon. It is delicious – the crumb is amazing. It was so easy to put together. Thanks for such a great recipe!
This is a cake is divine. I only had a bundt ton though and it took a good hour to bake. If I wasn’t so nervous about it burning I’d have baked it for probably another 10 mins to get more of the crust. Other reviewers complained about too much salt, but everyone that tried it at home absolutely loved it. Recipe is a keeper. By the way, does anyone know where to purchase tube pans? I have scoured the internet and can’t find one anywhere.
I find the old fashioned tube pans in thrift stores. The very traditional ones I’ve seen very old Italian ladies using, just aren’t new. And oftentimes are seen for very reasonable prices in stores that resell such items. Some people do have an aversion to buying “used”…but I think the idea of using what someone else used in their kitchen, their home…is nostalgic…just my two cents. Good luck.
Holy moly, this is perfection. The glaze solidifies to this sugary, delicious, just tangy enough shell that contrasts to the relatively plain cake and makes the whole thing. I did not have corn syrup so I just added some simple syrup I had on hand and eyeballed the lemon juice as I added it so it was the right consistency. Even my 2 year old kept going “mmm! mmm!” as she ate it.
Made this for the second time last night and needed cakes for two separate occasions. This is exactly why I got two half-size bundt pans. Split this recipe as written into two 6-cup bundt pans and it was the perfect amount – about 800 grams per pan. I baked the full 40 minutes but should have gone 5 less I think – I’m at altitude and bundts usually take the full time plus a bit extra for me, so if doing the smaller, check at 20 or 25. These are beautiful inside and out. I also added some “nonnie sprinkles” which is what we call the little round ones in my house.
As we are in the midst of zucchini abundance has anyone tried adding a few cups of shredded zucchini in this cake?
I would remove some liquid if you’re doing that, to keep it from getting too soggy. Maybe for 1/2 cup packed zucchini, remove 1/3 cup liquid.
This is perfection! So good in fact, I went out and purchased a fancy sharp edged bundt pan to maximize the crisp edge yumminess of this cake. Absolutely spot-on in every category (taste, crunch factor, shine, portability…..). Make this, don’t substitute anything, and get ready for the rave reviews! By the way, I used the full amount of fine sea salt called for and it was not too much.
To make this dairy-free, I substituted coconut yogurt and oat milk for the yogurt and cheese (140 g coconut yogurt, 165 g oat milk), with great success. As I am only temporarily on a dairy-free diet while nursing a sensitive baby, and this cake was a bit of a quarantine obsession for me and thus I have made it many, many times as written(-ish, sometimes I sub things for the mascarpone), I can attest that this was as good as the dairy version, and my husband claims better!
Have been wanting to make this since I saw it…which is more than a year now, but I don’t often get a moment to bake. Today I made it! I almost didn’t haha! My bundt pan went missing! Found out after five minutes of interrogation it had a mishap with some monkey bread burning to it and my husband tossed it! Gotta move forward…I have a mini bundt cupcake pan and plenty of cupcake liners so this glorious bundt became epic mini bundt. They turned out perfectly! I did make two small changes. I used triple cream lemon flavored Icelandic yogurt and honey instead of corn syrup. Tastes heavenly! I am pretty happy about the mini bundt, because it is easy to store and is just one serving right away. Will use this recipe many times over for sure.
Hi Deb. I generally read several/many of the “posts” prior to making a recipe. Today, I was in a hurry and did not. In my opinion, given the number of bakers who feel that this cake is too salty, I would have appreciated a note about that included in the other ingredient notes
at the top of your recipe. In my opinion, this cake would be better with less salt, or, as noted by others, Diamond Crystal kosher—thereby cutting the “saltiness” in half. Thanks!
(sigh) I don’t know if ever you came across something that triggered a memory…but boy oh boy….this is it. Growing up in South Boston, we would visit the North end (the Italian neighborhood) for glorious pizza and the best pastries. Small quaint streets with cobblestone, old fashioned patio tables for 2 with tiny cups of espresso….on the plates this simple cake would be adorned….never for sale….you wouldn’t find such treasures behind the glass. No. You had to be invited to eat this.
Thank you. I legit got teary eyed remembering the flavor.
I’m officially a fan. Found you on IG…by accident. Saw your lime curd tart. But this??? This is gold. ❤️
Well I haven’t had the chance to eat this yet as I’m taking mine to an event tomorrow but I do have some notes already. Mine was raw inside at 40 mins and then seemed overdone 8 mins later – but am trusting that it is just dark. More annoyingly, mine cracked, and didn’t climb the sides of the tin – it rose to a ridge in the middle. It was in a Bundt tin so not ideal. Is that most likely to be overbearing? Too much baking powder? Something else?
Finally, in my glaze I used half lemon juice and half satsuma – the aroma and fragrance is astonishing, highly recommend.
Has anyone tried creme fraiche instead of yogurt oddly enough all I have is creme fraiche and sour cream?
I used sour cream and mine was still beautiful and delicious.
I’m sure it will be delicious.
This looks amazing! I’m hoping to make the original version for quantity reasons. I tried a few of the links listed in the post and can’t seem to find the original.
Sorry, there’s not much I can do if the original has been taken down.
This may be the best cake I’ve ever made! I followed the recipe exactly. All of the ingredients are perfectly proportional. I didn’t have any of the issues other people mentioned of it being too salty. It was divine! Will be making again and again.
For anyone wondering, this cake takes well to some subs and flubs. I didn’t have mascarpone, but did have cultured cream cheese. Dropped the sugar and oil (the former to about 300 grams, the latter to around a cup). I didn’t see that I should have used orange zest, and forgot to sugar the tube pan. I think I could have added a bit of lemon juice to the batter without incident, and may do so next time.
Baked for 55 minutes, as I didn’t want to do the extra math to scale down.
This cake has an excellent crumb and flavor, and of course I love it because it’s a cake that keeps well.
Could I use applesauce to replace 1/2 cup of oil? I need advice as I want it for Easter👍🏼❤
Well! I made this last night for company. After 30 mins in a 10-cup Bundt pan, a toothpick came out clean – so I ‘thought’ it was done… After I glazed it, the whole thing kind of ‘slumped’…hmmm…when I cut into it, it was raw in the middle! SO: I microwaved (gasp!) each piece on its own little plate for 1 minute, and the resulting texture was SOOOO good – like ‘budino,’ one Italian guest said. Served with strawberries and a dollop of mascarpone, the WARM moist cake was as delicious an accident as I could have hoped for. Thanks again, Deb! Nothing I have made from your recipes has EVER gone awry before; even this glitch was yummy! (BTW I did go with a scant 2 t of salt as per others’ notes.)
Hi Debbie, could I make this with almond or other gluten free flour? Thank you!
It seems to have worked well with gluten-free flour for at least one person: https://smittenkitchen.com/2018/06/ciambellone-an-italian-tea-cake/#comment-1092450 I wouldn’t expect the same results with almond flour, but haven’t tested it.
Where did you get the ring pan?
I have this ring pan and will fully admit that I mostly love it because it looks like a doughnut. But, it’s also a nice quality pan.
If I don’t have mascarpone how can I substitute? Thanks
Sour cream would work, creme fraiche too…
Could I use less sugar?
I wouldn’t recommend it — it can make the cake taste dry.
Delicious! I was a bit concerned about the salt when I tasted the batter but in the cake the salt balances out the sweetness. The flour didn’t mix well for me, so I had to strain the batter to get the lumps out – the cake still rose beautifully. A keeper for sure.
I have a new, long ceramic loaf pan (ideal for quick breads, tea cakes, I gather) from King Arthur (read impulse buy), and I’m sort of hankering to use it. Think it would work as well as a tube pan? (I love the thought of eating an oversized donut, though.)
I made this yesterday and it was heavenly! It really made my day. I ended up using the seven cup ring pan and had a bit of batter left over and also made a small loaf to give to a friend. I really liked the coating of the pan with sugar. It gave the cake a little extra crunch around the edges. The thick glaze was wonderful. I did not have mascarpone, but had some creme fraiche and I used that instead and it was great. I also cut down the sea salt by half a tsp because the my variety seemed very dense.
This is a keeper! I made it in loaf pans, halved the sugar, and used 1 3/4 tsps salt. I didn’t make the glaze. Thanks for the recipe, Deb!
I’ve always always always made Ina’s, but pancake princess’s lemon loaf made me intrigued about this one… the texture is just lovely! The sugar crust is a delight! Came right out of the pan and couldn’t have been easier. What a nice cake!
Does anyone know how ciambellone is pronounced?
Okay so I took this one for a ride, and am sharing below in the hopes someone else might find my evening’s work useful.
I followed the cake recipe exactly – no changes there. However, I made a bite-sized version. Google “nordic ware teacake” to see the pan I used – they’re TINY. I think this recipe made 5 dozen. Trial and error taught me that baking them at 400 for about 13 minutes made them beautifully golden brown but still light and moist – also I put the batter into the still-hot pan, and used Pam baking spray. I tripled the glaze recipe. Pouring and letting it dribble worked poorly, so I set up a cooling tray over a lined jellyroll pan and dipped each one individually and let it drip down. (Then collected the excess drippage, strained it, and reused it. Probably could have quadrupled the glaze but I was running low on lemons.)
They are the perfect lemony bite, and the texture is out of this world. This was far more labor-intensive than the cake as written, but my girlfriend wanted “some lemony bite sized thing. with a glaze.” to bring to a potluck at her hospital. So here we are. May this unnecessarily complicated rendering of a simple cake prove useful to someone else.
I measured the oil by mililiters and it seemed a bit much but then I mixed the batter well and it looked normal. After I tasted a piece of the baked cake it was so much heavy and oily. The amount of oil should be adjusted :(
Would this freeze well? If so, would I want to wait to add the glaze until after defrosting?
This is was amazing! It’s best the next day. I followed the 60% recipe and baked in a 13x4x4 Pullman loaf pan; made the perfect size! I used all sour cream (215g) because didn’t have yogurt or mascarpone and worked out just fine