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Nonna's Ciambellone (Traditional Italian Easter Cake)

Ciambellone cake

Ciambellone cake

What Is Ciambellone?

Ciambellone is a simple Italian tea cake that is traditionally made for Easter. It is pronounced "chi-ahm-bah-loh-nay."

This is my nonna's (grandmother's) recipe, and she made this cake every year at Easter. It's not a fancy recipe—everything is mixed together in one bowl and then poured into a cake pan to be baked.

I love my nonna's recipes. They taste great, but I also love the fact that she brought these recipes with her from Italy. She came over to the United States when my uncle was about four years old and my father was about two. She was already grown and married and had children, which is why she had these recipes with her. She had been making her own pasta since she was a child. She was so small that she had to stand on a box to reach the table. As an adult, she was only about 4'10" and was so sweet and cute.

This cake looks plain and it is—but you could dress it up by adding colorful dried fruit. I used candied orange peel because I like the taste.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. Sometimes you don't need something very sweet—just sweet enough.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

35 min

50 min

8 to 10 servings


  • 4 cups flour (I used self-rising flour)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon lemon rind
  • 2-3 teaspoons rum (I used 3 teaspoons)
  • 1 cup citrus fruit
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk, whole or 2%
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon anise extract
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl.

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Pour the batter into a greased Bundt pan.
  3. Bake for 30 or 35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Mangiare bene!
  4. If you'd like to add a glaze, just mix about 1/2 cup of confectioner's sugar with a couple of drops of lemon juice or until it has reached a good drizzling consistency.

Baking Notes

  • Batter: This batter is really thick, so don't add more liquid or it will change the texture of the cake. It is not like a cake from a cake mix; it is denser. The baked cake is perfect with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk for the children.
  • Rum substitution: You could also add rum extract instead of the liqueur. Just add two teaspoons of the extract.
  • Fruit substitution: Also if you don't like the citrus fruit, you could add chopped maraschino cherries.
Ciambellone ready to enjoy

Ciambellone ready to enjoy

© 2022 Rachel L Alba