Authentic Italian Cooking

Italian Christmas recipes: cakes

What are the Italian traditional cakes and treats for Christmastime? Panettone, pandoro, panforte, torrone are the best known all over the world but there are many others. Here you'll be able to find the recipes to make them at home!

Zelten from Trentino
Zelten cake

What are the common ingredients in Italian Xmas cakes? and the leavening?

Every Italian region has its own traditional sweets, sometimes even each city. So in addition to those already mentioned, there are zelten inTrentino, gubana in Friuli, pepperbread in Umbria and Emilia, struffoli at Naples ...
Whatever the name, the basic ingredients are common: dried fruits, raisins, candied fruit, honey, spices ...
Once, and still today for the connoisseur, the dough for the best Christmas cakes, was prepared with sourdough. The result was a little sweet dough in which the sweetness was reached precisely through the addition of raisins and candied fruit. Today, in order to shorten the long period of rising but also for the fact that sourdough is often impossible to find, people prefer fresh yeast but the results are clearly not the same ... remember this!

Italian Xmas sweet recipes

Pineapple and kiwi fruit salad

Winter fruit salad with pineapple and kiwi

It is a very scenic and good fresh and candied fruit salad, flavored with Cointreau. It is the worth end of a rich Christmas dinner or lunch.

Cookie house

House made with biscuits, Italian style

Cookie house is a must in the families with children. Today, it is easier to realize it with the molds made on purpose, but it is great the satisfaction for people who manage to knead, cut and fit it with their own hands by taking good measures! Believe me! and what about garnishing it with children? it is a rewarding way to enter the spirit of Holiday season ... really!

Orange charlotte

orange charlotte

The orange charlotte is one of the most delicious cake there is and the recipe that I propose is fantastic according to all friends of ours who have enjoyed it.
A must for people who love the softness of the spoon dessert recipes.

Orange jelly

orange jelly

Orange jelly is another scenic and good spoon dessert recipe. It is made with very few ingredients and is ideal to close a full menu rich in different courses.

Pandoro (Veronese Xmas cake)

Italian PandoroPandoro is a traditional cake on the Italian table for the Holiday season. But we Italians are divided in half. There are people who love it and only eat Pandoro and people who does not love it ;))
I always recommend to buy it already done. It is particularly laborious and the results are not always satisfactory. It's a recipe for people who have a lot of time, particularly expert and that can rely on very high room temperature.

Panettone with fresh yeast

Italian Xmas cake made with fresh yeast

The real Italian panettone recipe should be made with sourdough but it is difficult to find it and you need more time for the leavening. So this is the recipe to make panettone at home with fresh yeast. Be careful to follow my directions very well to have the best result.

Emmer panettone with dried pineapple

Panettone made with emmer flour and dried pineapple

This is a recipe of mine. I replaced candied fruit with dried pineapple and all purpose flour with emmer flour. It is a perfect cake for people who likes eating good but healthy!

Panforte (Siena honey cake)

Panforte, typical cake from Tuscany for Christmas

Panforte is the traditional recipe of Siena. Rich in ingredients, it is delicious and you can not miss it if you like the taste of chocolate combined with spices and fruit.
It is not so difficult as Panettone or Pandoro and can be done safely at home ;))


Pepperbreaf, Umbrian style

My father, who did not like any sweet recipe, was very fond of it. Hazelnuts, almonds and nuts are mixed with candied fruits and raisins thanks to dark chocolate melted in honey. The mixture is flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg and then sprinkled with freshly ground black pepper ...
We do it every year in industrial quantities and become our Christmas gift for our friends.

Cocoa Christmas spiced bread

Cocoa Xmas spiced bread decorated with candied fruit

This cocoa honey spice cake was inspired to me by a traditional Italian recipe but I have made some significant variations.
It is delicious, not too sweet and is flavored with arancino (orange-flavored liqueur).

Lemon sorbet

Lemon sorbet is a must in a mixed menu when you have to go from fish to meat.
Serve it in a cup.
Or serve it at the end of a fish-only menu rather than any kind of cakes.

French Christmas log cake

Traditional French Christmas cake

Look at this cake! Very beautiful to see, right? Mouth-watering, right?
It is not so difficult to do. You need only to follow the directions very carefully.

Zelten, Trento-style

Traditional Christmas cake from Trentino, Italy

Do you like this typical cake from the north of Italy?
Beautiful to see and very, very good to eat!
The usual ingredients you use for this period in the year, enriched by dried figs and brandy to flavor. It is not difficult to make it at home.

Italian panettone

Traditional Christmas cake from Italy, panettone

The authentic panettone is made with sourdough because it is a long slow rising cake. I make it with dried sourdough too as in this case when I have an insufficient amount of yeast.