La Ciambella di Mandorla
Almond Ring Cake
by gina depalma
The ciambella is a farmhouse dessert found in many regions of Italy, a simple, comforting and flavorful cake that can be enjoyed with coffee or as a sweet snack. Sometimes it is made with olive oil, but in Piacenza, sweet butter is a kitchen staple – not a surprise given its close proximity to French-influenced Piemonte. The cake’s buttery richness is the perfect partner for locally grown, fragrant almonds. This version of la ciambella is aromatic, moist and yummy.
The one thing that all ciambelle have in common is it’s ring shape, so try to keep with the spirit of this cake by baking it in a ring-shaped pan. I used a savarin, or baba, pan to bake this, cake, but you can try it in a smaller bundt pan – there isn’t enough batter for a full-sized bundt.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour 9-inch ring-shaped pan, such as a savarin, baba, or garland pan.
In a separate bowl, sift together the cake flour, salt, almond flour and baking powder; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, use the paddle attachment to cream the butter until light and smooth. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed until very well creamed, about 2 minutes. Beat in the almond extract, followed by the amaretto, vanilla and lemon zest.