Italian Food and Flavours
Aniseed Ring Cake: Ciambellone
In Le Marche I have noticed that many families buy their cakes from their local pasticceria (cake shop) rather than make them at home but this traditional cake is the one every household used to make weekly as a mid afternoon snack, as an accompaniment to their after dinner digestivo or for breakfast with a cappuccino.
The secret ingredients in this cake are the mistra and a handful of aniseeds. Mistra is a Le Marche liqueur made with aniseed and at the end of one of Fabio’s fabulous meals you must try a glass! The addition of mistra gives the finished ciambellone cake a delicate and aromatic aniseedy flavour. It is not at all overpowering and as the recipe uses olive oil instead of butter, it is fairly healthy as cakes go!
The basic recipe can be adapted by adding raisins, or maybe replacing the mistra with more lemon zest and lemon juice
500g plain flour 00
100ml olive oil
zest from one lemon
15g baking powder
handful of aniseeds
chopped almonds to decorate
In a large bowl mix the eggs, sugar, milk and oil, ideally with an electric mixer or by hand.
Add the mistra and lemon zest and stir into the mixture.
Carefully mix in the flour and the baking powder until combined.
Also mix in the aniseeds.
Decorate the top with chopped almonds and a sprinkle of sugar.
Scrape the cake batter into a ring form tin, oiled and floured.
Bake at 180 degrees centigrade for approx 1/2 hour or until lightly golden.