Ciambellone della Nonna (Nonna’s Marble cake with Oil and Yogurt)

Those of you who have travelled to Italy know how much we favour a sweet breakfast. Cafes are crowded with Italians standing by the counter dipping a pastry into their morning coffee before they set off to work. Admittedly, this is not the healthiest way to start the day and it it possibly one of very few things Italian get wrong about food. These days I have become an advocate of oatmeal  and home-made muesli, however I do like to indulge on weekends and allow myself and my family the undeniable pleasures of white starch and refined sugar! There is hardly anything I crave more on a Saturday morning than diving a freshly baked, large slice of Ciambellone into a coffee artfully prepared by Richard. I feel no guilt, it is part of my DNA, it is my legacy. I have to oblige, at least one a week. So I say, if you  truly want to be Italian, get yourself a cake and practise an infallible dunking motion.
Any tea-cake or cookie will do, but my loyalty lies with this very cake my Mamma used to make for us on Sundays.


3 eggs

200 gr (1 cup) of caster sugar

250 gr (2 and 1/3 cups) of self-raising flour

2 tablespoons of corn starch

60 ml (1/4 cup) of grape seed oil (or lightly scented olive oil)

125 gr (1/2 cup) of Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

How To

1. Whisk eggs and sugar until pale and creamy.

2. Add the oil , Greek youghurt and the vanilla

3. Gently fold in the flour and the corn starch, well sifted. Mix until the batter is combined.

4. Pour 2/3 of the mix into a ring-cake tin (I used a silicon one so I didn’t have to grease it.).

5. Add 3 tablespoons of bitter cocoa and a good splash of Galliano* to the remaining cake batter and mix until smooth.

6. Dollop the cocoa mix on top of the vanilla mix and , using a fork or a chopstick, swirl the two batters together.

7. Bake in a preheated 170 C (340 F) oven for about 35/45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Let the cake cool in its tin for about one hour before serving.

Make yourself a good coffee, and get stuck in….

* Galliano is an Italian vanilla-scented liquor. You can omit or substitute with rum.

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. Melissa DelGrosso says:

    This looks yummy!! I am definitely going to make this! I am Christopher DelGrosso’s (the DelGrosso Food Blog) aunt.

    1. Oh, thank you! We Italians love a cake for brekkie!

  2. Mel says:

    Silvia, this looks magnificent but do you really wait 2 hours to have breakfast? I would love to try it, but wonder if I should make it the night before or call it morning tea?


  3. Hey Mel, this cake is even better the next day, so go ahead and make it the night before. I often do that.

  4. tina says:

    yummi …i am going to make it .Thanks Silvia.

    1. good on you Tina! Please let me know how it turns out!

  5. Beautiful! My mouth is watering 🙂

    1. I may need to bake this over the weekend…

  6. Thank you for this one, Silvia! So sweet and truly ‘marble’ ! We loved it! p.s. discovered your blog via SBS Italian which I’m listening to keep up il mio italiano un po’ 🙂

    1. Brava brava! Keep it your Italiano in cucina!

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