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Pandolce Christmas Cake Recipe by Eileen Dunne-Crescenzi

Pandolce (sweet bread) is a homely alternative to the traditional shop-bought panettone cake. I have adjusted this pandolce recipe a little to make it more orange, sweet and, dare I say it, delicious.

Serves 12


250g butter, softened
250g caster sugar
2 free-range or organic eggs, beaten
zest and juice of 1 orange
zest and juice of 1 lemon
500g self-raising flour
1 level tsp baking powder
400g mix of sultanas and raisins
– 25g candied fruit
25g pine nuts
25g roughly crushed hazelnuts, walnuts or pistachios
2 level tsp ground cinnamon
1 level tsp grated nutmeg

For the glaze
200g caster sugar
zest and juice of 2 oranges


1. Preheat to 175℃. Grease a 23cm springform baking tin.
2. Cream the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well to incorporate them each time.
3. Mix in the orange and lemon juice and zest, then stir in the flour and baking powder. Add the raisins and sultanas, candied fruit, nuts, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix well to a creamy consistency.
4. Pour the batter into the greased baking tin.
5. Bake in the oven for 1 hour, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave to rest for 10 minutes before releasing the cake from the tin. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
6. To make the glaze, place the sugar, orange zest and juice in a small saucepan. Bring up to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes over a low heat, until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup has thickened. Pour over the cake.


Eileen Dunne Crescenzi Festa ‘In Italy, eating translates into saporous feasts, merriment and chat, and all guilt  free. I had travelled from purgatory to heaven.’ So begins Eileen Dunne  Crescenzi’s wonderful adventure with Italian food, culture and celebrations. In  Festa the renowned restaurateur shares the recipes and memories that defined her  many happy years living la dolce vita. For every occasion there is a recipe, and for every recipe there is a story about the trials and triumphs of an Irish food lover’s  life in Italy.

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