Put Pandoro Cake on Your Christmas List

Christmas came early to the Cooking Club headquarters when we recently sampled a traditional Italian holiday cake. Pandoro is a yeasted cake made with eggs, butter and vanilla. Originating in Verona, Italy, it’s got a feather-light texture, like an angel food cake, but the flavor is more intense and the color is egg-yolk golden.

Pandoro is a variety of Panettone, or “great big bread loaf” in Italian. A Panettone is a large, domed yeasted dough with a fantastic aroma and a deep yellow hue. Some Panettone are made with dried fruits studding the inside, some with candied fruit peels. Others are flavored with chocolate, and still others with spirits like port or rum.

Though this cake is traditionally eaten around the holidays, we indulged in a slice of the Pandoro di Verona this summer, courtesy of Bauli, a New York-based company that specializes in authentic Italian cakes and pastries. We dusted the cake with the packet of vanilla-scented powdered sugar that was included, coating its high honey-colored ridges with white sugar, like a smattering of snow on the Italian Alps.

The cake had a fine, light texture, and the simple sprinkle of powdered sugar was enough of a sweetener. It’s a simple dessert, but you can imagine it being the perfect dessert to follow a heavy dinner during the holiday season. One of our staff suggested making a sweet sauce of some kind to drizzle over the top. I could imagine warmed honey or a dollop of vanilla whipped cream.

The cake was fully intact when we opened it, and the flavor was so delightfully delicate and vanilla-y. It’s one of those desserts you’ll be happy to have on hand for the holidays. In fact, I’m going to pre-order one. It never hurts to plan ahead, does it?

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