I’m sharing this recipe for Christmas lemon panettone just in time for Christmas! This delicious cake is a true show-stopper and would be a unique and tasty dessert to accompany your holiday meal. My family loves finishing off our traditional Christmas lunch with this rich yet light and airy cake.
Panettone is a traditional Italian Christmas cake baked in a specific mold, which gives it a distinctive cylindrical look. The word panettone comes from the Italian word panetto, meaning ‘a small loaf cake’. I have fond memories of devouring panettone at our Christmas gatherings at my nonna’s home. Lunch would be finished, but the sweets stayed on the table all afternoon – which made it unbelievably easy to sneak a few bites of my favourite sweet dessert every time I passed by the table. They’re something so comforting about panettone – it’s soft, cakey texture and subtle sweetness. Even to this day when we open a fresh box of panettone, the aroma alone brings me back to my nonna’s house on Christmas Day.
This year I decided to pay homage to Christmas at by nonna’s by preparing a homemade rendition of this traditional Italian cake. Nonna would be proud. This recipe for Christmas lemon panettone makes a soft, supple dough that is similar to a moist and airy brioche. Added to the dough is aromatic vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice which adds a hint of freshness to this rich and buttery cake. Although the original recipe is very simple, you can add in other ingredients such as candied orange, lemon zest, as well as raisins or chocolate. Albeit it is fantastic served on its own, a hot beverage like espresso, tea, or even sweet wine or champagne is the perfect accompaniment.
Note that traditional Italian panettone is baked in a distinctive circular pan which gives it the typical cylindrical shape. I baked mine in a large shallow glass baking dish. Not the distinctive shape, but the same distinctive buttery flavour and moist texture as the classic cake.
If you try this recipe (and love it!) be sure to snap a pic and tag me on Instagram with #bitesforfoodies so I can see your creation!