Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

Pandoro, the other Italian yuletide cake

Pandoro, the other Italian yuletide cake
The popularity of panettone travels well beyond Italy, securing it a spot on Christmas tables the world over. But there is a lesser-known festive cake that’s loved in equal measure in Italy. Originating in Verona, pandoro is a traditional Christmas treat, it’s name literally meaning ‘golden bread’. Baked in a star-shaped mold, and dusted in vanilla-scented icing sugar to resemble the peak of a mountain, it’s as visually pleasing as it is delicious. Pandoro gets its vibrant golden color from the egg yolks used to make it, but unlike panettone, contains no dried fruit or nuts.

Slicing vertically creates large, wedges of cake, but for the best presentation, it should be thinly sliced horizontally, creating a distinctive star of golden goodness.
Creative hosts can hollow out the center of the pandoro and fill it with Chantilly cream or mascarpone, for a creamy surprise on cutting.
What began a dessert enjoyed only by the wealthy aristocrats of Verona, has gone on to be a Christmas treat looked forward to by Italian homes across the nation and beyond.