Traditional Italian Panettone Recipe for Christmas

If you’re looking for an unusual alternative to the traditional heavy Christmas fruit cake recipe, try an Italian panettone – it can be difficult to get right, but it’s worth the effort.

Panettone, or Italian Christmas cake as it’s sometimes referred to, is an Italian sweet bread leavened with yeast and laced with dried fruit and sometimes nuts and chocolate. It’s often bought in a decorative panettone tin at Christmas time, or presented in a paper case if homemade.

Panettone can be eaten as it is, or toasted with a little butter, and it works equally well as a breakfast, an afternoon snack or an accompaniment to a cheeseboard. It should be sliced only when it’s to be eaten, to prevent it drying out, and the rest of the loaf should be wrapped in clingfilm to keep it moist. Any leftovers (and there are unlikely to be any) go well in a bread-and-butter pudding.

This recipe from uses a bread-making machine.


  • 0.5 teaspoon dried yeast
  • 300 grammes (2 cups) strong white bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 15 grammes (0.5 oz) butter
  • 0.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 0.5 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 0.5 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 medium sized egg
  • The yolk only of a second egg
  • 140 ml (0.5 cup) milk

See also: Christmas Rudolph Cupcakes from Victoria Eggs

Add the following to the dried fruit dispenser, or to the machine when it beeps if it doesn’t have a dispenser :

  • Grated rind of one lemon
  • 50 grammes (0.25 cup) mixed (candied) peel
  • 100 grammes (0.5 cup) raisins

  • Put all the ingredients except the fruits into the breadmaker and use the ‘raisin dough’ mode. This will take about 2 hours and 20 minutes.
  • Add the fruit into the fruit dispenser if your model has one, or add manually when the beeper iindicates it’s time.
  • When the machine has finished, take the dough out and put straight into a greased 18cm (7”) cake tin.
  • Cover and leave in a warm place until it has risen to double its size.
  • Place in a pre-heated oven at 150ºC (300ºF, gas mark 2) for about 30 minutes.
  • You’ll know it’s properly cooked when a skewer or knife pushed into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

See also: What is a Bundt Cake and How Do I Make One?

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