Pandolce Christmas cake

Pandolce, the typical Christmas cake from Genoa, exists in two versions, short (basso) and tall (alto). The latter is made with yeast and is similar to a sweet and fruity bread. The short one, my favourite and the one described in this recipe, has a crumbly texture, similar to a scone. Both variants are very rich of pine nuts, raisins and candied orange peels.


  • 70g pine nuts
  • 150g raisins
  • 150g candied orange peels
  • 300g white flour
  • 100g sugar
  • 9g (2 teaspoons) baking powder
  • 120g softened unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs

First of all, weigh the pine nuts, peels and raisins and put in a small bowl. Line a baking tray with baking paper and preheat the oven to 160 °C. You don’t want to have to do these things while your hands are covered in dough!

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, softened butter and eggs in a big bowl using your hands and work the mixture until the dough is smooth, but don’t overmix. Add the pine nuts, raisins and peels and mix until completely incorporated. Make a ball with the dough and then press it slightly so that the bottom and top surfaces become flat. Place the dough on the baking tray and cook in the oven until the top becomes golden brown, it takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes in my oven.

When the pandolce is cooked, it will still appear a bit soft; let it cool down completely before eating, so it can get the right texture.

Making two smaller cakes. If you prefer two smaller cakes you can proceed in the same way, but split the dough in two before shaping it. The cooking time will be 5 to 10 minutes shorter.