Christmas Pandoro (Golden Cake) Recipe

Monday, December 2, 2019
Christmas Pandoro (Golden Cake) Recipe is a delicious traditional Italian-inspired family recipe.

Grandma from Rome, Italy made this recipe every year.

A yeast egg cake as they refer to it, I think it's a cross between rich egg bread and a kind of cake.

This is very traditional among the Venetians and Italians.

It's a tall cake you can buy a mold for or use an extra-large coffee can to make it.

After it cooled it's covered in a sifted powdered sugar or a thick frosting depending on the Region in Italy.

They are sold commercially almost everywhere, especially around the holidays like Christmas, New Year, and Befana.

Not to be confused with Panettone which is a rich egg bread with raisins and we always make this recipe too along with Amaretto Panettone, Panettone French Toast, and Panettone Strata.

Scroll down to the recipe card to print off the recipe.

Pandoro is a golden cake made at christmas in Italy dusted with powdered sugar on a plate under the Christmas Tree with poinsettia on the plate

this is an Italian traditional cake made in Italy around the Christmas holiday called Pandoro

The larger side should be down.

If you happen to order a Pandoro pan online, the star shape should be down.

They were covered in a snow of powdered sugar.

The cake is the perfect wintery-looking cake for the holiday with the snowy powdered sugar on top.

One of my favorites rose cakes at Christmas time.

This year my son ordered me a pan instead of me using my traditional metal coffee cans.

I love the way this baked it's so festive and looked so professional! It was such a fun day as we got to take my grandson to see Santa too.

See more photos below. I bought him a Santa suit and he looked so adorable you don't want to miss his photos.

this is Pandoro made in a Pandoro pan to look like a star and baked on a plate cooling with powdered sugar on top

Made in the coffee can

Before I got the original baking pan, I used an extra-large coffee can, lined it with parchment paper and baked it.

I also doused it with a lot of oil cooking spray to make sure it didn't stick.

It always came out perfectly but you can order the Pandoro Pan online below.

Covered to keep warm

I usually top my bowl with a saucepan cover to keep the drafts away.

Then it sets on top of a warm stove or area to rise.

The dough is ready to rise

Keeping a dish towel over the covered pan is a double way to keep the warmth inside.

These tips work to evenly raise the dough to a light cake texture.

The dough is a little sticky and that's the way it should be.

It is a smooth yet elastic dough.

this is Pandoro made in a coffee can to look like a star and baked on a plate cooling with powdered sugar on top

The Story of Pandoro

Pandoro or pan d’oro means golden bread.

It is a traditional Christmas bread from Verona. Pandoro gets its name due to it's golden yellow in color.

The yellow or golden color comes from a large number of egg yolks that are in the bread.

These are mini taco pans to make this Italian Pandoro golden cake in. They are lined with parchment paper for easy release and worked perfectly.

Molds to Use or Pans

Pandoro is baked in a special star-shaped molded pan that you can find on my affiliate link in the shop with me tab above.

If you don't have the pan use a metal extra large coffee can, which makes it easy for slicing and warmed up to spread butter on.

To make mini ones, I used mini taco pans that worked perfectly!

Unlike panettone, pandoro does not contain any dried fruits or nuts. When sprinkled with powdered sugar, it has the appearance of newly fallen snow on a mountain.

Pandoro may be served with many types of creams or sauces, such as mascarpone topping, melted chocolate, or any flavored whipped cream.

this is Pandoro made in a coffee can to look like a star and baked on a plate cooling with powdered sugar on top

A Delicious Tradition

This cake is light and delicious and we make Pandoro every year.

The traditions during the Christmas Holiday in an Italian family are instilled while growing up.

I always hope the kids grow up to do the same and have been lucky that my two sons are great cooks and bakers.

We will continue to bake Pandoro every Christmas and enjoy this tender delicious cake.

this is Pandoro made in a coffee can to look like a star and baked on a plate cooling with powdered sugar on top

Optional Ways to serve Pandoro

When the loaf is cool,  we like to dust with powdered sugar or make the frosting with powdered sugar and water ( I like lemon so I use the lemon extract in mine). Drizzle all over the Pandoro.

If you like it plain, it is also great topped with fresh fruits and whipped cream.

You can serve Pandoro any way you like.

Ingredients You Will Need to Make Christmas Pandoro Golden Cake

  • lukewarm water
  • dry yeast
  • sea salt
  • egg yolks plus 1 egg
  • zest of fresh lemon or oranges
  • honey
  • flour
  • melted butter

Tools Needed To Make Pandoro

  • parchment paper
  • 1 extra-large metal coffee can or 2 small coffee cans or Pandoro Pan
  • measuring cups
  • bowls
  • measuring spoons
  • heavy duty mixer

More Holiday Inspired Recipes:

Easter Recipes

Game Day Recipes

Best Holiday Side Dishes

Red White and Blue Recipes

Halloween Roundup

Thanksgiving Recipes

Christmas Recipes

Italian Christmas Eve Recipes

Christmas Pandoro Pin for later

Christmas Pandoro (Golden Cake)

Christmas Pandoro (Golden Cake)

Yield: 2
prep time: 20 Mcook time: 35 Mtotal time: 55 M
This is called Pandoro. It is a recipe for a yeast-risen cake made traditionally every Christmas in Italy. A very old recipe of Golden Cake and a tradition every year in our Italian home.


  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 3/4 tablespoon sea salt
  • 4 egg yolks plus 1 egg
  • 1 zest of fresh lemon or oranges
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • parchment paper
  • 1 extra-large metal coffee can or 2 small coffee cans or Pandoro Pan
  • Optional Frosting
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Optional:1/2 teaspoon lemon extract or just dust with powdered sugar
  • other suggestions: whipped cream, chocolate or strawberry sauces on top
  • You can also just slice heat and spread some butter on it.


How to cook Christmas Pandoro (Golden Cake)

  1. Cut parchment paper pan to fit pan if using or grease the Pandoro pan heavily.
  2. Make a starter by adding water and yeast let sit for around 10 minutes. Add honey, butter, salt, zest, and egg yolks. Using an electric heavy-duty mixer, blend together adding flour. Mix until well blended around 5 minutes.
  3. Let sit in a warm spot until doubled in size. Punch down. Line the coffee can with parchment paper. Spray with cooking spray any areas not covered by paper.
  4. Place the dough into the can and let rise again.
  5. Preheat oven 350 degrees. Brush top with the last egg that has been beaten. Bake 35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool loaf 10 minutes and unmold.
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pandoro, christmas cake, Italian golden cake, italian pandoro
cake, yeast cakes, Italian cakes, holiday, Christmas, molded cakes
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Christmas Pandoro Pin for later

this is Pandoro made in a coffee can to look like a star and baked on a plate cooling with powdered sugar on top

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Disclosure: This recipe was originally shared in 2012. It was edited and re-published in 2019.