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Well Christmas is almost with us, so what better time to make Panettone, a traditional Italian cake, eaten at this time of year.  I have seen so many recipes for panettone, using many different ingredients, for flavours, almost all kinds of dried fruits, chocolate, almonds etc.  But for mine I wanted to make it with what in the UK we might associate with Christmas, so I used sultanas, raisins and candied peel.  They are ingredients used in a traditional British Christmas cake, so they seemed ideal for this recipe.  This is a recipe that takes a long time, but that included two periods of proving the dough which accounts for 7 hours.

Panettone actually has a bread like texture, rather than a sponge cake, made with strong white bread flour.  It should be a light texture, with lots of holes in it.  With lemon and orange zest mixed into the dough as well as the candied peel my panettone gave off a wonderful aroma during baking.  It turned out very well indeed, so far as I can see.  I cant check the inside at present since I want to deliver it intact, to be cut on Christmas Day.   But I am sure it will be fine.  I will try to update this blog entry after it has been cut open.

I should say that you don’t need to wait for Christmas to make this lovely cake, I can see no reason why it shouldn’t be enjoyed at any time of year, particularly if varying the fruit and flavours used.

I dont have a panettone tin, so I had to improvise.  To do this I used an 18cm deep cake tin and lined the sides with two layers of baking parchment, to a height of 20 cm.  This was rather more than needed but I wanted to be sure that as the cake rose during baking it didn’t come over the top.


As said, I am very pleased with the result.  Although it takes a very long time to make panettone I am sure it is worth all the effort.

Panettone – Video


  • 400g strong white bread flour
  • 3 medium eggs(large in USA)
  • 60ml milk
  • 60ml water
  • 7g dried active yeast(not easybake/instant yeast)
  • 70g unsalted butter, softened
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • Zest of one orange
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 80g sultanas
  • 65g raisins
  • 60g chopped candied peel


  1. Warm the milk and water together to about 43 degrees celsius(about 110 F)
  2. Pour the liquid into a bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it. 
  3. Leave it for 5-10 minutes, until it begins to froth.
  4. Add 4 tablespoons of flour and 2 teaspoons of sugar to the frothing mixture.
  5. Whisk the mixture to combine the flour and sugar.
  6. Cover the bowl with plastic film and leave for 30 minutes for the yeast to become very active.
  7. In the bowl of a stand mixer place the eggs, sugar, lemon and orange zest and vanilla extract and whisk until combined.
  8. Tip the yeast mixture into the bowl and whisk again to combine.
  9. Put the flour and salt into the bowl and, with the dough hook, mix on medium speed for 5 minutes.
  10. Add the butter and mix again until fully combined.
  11. Add the sultanas, raisins and chopped candied peel and mix until just combined. The dough will still be very sticky.
  12. Flour the work surface with a good amount of flour.
  13. Turn out the dough onto the flour and knead into the flour, scattering some on the top as well, until the dough is not longer sticky.  
  14. Form into a ball and place into a large bowl, that has been greased.  
  15. Cover the bowl with plastic film and leave to prove, in a warm place, for about 4 hours, until the dough has tripled in size.
  16. Remove from the bowl, onto a lightly floured surface and knock out the air.  
  17. Form into a ball again.
  18. Place the dough into a panettone tin, or as I did line the base of an 18cm deep cake tin, with a removable base and line the sides with a double thickness of parchment paper, with comes to a height of about 7 or 8 inches, and place the dough in that.
  19. With a sharp knife cut a cross into the top of the dough.
  20. Gently cover again with plastic film and allow to prove for 2-3 hours until the dough has again risen to double its’ size.
  21. As the dough comes to the end of this second proving preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350 F.
  22. Ensure that racks are removed to allow room for the tin to go into the oven with out touching any elements.
  23. Remove the plastic film and use an egg wash to brush over the top of the dough.
  24. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean. 
  25. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then remove the cake from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  26. To store the cake you can wrap it in plastic wrap and then tin foil to keep it fresh for up to a week.


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