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Maurizio Dining shows us how to make the Italian Christmas dessert - pandoro cake and cream

Maurizio Dining, the Italian restaurant in Mill Road, Cambridge, has a sweet treat for us.

Maurizio Dining’s Pandoro cake with marscapone cream
Maurizio Dining’s Pandoro cake with marscapone cream

At this special time of year, delicious Italian sweet breads are a firm favourite on our dinner table. Who doesn’t love a fluffy cake made with flour, butter, sugar, eggs and sprinkled with icing sugar?

Pandoro means ‘gold bread’ and we think it’s the gold standard of the Italian pudding world. Legend says that it’s originally from Verona and a local painter designed the special cake mould that gives it the iconic cone-shape.

Some cake connoisseurs prefer the panettone, so what’s the difference? Panettone has a denser texture and is filled with raisins and candied citrus fruit zests. Baking a pandoro is hard work as it needs plenty of time to rise and there’s a lot of dough work involved. Plus, you need the special pandoro cake mould.

Now the controversial bit...you could buy the pandoro, as many Italians do. Most supermarkets sell it and your local deli will probably have them piled high in the shop window.

To go with the pandoro, try making our mascarpone cream – it’s the perfect match as the two complement each other beautifully, leaving this sweet treat looking like a winter wonderland.

Pandoro Cake

Maurizio Dining’s Pandoro cake with marscapone cream
Maurizio Dining’s Pandoro cake with marscapone cream

Serves 6-8


  • 20g of yeast
  • 250g of plain flour – most for the bake and the rest for kneading/flouring the pandoro cake mould
  • 5 large free range or organic egg yolks
  • 100g white sugar
  • 200g unsalted butter cut into equal cubes
  • 1 large free range or organic egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Icing sugar to dust


  • Add the crumbled yeast to one third of the flour, one egg yolk and sugar.
  • Add water to make a soft dough.
  • Cover and leave to rise for about 2-3 hours.
  • Once ready add 3 egg yolks and one third of the cubed butter.
  • Knead into a ball.
  • Cover and leave to rise again for about 2-3 hours.
  • Once ready add the whole egg and the last egg yolk.
  • Knead it well, cover and leave to rise for another 2-3 hours.
  • Finally add the vanilla extract.
  • Now roll out the dough into a rectangle shape.
  • Place the rest of the cubed butter on top.
  • Fold the rectangle shape in and roll out.
  • Rest for 30 minutes and then twice repeat the fold and roll method leaving for 30 minutes each time.
  • Gently flour the inside of your pandoro cake mould.
  • Shape your dough into a ball and place inside.
  • Cover and leave to rise for about 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile heat the oven to 400F/200C.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 350F/180C.
  • Bake for another 30 minutes.
  • Once ready, gently ease it cake mould.
  • Leave to cool.
  • Serve with a sprinkling of icing sugar.

Mascarpone Cream


  • 4 free range or organic medium sized eggs
  • 1.5 tablespoons of white sugar
  • 1 freshly squeezed lemon or from a bottle
  • 500g mascarpone cheese


  • Separate the egg yolks and whites, keeping both in different bowls.
  • Slowly mix the whites together using an electric mixer.
  • Add half a teaspoon of white sugar.
  • Add 5-6 drops of lemon juice.
  • Slowly increase the speed of the whisking until it forms into a solid, silky, fluffy and firm shape.
  • Test it by making sure it doesn’t fall off the back of a spoon.
  • Leave to one side.
  • Add a tablespoon of white sugar to the yolks.
  • Using a silicon spatula gently and slowly fold in the mascarpone.
  • Now combine the two mixtures, gently folding in one direction until it forms into one large fluffy cloud.
  • Cover in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving with your Pandoro slices.

Buon Natale everyone, and we wish you a joyful and relaxing Christmas time. We will be putting our feet up from Saturday, December 24 and will reopen on Thursday, January 5, 2023.

Maurizio Dining & Co, 44 Mill Road, Cambridge CB1 2AS. Phone: 07957 735 844. Email: info@mauriziodining.com

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