Panettone, a rich but airy, sweet-yeasted cake, is commonly referred to as the Italian Christmas Cake. Legends recount the creation of Panettone by a poor Milanese baker, Tonio, who created the cake, “Pan di Tonio”, to raise money for the dowry of his daughter. Typically made with raisins or candied fruit, it’s traditionally served with tea or coffee for breakfast. Try serving it with whipped cream for an easy, but delicious dessert, or use it as a base for French toast for a sweet breakfast option.
Pandoro, made with eggs, butter, oil, and flour, is similar to panettone but does not contain dried fruit and raisins. Traditionally baked in a star-shaped pan and dusted with powdered sugar to resemble the Alps of Italy, the sweet yeast cake was historically served to royalty during the holiday season. Today, “golden bread,” as it is sometimes referred to, is served throughout the year, many times with a hollow center that is filled with whipped cream or gelato.
Panforte or "strong bread" is a spicy, dense cake made from nuts, candied fruit, spices, a touch of flour, and a sugar/honey syrup and sprinkled on both sides with powdered sugar. Created hundreds of years ago in the Italian city of Siena, it was traditionally served in small slices at Christmas, but is now enjoyed throughout the year and complemented by a cup of espresso.