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Orange-Anise Bundt Cake (Ciambella)

12 Servings

1 hour 15 minutes 30 minutes active, plus cooling

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Italian ciambella is a ring-shaped cake, though the term is also used for certain types of donuts. There are countless variations on the sweet; our cake is based on ciambella all'arancia, made with olive oil and orange juice or zest (arancia means orange). We use a standard Bundt pan rather than the traditional ring mold, and we add anise seed for aromatic, licorice-like flavor; make sure to coarsely grind the aniseed so it retains some texture. Sambuca, an anise liqueur, gave us a second layer of flavor; ouzo or pastis is a fine substitute. To skip the alcohol, substitute ½ teaspoon anise extract plus 3 tablespoons orange juice. In an airtight container at room temperature, the cake will keep for up to three days.




Don’t use regular cooking spray to coat the Bundt pan. Baking spray, which contains flour, ensures the cake releases easily. Don't overmix the batter after adding the flour; this will cause the cake to bake up with a dense, tough crumb. It's fine if the batter shows a few small lumps.

1 hour 15 minutes

30 minutes active, plus cooling


  • 293

    grams (2¼ cups) all-purpose flour

  • 50

    grams (½ cup) almond flour


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Allison M.
March 16, 2023
Whipped up this cake on a whim - I love a cake I don’t need to get out my mixer to make! I used orange extract in place of zest and anise extract in place of the liquor because that’s what I had on hand. Gorgeous results! Used my classic bundt pan (like in the picture) but I can’t wait to make it again using one of my more decorative bundt pans.
Claudia B.

This cake is delicious. I made it for a potluck and it was devoured.

John M.

An excellent cake that was delicious & subtle tasting, but far from bland. I did substitute the Sambuca liqueur with the anise/orange juice mix as noted here.
Thanks, Erika!

Brittany N.

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Sam S.

This cake was lovely but I found the flavors *very* subtle. I'm gonna think about ways to boost both the anise and orange flavors.

Sandy B.

The recipe makes 12 cups of batter. The Trudeau silicone pro Bundt cake pan only holds 10 cups. What do you do with the remaining 2 cups?

Lynn C.

Hi Sandy -

The recipe calls for a 12-cup bundt pan and the recipe yields the appropriate amount of batter for that size bundt pan. If you are using a smaller bundt pan than the recipe calls for you will have leftover batter. You can discard the batter or try to use it to make smaller, muffin-sized cakes, but we haven't tested this so we don't have specific recommendations.

The Milk Street Team