This festive Pandoro Christmas tree cake calls for just 4 ingredients - Make a fantastic Italian Christmas cake in just 15 minutes!
This super easy Italian Christmas cake is soft and spongy, with a deliciously rich pastry cream filling. It's the perfect quick dessert to make for a holiday party.
The best part is that it takes just 15 minutes to make!
So, if you're looking for a last-minute easy Christmas dessert, I've got you covered!
I love making holiday desserts, especially Italian desserts (hello tiramisu'!), but sometimes I'm a bit overwhelmed with all the holiday cooking and I don't have time to make elaborate desserts.
This pandoro cake takes all the pressure off, and makes such a festive showstopping Christmas dessert, with little if no effort!
You can get a high-quality pandoro cake from the store well in advance, prepare the pastry cream the day before, and use whatever you have on hand to decorate your cake.
It really is one of the easiest Christmas desserts you can possibly make, and it's sure to wow your guests!
WHAT IS PANDORO?
Pandoro is a star-shaped traditional Italian Christmas cake originally from the town of Verona, in northern Italy.
The word pandoro means golden bread, essentially because it is a yeast-rising golden cake (or more specifically sweet bread).
This beautifully soft, spongy cake is one of the most loved Italian desserts for the Christmas holidays, together with its eternal rival, Italian Panettone.
Making pandoro is a labour of art, patience, and attention, so most people tend to buy the commercial version, but if you want to give it a try, I recommend this homemade Pandoro recipe.
ITALIAN CHRISTMAS CAKE INGREDIENTS
This festive Italian Christmas cake is proof that you don't need many ingredients to make a delicious dessert.
In fact, you just need four!
- Pandoro: pick a good-quality store-bought pandoro or make homemade pandoro.
- Pastry cream: Italian pastry cream (crema pasticciera) is creamy and rich and works wonderful here.
- Candied cherries: it doesn’t get more festive than candied cherries! You can use red, green cherries or both.
- Confectioner's sugar: it’s optional, but for the full pandoro experience you need a little dust of confectioner’s sugar on top.
MORE FILLING IDEAS
My go-to option for filling the pandoro is Italian patisserie cream, but if you want to try something different, here are some other delicious fillings:
- Chocolate spread: for a rich, chocolatey flavour, opt for store-bought Nutella or make your own homemade chocolate hazelnut spread.
- Lemon curd: for a wonderful citrusy aroma, try a thick lemon curd filling.
- Mascarpone cream: lightly flavoured with orange zest, this mascarpone cream filling is always a hit, and it's ready in 5 minutes (bonus points if you make it with homemade mascarpone).
- Diplomat cream: Mix in 200 ml (6.7 oz) freshly whipped cream after your crema pasticcera is ready. Diplomat cream is lighter than pastry cream, with a smoother texture.
MORE TOPPING IDEAS
I used candied cherries to decorate the pandoro, but you can absolutely go crazy with the toppings, here are some other great ideas:
- Fresh berries: raspberries, blueberries and strawberries make a wonderful decoration.
- Chocolate pralines: store-bought or homemade pralines, Belgian chocolates, or chocolate bonbons will make a super decadent decoration.
HOW TO MAKE PANDORO CHRISTMAS TREE CAKE
This holiday pandoro Christmas tree cake takes just about 15 minutes to make.
Scroll down until the end of the post for the full printable recipe.
STEP 1 - SLICE THE PANDORO
Start by cutting the pandoro into horizontal slices at least 1.5-inch/2 cm high. Use a bread knife to make the process easier.
STEP 2 - SPREAD THE FILLING
Starting from the base, spread a little cream over each slice, and overlap them by placing the alternating tips to make it similar to a Christmas tree.
STEP 3 - TOP WITH CHERRIES
Top each tip with a candied cherry or the decoration of your choice.
STEP 4 - DUST WITH CONFECTIONER'S SUGAR
Finally, dust the pandoro with a little icing sugar right before serving.
Absolutely yes! You can prepare the cream filling up to 2 days in advance. You can then put the stuffed pandoro together and store it in the refrigerator up to 5 hours before serving.
Cut the leftover pandoro into vertical slices and store them horizontally in a large air-tight container. Store in the fridge for up to 2 days.
- The pastry cream filling recipe is just enough for one stuffed pandoro. Alternatively, use 400 g of your desired filling.
- Make sure your pandoro slices are thick enough to make the cake hold well the weight.
- To make it even prettier, transfer the cream into a piping bag fitted with a star-shaped tip, so you can pipe little stars of cream on each pandoro tip.
MORE CHRISTMAS DESSERT RECIPES TO TRY
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?
Please let me know how you liked it! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #thepetitecook!
Pandoro Christmas Tree Cake
- 1 Pandoro cake 1 kg
- 400 g pastry cream
- 40 candied cherries
- 2 tbsp confectioner's sugar
- Use a bread knife to cut the pandoro into horizontal slices at least 1.5-inch/2 cm high.
- Starting from the base, spread a little pastry cream over each slice, and overlap them by placing the alternating tips as to make it similar to a Christmas tree.
- Top each tip with a candied cherry, or the decoration of your choice.
- Finally, dust the pandoro with a little confectioner's sugar right before serving.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.