Panforte di Siena (Tuscan Christmas Cake Recipe)

The Christmas holiday season is the perfect time to try this amazing Panforte de Siena recipe, especially if you are Italian! Panforte is a delicious traditional Italian dessert containing nuts and fruits.

It is prepared in the 13th century in Siena, Italy (Tuscan region) for the very first time. The original name was panpepato (which means “peppered bread”), because of the strong pepper used. The process of preparing panforte is fairly easy and simple.

Servings 12-14


  • 90 grams/3 ¼ oz. hazelnuts
  • 115 grams/4 oz. almonds
  • 85 grams/3 oz. candied peel
  • 55 grams/2 oz. dried apricots, finely chopped
  • Grated rind of 1 range
  • 55 grams/2 oz. plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 115 grams/4 oz. caster sugar
  • 175 grams/6 oz. clear honey
  • Icing sugar, to decorate in a lar



  • Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Line a 20-cm/18-inch round springform cake tin with baking paper. Arrange the hazelnuts on a baking sheet; toast in the preheated oven for about ten minutes, or just until golden brown. Turn them onto the almonds on a baking sheet, then toast in the oven for ten minutes, until golden, watching carefully, because they can burn easily.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C/300°F/Gas Mark 2. Chop all the nuts and place in a large bowl. Add the pineapple, apricots, candied peel, and orange rind to the nuts and mix well. Sift the cocoa, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and together in the bowl and combine well.
  • Apply the honey and sugar into a saucepan and set over a low heat, stirring, until the caster sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes, until thickened and starting to darken. Stir the nut mixture into the pan and remove from the heat. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and level the surface with the back of a damp spoon. Bake in the oven for 1 hour, then transfer to a wire rack to cool in the tin. Carefully remove the cake from the tin and peel off the lining paper. Just before serving, dredge the top with icing sugar. Cut into thin wedges to serve.

Buon Appetito! Buone Feste!