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Ciaramicola cake: how to make it and some interesting facts

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ciaramicolaThe season for ciaramicola: a typical Easter cake from Perugia. A simple yet delicious cake, pleasing to the eye with a unique taste due to Alchermes liquor. A dessert which enraptures the senses. First it draws you in with its bright array of colours, upon taking that first bite it will win your heart over with its contrasting consistencies:
a soft and buttery base (once lard was used instead of butter), coupled with crunchy meringue for its festive decoration. A fantastic cake for breakfast or as a snack with a light tea, or even as an after-dinner dessert, here served with a glass of good wine. Ciaramicola is easy to make, perhaps the only tricky part is correctly whipping up those egg whites, which must remain stiff so that they remain in place and do not slide down the cake. Typical decorations with colourful sprinkles and the unusual colour of the mix confer it with a festive cheerfulness, perfect for a special
party.
HOW TO MAKE IT
Put the flour, egg yolks, grated lemon zest, sugar and 100 g of soft butter pieces into a bowl. Mix the ingredients, add a small glass of Alchermes liquor and the yeast, continue to stir until a homogeneous mix forms and then shape it into a ring shape. Place the mix into a buttered and floured tin. Bake at 180 degrees for 40 minutes. Once it has almost finished baking, top it with the firmly beaten egg whites (together with some icing sugar), and place it back in the oven for another 2 minutes. Leave to cool and dust with sprinkles to serve.
A USEFUL TIP
For the lemon zest, make sure that you use an untreated lemon, wash it thoroughly and only grate the outer yellow part, not the white layer beneath it which is very bitter.
AN INTERESTING FACT
It appears that the name Ciaramicola comes from “;ciaramella”;, a reference to the round shape of this cake. The multicoloured sprinkles used to decorate the cake are an auspicious sign. It is said that in ancient times girls would prepare ciaramicola with the colours of the city of Perugia (white and red) to remind their courters of the city area in which they resided.