Home Desserts Italian Panforte Recipe – Traditional Italian Delight

Italian Panforte Recipe – Traditional Italian Delight

Krista S

Traditional Italian Panforte Recipe: A Perfect Cake for Any Occasion

Discover the pleasure of baking Panforte, a delectable Italian cake that brings a touch of elegance to any occasion. Whether you’re planning a festive Christmas feast, a unique birthday surprise, or a cozy afternoon tea party, this traditional cake has the charm to steal the show.

Featuring a delightful medley of nuts and candied fruits, our Panforte recipe calls for a rich honey and sugar syrup, delivering a harmonious balance of sweetness and flavor. The result is a beautifully crunchy yet moist texture that tantalizes your taste buds with every bite.

Though simple to prepare, the key to this classic Italian dessert lies in swift preparation. Our easy, step-by-step guide ensures you’ll master this decadent Panforte cake recipe in no time.

Immerse yourself in the authentic Italian baking experience and be ready to dazzle your guests with the irresistible allure of homemade Panforte.

What Does Panforte Mean in Italian?

Panforte is a traditional Italian dessert originating from the Tuscan city of Siena. Its name translates directly from Italian to “strong bread” due to the rich, robust flavors of the ingredients used.

Panforte’s history dates back to the 13th century. The cake was initially created by spice merchants who used their exotic spices to create a long-lasting, durable cake that could be taken on their long journeys. It was also given to soldiers and crusaders for the same reason. Over time, the recipe has been refined to the version we know today.

The classic recipe includes ingredients like nuts, honey, spices, and candied fruit, all combined into a dense, flavorful cake. The ingredients are held together with a sweet syrup made from sugar and honey, giving the dessert its distinctive chewy texture. It’s typically topped with a dusting of powdered sugar and served in thin slices due to its richness.

Panforte is traditionally associated with the Christmas season, but it’s now enjoyed all year round and has become a symbol of Siena’s culinary culture, appreciated by food lovers worldwide.

What Is The Difference Between Panpepato And Panforte?

Panpepato and Panforte are two closely related Italian cakes that originated in the Tuscan city of Siena. They share a similar base of ingredients: nuts, dried or candied fruits, honey, and spices. Both are dense, chewy, and richly flavored. However, there are a few key differences between the two.

Panforte is the simpler and milder of the two cakes. It often uses lighter ingredients like candied citrus peel and almonds, and it’s typically topped with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Panpepato, on the other hand, is more robust and spicier. Its name translates to “peppered bread,” reflecting its more assertive flavor profile. It typically includes darker ingredients like dried figs and hazelnuts. The key difference, though, is the addition of black pepper and sometimes even chocolate, which gives it a distinctive kick not present in Panforte. It’s also usually coated in a layer of dark chocolate instead of powdered sugar.

Both cakes are traditional Christmas treats, though they can be enjoyed any time of the year. They each represent a different facet of Tuscan culinary tradition and are well worth trying if you have the opportunity.

Enjoy This Recipe!

The faster you work, the moister the cake will be. Furthermore, you can store this cake for up to 3 weeks. Put it in an airtight container and keep it in a dry, cool place.

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  • Author: Cher
  • Total Time: 1 hr.
  • Yield: 10 1x


Enjoy Italian nuts and fruit cake recipe that is perfect for any occasion. It is made with a unique Italian technique and is super moist and soft. The cake is very easy to make, and it complements tea perfectly. Top it with icing sugar and cocoa powder to enhance its flavor.


Units Scale

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup of sugar

1/3 cup almonds, blanched and halved

1/3 cup hazelnuts, roasted and chopped

3/4 cup candied fruit

1 tbsp water

3 tbsp honey

1/2 tsp cinnamon powder

1/3 tsp nutmeg

1/3 tsp coriander powder

1/3 tsp cloves, grounded

1 tsp cocoa powder



  1. In a large bowl, add all-purpose flour and spices and set aside.
  2. In another bowl, add nuts and candied fruit and set aside.
  3. Place a saucepan over medium heat. Add water, honey, and sugar and bring it to a boil stirring constantly.
  4. Let the mixture simmer for 1-2 minutes until sugar dissolves.
  5. Pour this mixture over the nuts and candied fruit and mix well.
  6. Add flour mixture and mix well until everything is combined.
  7. Line a round baking pan with parchment paper and pour the mixture into it.
  8. Smooth out the surface and dust cocoa powder on top.
  9. Place the baking pan in a preheated oven at 350-degree F for 45 minutes.
  10. Once done, remove the pan from the oven and let it cool before serving.

For Serving:

You can dust cocoa powder and icing sugar on the cake before serving it. Serve the cake as a dessert or along with tea or coffee.


You can choose any type of nuts according to your liking.

I choose mixed candied fruit, but you can choose any fruit you like. You can add dates as well.

Before taking the cake out of the oven, insert a toothpick to see if it comes out clean. If so, the cake is ready.

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins

Panforte Baking Tips:

Making Panforte requires a bit of precision and timing, but following these tips can help ensure success:

1. Use quality ingredients: Since there are relatively few components in panforte, each ingredient’s flavor stands out. Using high-quality dried fruits, nuts, spices, and honey will make a significant difference in the final product.

2. Prepare your pan properly: Panforte is very sticky. Lining your pan with parchment paper and then lightly greasing it will make it easier to remove the cake after baking.

3. Watch your syrup: When boiling your sugar and honey syrup, it’s crucial not to overcook it, or you could end up with a hard, rather than chewy, cake. Use a candy thermometer if you have one, and aim for the “soft ball” stage, between 235-240°F (113-116°C).

4. Work quickly: Once your syrup reaches the right temperature, you need to work quickly to combine it with the dry ingredients and then transfer the mixture to your prepared pan before it starts to set.

5. Let it cool completely: Resist the temptation to cut into the panforte straight out of the oven. It needs time to cool and set up to achieve the right texture.

6. Serving: Traditionally, panforte is dusted with icing sugar before serving. Remember to cut it into thin wedges or small squares because it’s very rich.

7. Storage: Panforte keeps well. Store it wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, and it can last for weeks.

Remember, practice makes perfect. The process might take a few tries to get down, but once you do, you’ll have a delicious and unique dessert to share.

It is a perfect snack and fulfills your midnight sugar craving perfectly. Moreover, you can also freeze the cake by wrapping it in clingfilm.

Try this panforte recipe and give yourself a challenge to faster and more organized baking!

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