In the search for a good Christmas cake recipe, I found this one which originates in Italy. It's name is Parrozzo, a traditional Christmas cake from the Abruzzo region of Italy.  The classic dome-shaped almond cake is flavored with orange or lemon zest and topped with a rich chocolate glaze. I prefer orange with chocolate, so I used orange zest here.

In the past, this cake was made as a coarse bread and later it got its sweet version when a baker poured the bread with chocolate to imitate the dark areas of the burned surface, characteristic of wood-burning ovens.  He called this cake parrozzo. 

This cake is baked in an ovenproof bowl or dome-shaped mold to maintain its traditional shape but it can be baked in a springform pan if desired. I didn't have a dome shaped mold and I couldn't find one in our stores, so believe it or not, I baked it in a pot.

When my husband saw it today, he said "Wow, that's a huge muffin" 😂😂



  • 1 cup crushed almonds (you can mix them with some apricot seeds too) about 150 g
  • 1 cup flour (replace 2 tbs of flour with 2 tbs of starch)
  • 1/4 cup semolina
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • finely grated zest of one orange 


  • 150 g sugar
  • 100 ml water
  • 20 g cocoa
  • 100 g dark chocolate
  • 100 ml condensed milk
  • 10 g gelatine powder
  • 50 ml water


  1. Preheat the oven to 190 C (350 degrees F).  Butter an 8 to 9-inch ovenproof bowl or springform pan. I couldn't find a bowl shape in stores, so I used a pot which was non sticking so I didn't coat it with anything.
  2. From the prepared 1 cup of flour, take out 2 tablespoons and replace them with 2 tablespoons of starch. That way we'll get a cake flour. If you have a cake flour, then use a whole cup and forget the starch.
  3. Grind the almonds to a fine powder and transfer the ground almonds to a bowl.  Add the flour, starch, semolina, baking powder, and salt and stir to combine.
  4. In another bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy using a mixer for about 3 minutes.  Add eggs one by one and continue to mix. Add the orange zest.  Add the flour mixture; beat until the batter is thick and well combined.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

  5. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  
  6. Cool the cake then remove it from the pan.

To make the glaze:
  1. Add the gelatin powder in 50 ml of water, mix and leave for several minutes.
  2. Put to boil the sugar and the water and add the sifted cocoa. Add the condensed milk, Mix. Mix in the ready gelatin. Set aside and add the crushed chocolate. Mix until the chocolate melts.
  3. Pour the ready glaze through a strainer and leave to cool to about 32 C (90F). Mix occasionally.
  4. Then align a larger sheet of baking paper and put a glass in the center. Put the cake on the glass.
  5. Slowly pour the glaze over the top of the cooled cake.  With a spatula, spread the glaze over the ends of the cake.  
  6. Transfer the cake to a serving plate or cake stand.  

  7. Keep the cake at a cool room temperature or refrigerate.  If refrigerated, bring to room temperature before serving.