Italian Christmas Tree Cake with Lemon Curd and Limoncello

Italian Christmas tree cake I know it’s definitely Christmas time when I start to see all the colorful boxes of panettone and pandoro sold in almost every store I walk into. Both breads are decadent and sweet and most Italians love to eat them for dessert and breakfast, as well as giving them out as gifts during the holidays.

The difference between the two is that panettone is studded with nuts and dried fruits and pandoro is plain, no fruit or nuts but rich in butter and egg like a fluffy brioche, golden in color and baked in a pretty star- shaped pan.

pandoro You can make pandoro into a Christmas tree shape by cutting the star-shaped loaf horizontally and then rotating the layers.

It’s fun to make, very festive and it doesn’t take long to put it together, it can be a fun project to do with your kids and the best part is, there’s no baking involved!

christmas tree cake Here I made an adult version by brushing the layers with limoncello. In the past I’ve used Amaretto, which is equally amazing, but feel free to eliminate the liqueur all together if you want, it’s not necessary.

Then there’s the mascarpone and whipped cream mix, together they create a nice stable consistency which will hold your cake together and give you that look of “snow”. I also folded in some good quality, store-bought lemon curd into the whipped cream mixture, I’ll just let you imagine how good it is, no words needed.

For a kids version think Nutella swiped onto the layers along with the whipped cream and mascarpone mixture.

Honestly the flavor possibilities are endless as well as the decorating part. You can put fresh berries on the star points to make it look like ornaments and if you don’t want fresh fruit you can use candied cherries, sprinkles, crushed candy canes, shaved chocolate, edible stars. The baking isle of your store will give you a ton of inspiration.

You can make a nice presentation for your holiday table by decorating your serving platter with some fake greenery and pine cones like I did, or just wander into a craft store to get your own awesome ideas.

christmas tree cake

The fun part is decorating the very top, I found an acrylic star ornament that I can reuse, I just cut off the string and popped it into the cake. Here again the possibilities are endless, you could even use one of your own decorated cookies, that would be a really nice touch.

christmas tree cakechristmas tree cake

I hope you give this a try and if you do I would love to see all your creations!

Follow me on Instagram where you can see what else I’m cooking up daily during the holidays.

5.0 from 4 reviews
Italian Christmas Tree Cake with Lemon Curd and Limoncello
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 large Pandoro
  • ½ cup of Limoncello or other liqueur (optional)
  • 1 small jar of good quality store-bought lemon curd 10 oz. ( You won't use it all)
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese, room temp
  • 2 heaping tablespoons, powdered sugar
  • edible stars, white pearl sprinkles or anything else you want to decorate with
  • A topper for your tree cake, I used a star ornament
  • platter decorations
Instructions
  1. Turn the Pandoro on it's side and carefully cut six slices horizontally.
  2. In a large mixing bowl add the mascarpone cheese and powdered sugar, cream well beating with a mixer.
  3. Next add the heavy cream into the mascarpone mixture, beating well into stiff peaks, not soft and loose.
  4. Fold in lemon curd, start with a heaping tablespoon and keep adding more to taste and stiffness of the cream mixture, remember you don't want it runny.
  5. Place the largest slice onto your serving platter.
  6. Brush first layer with limoncello, if not using liqueur just brush the layer with a thin swipe of lemon curd.
  7. Spread cream mixture all over the top.
  8. Top with the next largest slice making sure to angle it so the points of the star do not align.
  9. Repeat with the limoncello and cream mixture on each layer and finally the top.
  10. At this point you can refrigerate it over night and decorate it closer to the time you will be serving it. I've done it hours before. Try not to serve it ice cold from the fridge, let it sit out a little.
  11. To cut remover layer by layer and cut into serving size, when you get towards the bottom you can cut into wedges.
  12. Remember, the skies the limit on flavor and decorating, make it your own!

 

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LIMONCELLO TIRAMISU !

I know many of you are Chocoholics out there, and rightly so, but if you want something equally as decadent and a little different than the norm, try this sinfully delicious Limoncello Tiramisu!! This is definitely for very special occasions, when you want to Wow your certain someone, friends or family with a special dessert. The one I made was meant to be shared by two, because of its size. But you can certainly make smaller, individual ones. The main characters consist of pound cake that is drenched in Limoncello, a homemade lemon curd, all layered with Mascarpone and whipped cream!! Need I say more??

In a pan place the juice and zest of 3 lemons seeds and all, you’re going to strain it. 1 Tbl. short of a whole stick of butter, 6oz. of sugar, and 3 whole eggs. Whisk everything on med low just till bubbles start to show. Strain with a fine mesh strainer.

Next, take your pound cake and cut it to fit the size of your glass, I used a biscuit cutter.

Now take your bottle of Limoncello, and drench your pound cake pieces, you could use either a homemade, or a good quality store bought one. Just use a basic pound cake recipe if you make it, you want to be sure to taste the Limoncello.


Make sure it’s soaked!!
Finally, start whipping up a small carton of heavy cream, when you have stiff peaks, add a small container of room temperature Mascarpone, beat together just till incorporated.

Assemble it by layering all the components together in a pretty glass, and topping it off with some lemon peel.


Words cannot describe how amazing this is!

Note** You can also layer this in a glass 9×12 pan, or a glass loaf pan instead of individual portions.
 It’s also beautiful placed into a trifle bowl, you’ll will definitely hear lots of ooohs and aaahs when you bring it out of the frig. It makes for a great presentation and what’s really nice is that you can make it the night before.
Just be sure to double everything if you’re using the trifle bowl. A good store bought pound cake is fine, I used 2 for this, slice it into 3rd’s lengthwise, cut strips to go around the edge of the bowl, and bigger pieces to layer up the middle.
limoncello tiramisu

 

 

 

Enjoy!!

 

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