Pandoro Christmas Tree Cake with Amaretto and Mascarpone Whipped Cream

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pandoro Christmas tree I’m excited to share this festive cake with you and you don’t even have to do any baking, it has a beautiful presentation because it resembles a snowy Christmas tree, it comes together in no time and it will certainly impress your guests!

Do you want to know what it is?

pandoro at Eataly Chicago It’s called Pandoro, or golden cake and it’s something you buy, it’s sold almost everywhere during the holidays. You can find it along with Panettone at most supermarkets, pastry shops and Italian markets, I’ve even seen it in T.J. Maxx and Marshals this time of year. I went to Eataly Chicago last weekend and they were displayed everywhere.

Pandoro is a traditional sweet bread from Verona, golden in color because of the large amount of egg yolks used, there are no nuts or dried fruit like in Panettone and it’s baked in a star shaped mold. Trust me, it’s heaven in a pretty box!

pandoro You can buy  the large size as well as the smaller, more individual ones, pretty much the same way they sell Panettone.

I have to be honest, I’ve never made this Christmas tree cake before so I opted for the smaller version just to see how it would turn out, I’ve seen it done on different blogs and websites in the past and always loved the look of it, such a festive dessert and the taste is decadent!

I’m here to say this is a wonderful addition to your holiday table, I know now by making the smaller version, that the larger one will be on my table.

sliced pandoro  Horizontally cut the Pandoro gives you beautiful star shaped slices that you can now layer with whipped cream, mascarpone or a custard, you can also flavor it with Amaretto, Limoncello, Rum,  chocolate, whatever you so desire.

sliced pandoro I used Amaretto to brush on my slices and to flavor my cream mixture, it was divine! You can embellish it anyway you want even using fresh fruits and nuts.

pandoro christmas tree The layers build upon each other to form the look of a Christmas tree, the perfect addition to your sweet table this holiday season!

Pandoro Christmas Tree Cake with Amaretto and Mascarpone Whipped Cream
  • This recipe is for a 3.5 oz. Pandoro, you can double everything for the larger size.
  • 1 cup, heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup of mascarpone, room temp
  • 1 heaping tablespoon, powdered sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
  • 2 teaspoons of Amaretto to flavor the cream mixture,plis additional for brushing layers
  • toasted sliced almonds for garnish and between layers,
  • white sprinkles, optional
  1. Cream Mixture
  2. In a mixing bowl add the mascarpone and the heaping powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
  3. Add in the heavy cream and the 2 teaspoons of Amaretto and beat mixture into stiff peaks.
  4. Slice the Pandoro horizontally, being careful not to break the points of the star shape. Place the largest slice on a serving dish then brush with Amaretto, then spread cream mixture on top with some toasted almonds.
  5. Place the next largest slice on top placing it on an angle so the points of the stars are staggered alternate layers.
  6. Repeat with the Amaretto and cream mixture on every slice and continuing to stagger the layers until you reach the top.
  7. Place cream mixture on the very top, sprinkle with almonds and other garnishments.
  8. Dust all over with powdered sugar.
  9. This can be made a few hours ahead of time and kept in a cool place.


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  1. Marie – I am making this for our Hanukkah Party. Last night at a local Italian restaurant I was chatting with the owner about Pandora and I remembered your post. It looks spectacular and easy to pull together. Thank you so much!

  2. Hi Marie,

    Don’t you just love these Christmas Construction Projects?” This one is a particular favorite around our house. I love Pandoro, even more than Panettone, I think. The only limit to making these “trees” is one’s imagination. Your tree looks wonderful, and I bet your guests just flipped for it. Brava! (If you have any trouble with stability, you can always poke long wooden skewers or dowels down through the tree, just to keep it from slipping, as cake designers do with multi-layered creations.)
    0 uon Natale!

  3. Hi Marie,
    I love this! Approximately how tall did this turn out to be?

    • Hi Debbie, Now remember I used the smaller Pandoro, it was the 3.5oz size, it depends how many layers you cut, I had 8, you could do less it’s up to you, if I remember mine was close to 12 inches high, the combo of mascarpone and whipped cream made it stick together better, it gave the filling a little more body instead of straight whipped cream only. Thhe bigger Pandoro will give you more stability.

  4. I love Pandoro! Yours looks gorgeous, better than the ones baked in Italy!


  5. I love this idea!!! Thanks for sharing such an easy recipe for the holidays!

  6. Oh Marie, this is spectacular – hat a beautiful presentation! I can’t wait to make this!

  7. so delightful and clever , I love it!! Merry Christmas xoxo

  8. What a great idea, Marie. I haven’t seen these little cakes before but I’ll make a special point of looking around for them. We don’t have the great Italian markets here that you have in Chicago (unfortunately). Your presentation is so festive and I imagine is as delicious as it is attractive. Happy Holidays.

  9. Love your recipes and have used several always with successful results. Would like to make the Pandoro Christmas Tree but my family do not like amaretto. Could you please suggest an alternative. Thanks.

  10. This looks incredible, a wow presentation without too much work! Thanks so much Marie, Happy Holidays!

  11. So love this. Easy yet built to impress…Thanks again marie

  12. Sorry to write again, but how would you serve it to family? I thinking it is very tall and it isn’t wide. Would you take a layer off and put it on a plate?

    • Marisa, the smaller one is more narrower and tall, the larger one will have wider layers, and yes I served it by layers. Mixing the mascarpone with the whipped cream gave the mixture more body and held everything together just fine.

  13. I have a pandoro pan and I’ve made it before – with great success. I don’t have time this year but I’ll definite do this next year. Thank you for the inspiration.

  14. We are most definitely a Christmas cookies family and have already started baking all the traditional Italian cookies for our holiday desserts. But one look at this and I know I am making one. This is pure genius and is so pretty. I may have to make a small one for the obligatory taste test in advance of Christmas. Oh, the sacrifices we must make! Thanks so much for sharing.

  15. Carol (LaBanco) Szafalowicz says

    Buon Natale Marie…….I’ve never seen this before……what a great easy addition for our Christmas dessert table.
    And let’s face it , what’s not good with mascarpone and amaretto! Maybe I’ll even throw in some strawberries mixed with…..
    yep, more amaretto!!! Couldn’t hurt.
    Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Healthy New Year.

    As always I look forward to your recipes, pinterest ………keep them coming.
    Warmly, Carol from Chicago

  16. The whipped cream with mascarapone and amaretto sounds divine! This looks very pretty, Marie. I could also see drizzling some melted chocolate over it before serving.

  17. Oh how pretty. Everyone should have one of these for the “I don’t have time to bake” times. I just discovered a “real” Italian market close to where I get my hair cut. It is chocked so full you can hardly make it down the isle. All imported from Italy. They make their own sausages and ricotta so I am pretty happy to go back soon. I had a cannoli just for research – delish. 🙂

    • Good for you, those are the best kind of markets when you hardly can make it down the isles, have fun shopping there, and I’m sure they would carry Pandoro too!

  18. I’ve seen these done, but never tried it myself. I love pandoro as much as I love panettone, and this way of “dressing” it up makes for a quick and special dessert. How did you serve it? layer by layer, or did you cut down to the bottom?

  19. Marie, this is spectacular. And so easy. Pandoro is such a great “canvas,” isn’t it? I’ve made Pandoro trifle and Pandoro tiramisu and Pandoro french toast. But never this gorgeous tower. This Christmas for sure. I just bought some today. The brand is Loison, which I love. It’s expensive but worth the once-a-year splurge. Buon Natale!

    • I really have to look out for that Loison brand Domenica, I saw your beautiful trifle and I think I will be making french toast with it real soon!

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