A vegan version of the traditional Italian Christmas Cake!
Have you ever heard of Panettone before? If not then now is a perfect time for you to give it a try! It’s the Christmas season and this is the busiest time for the Panettone, a cake which is traditionally baked during this time in Milan. It is originally made with wheat sourdough but nowadays it is mostly baked with yeast. Other typical ingredients that give the Panettone its unmistakable taste are raisins and candied orange peel.
Even though some might not see it as cake and more like a pastry, it is still one of my favorite Christmas desserts since I was a little girl. But now that I don’t eat the original version any longer, I really had to make a vegan one of this treat.
Easy, step-by-step recipe
In this recipe, I will guide you step by step towards an incredible vegan Panettone. I used fresh yeast instead of dry yeast because I personally think that with fresh yeast, the dough of the baked goods rise a bit more and the end product also gets a bit softer. I still love to bake with dry yeast, but especially when it comes to desserts like this one I want to be extra sure that it turns out super soft and just perfect. I need to mention that the key to a perfect yeast dough is to give it enough rest and treat it like a precious little thing (because it is ;))
Freshly baked in a pot
Traditionally, the Panettone is baked in a paper sleeve which makes it look like a dome. As most of us don’t have a paper sleeve at home, there is an easy trick that works just as well. You need to find a matching pot that you can put in the oven at about 180 °C. I used a pot made of stainless steel with 15-16 cm diameter, which is about cm 12 high.
Because there are so many questions coming in regarding this dessert, I thought it would be good to give you an overview of the FAQs:
- Do I need vegan butter or some kind of oil in this recipe? No, you actually don’t need to add any fat to this recipe, because the yeast is doing great work in keeping the dough moist and fluffy. I thought I’d provide you with an oil-free recipe here, but if you like to add some fat to the dough then go ahead and pour 50 ml sunflower oil to the dough.
- Why do you use whole grain flour? Because I do bake with whole grain flour almost all the time and think it works really well. Sure, there is a difference between this type and the white flour. Whole grain flour makes the end product more firm in general and it might seem a bit more sticky. If you don’t like that then use one half white flour and whole grain flour for the other half of the quantity.
- My dough is not light and airy, what can I do? You can try kneading the dough a little longer, or letting it rest and rise longer as well. This is actually a really important step. You can also try adding more white flour to your dough as the whole wheat flour makes the dough more firm in general. Another thing to try is to add some vegetable oil like sunflower oil (about 50 ml).
- Can I also use instant yeast? Yes, of course you can! I just like to work with fresh yeast for a little more complex dessert like this one as it is super important that the dough rises enough so it gets more light in the end.
Do you need another vegan Christmas or Winter dessert? How about a soft and tasty gingerbread bundt cake? Check out this easy and vegan dessert!
For the starter
- 42 g yeast fresh
- 50 ml plant milk (soy or oat) cold
- 1 tsp sugar raw cane sugar
For the dough
- 250 g wheat flour whole grain
- 150 g spelt flour whole grain
- 50 g raw cane sugar
- 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp flaxseeds ground + 5 tbsp water)
- 3 tbsp lemon zest fresh or dried
- 400 ml water warm
- 100 g candied orange peel
- 150 g raisins
- 50 g wheat flour whole grain
First of all, you need to prepare the starter for the dough:
- Take out a cup and put fresh yeast, milk and sugar in it. Take a fork and stir the ingredients together until the yeast is dissolved in the liquid
- Cover the cup with a kitchen roll and place it at a warm place (a place in the sun or on a radiator)
- Wait until the yeast is activated and the liquid is rising (takes about 25 minutes)
For the dough
- Pour the starter in a bowl and add flour, sugar, flax eggs, zest and water
- Combine the ingredients really good by using a cooking spoon (it does the job for this first step as the dough is rather liquid)
- Place a cloth on top of your bowl and put it at a warm place with about 25-36 °C (must not be warmer than 36 °C). During winter time I use to put it in the oven at 25 °C
- Let the dough rest until it rises (this usually takes around 25 minutes)
- When the dough rose for the first time, take it out of the bowl and place it on a kitchen surface (first spread some flour on the surface so the dough won't stick to it)
- Add candied orange peel pieces, raisins and 50 g flour to the dough and knead it very well with your hands
- Now take the pot and lay it out with baking paper. Put the dough into the pot, cover the bowl with a cloth and put it back to the warm place
- Wait until the dough rises again.
- When the dough rose, you can take it out and spread some plant milk on top of it by using a pastry brush
- Put the pot back into the oven, this time without the cloth and turn up the heat to 180 °C. Bake the Panettone for 25 minutes
- After 25 minutes in the oven, turn down the heat to 150 °C and bake the Panettone for another 15 minutes
If you tried this vegan Panettone or any other recipe on the blog, please let us know how you liked it and leave a comment or rating below! We also love to connect with you on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. We love to meet you!