Italian Christmas cake from Brescia

Italian Christmas cake from Brescia

While looking for Italian Christmas cuisine today, I stumbled across the traditional Italian Christmas cake from Brescia. No, this is not panettone. The Christmas cake we are presenting here comes from Lombardy and is a specialty of the region. It only exists there. The city of Brescia and its province are known for their pastry specialties. In the restaurant guide Gambero Rosso for the delicacies "Pasticceri & Pasticcerie 2021" they won prizes for it.

Traditional Christmas cake in Italy

You need patience to bake this traditional Christmas cake from Italy. Flour, sugar, butter, eggs and yeast are the ingredients needed for this cake. The secret lies in the preparation. The Bossolà requires leisure and a portion of passion. Because before the mold is put into the oven, yeast dough must be made – with more or fewer eggs and with a resting time that varies from dough to dough. Italian Christmas cuisine requires time and leisure. Endurance is required to connect the dough step by step. A quarter hour! long two doughs are to be kneaded into a mass. once did everything right
the effort is rewarded with a result that is difficult to resist. At the end of the day there is a pot cake on the table that tempts you to indulge.

Dust the splendor with powdered sugar and the Italian Christmas cake that is so popular in Brescia at Christmas time is ready.

Homemade or fetched from the confectioner, the bossolà is a souvenir, a gift that is given to hosts. Those with a sweet tooth nibble on the Italian Christmas cake for breakfast. However, it is traditionally eaten as a dessert after a meal. A passito, a liqueur wine made from grapes, is an excellent accompaniment.


The Italian Christmas cake Bossolà comes from Brescia
The Italian Christmas cake Bossolà comes from Brescia (c) Photo: Roberto Maggioni

Lucky cakes and tarts are part of Italian Christmas cuisine

The recipe for the Italian Christmas cake Bossolà may have come to Brescia from the Republic of Venice a long time ago. It is also conceivable that this baking tradition goes back to an even more distant past. The origin of the Bossolà can no longer really be traced. But the fact is that this pot cake has a place in the legends that people told themselves in the Valli Bresciane - the mountain valleys of the province of Brescia. The Bossolà - a symbol of luck and hope. It is also certain that the professional bakeries in the city and the province of Brescia dedicate themselves to this specialty from the All Saints holiday at the end of October until well into January.

Iginio Massari is considered the grand master not only of the cake specialty, but of the art of confectionery in general. The Brescian has already won more than 300 national and international competitions of his guild with his sweet creations.

With his Pasticceria Veneto, which he has been running since 1971, the now 79-year-old has only just achieved the highest honors again. In its edition “Pasticceri & Pasticcerie 2021”, the restaurant guide Gambero Rosso Massaris confectionery ennobled with “Three cakes in gold”.

Recipe for the Italian Christmas cake from Brescia

Ingredients for the Italian Christmas cake according to the recipe by Iginio Massari (serving 14)

Dough 1

Flour 135 g
Sugar 40 g
Butter 40g
Yeast (fresh) 40 g
1 egg

Dough 2

Flour 260 g
Sugar 50 g
Butter 50g
2 eggs

Dough 3

Flour 500 g
Sugar 150 g
Butter 145g
Salt (7 grams)
Vanilla sugar (5 grams)
6 eggs

Preparation of the traditional Christmas cake from Italy

Dough 1

Heap flour on the work surface and form a well. Crumble the yeast and dissolve it in lukewarm water. Put the yeast solution in the well and add the butter, the egg and the sugar. Then you mix the ingredients and knead the dough until it is elastic. Form a ball and put it in a bowl. Cover this with a tea towel and let the dough for the Italian Christmas cake rest in a warm place for about 1 hour.

Dough 2

Mix the flour and sugar and pile them up. Put butter and eggs in a well and mix well. Then mix dough 1 (after it has risen well in one hour of resting time) with dough 2. Knead the mixture for a quarter of an hour and form a ball. Cover and let rest in a warm place for 2-3 hours until this dough has risen well.

Dough 3

Mix the flour, sugar, salt, and vanilla sugar together, pile them up, and add eggs and butter. Then you work everything into a dough for a few minutes. Then add dough 2 (after it has risen for 2-3 hours) to dough 3 and knead everything for a quarter of an hour. Put this dough in a greased dish and let it rest in a warm place for another 30 minutes, covered. Then bake it for 40-50 minutes in the oven that you have preheated to 190 °.

Finally, let the Italian Christmas cake cool down and dust it with powdered sugar. Then you can wrap it up and give it away – or eat it yourself. Enjoy the Italian Christmas cuisine at home with this recipe for the traditional Italian Christmas cake from Brescia.



Pastry specialties from the province of Brescia
Pastry specialties and Italian Christmas cake from the province of Brescia (c) Photo Roberto Maggioni

There is not only Italian Christmas cake in the Italian Christmas kitchen

With his awards, the super baker Iginio Massari from Brescia leads the ranking in Italy. The jury found that through his successes he made art from Italy known all over the world like no other confectioner. In addition to yeast dough delicacies such as Panettone and Pandoro Tradizionale, Massari not only offers the Italian Christmas cake in his confectionery in winter. At least he sees no reason why people shouldn't treat themselves to something this good at any time of the year, says the master confectioner. Many of his customers apparently see it the same way. He serves Christmas cuisine from Italy all year round.

Other pastry chefs in and around the city of 200 also received awards. Not just because of the Italian Christmas cake. Ten confectioneries in the province of Brescia can currently adorn themselves with “Two Cakes” – Bedussi, Garzoni, Piccinelli and San Carlo in Brescia, Sirani in Bagnolo Mella, FN Nazzari in Iseo on Lake Iseo, Chantilly in Lumezzane, Creazioni and Di Novo in Manerba, as well Andreoletti in Offlaga. L'Elite in Cologne also entered the list of the best with "a cake". If you are planning a trip to the city or region on Lake Garda in the near future, it is worth visiting at least one of these pastry shops.

The Garda province of Brescia is also proud of the crown for Federica D'Alpaos. D'Alpaos, patisserie chef at Hotel Lido 84 in Gardone Riviera, has made it to a top position in the ranking of kitchen pastry chefs.


Traditional Italian Christmas cake
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Source of Italian Christmas cakes from Brescia: Visit Brescia

Text of Italian Christmas cakes from Brescia: (c) Copyright Monika Fuchs
Photos of traditional Italian Christmas cakes: (c) Copyright Visit Brescia and Roberto Maggioni

Italian Christmas cake from Brescia

Monika Fuchs

Monika Fuchs and Petar Fuchs are the authors and publishers of the Food and Slow Travel blog  TravelWorldOnline. They have been publishing this blog since 2005. TravelWorldOnline has been online since 2001. Their topics are trips to Savor, wine tourism worldwide and slow travel. During her studies Monika Fuchs spent some time in North America, where she - partly together with Petar Fuchs - traveled to the USA and Canada and spent a research year in British Columbia. This intensified her thirst for knowledge, which she satisfied for 6 years as an adventure guide for Rotel Tours and then for 11 years as a tour guide for Studiosus Reisen around the world. She was constantly expanding her travel regions, but curiosity still gnawed at her: "What's beyond the horizon? What else is there to discover in this city? Which people are interesting here? What do they eat in this region?" As a freelance travel journalist (her articles have appeared in DIE ZEIT, 360° Canada, 360° USA, etc.), she is now looking for answers to these questions as a travel writer and travel blogger in many countries around the world. Petar Fuchs produces the videos on this blog as well as on YouTube. Monika Fuchs from TravelWorldOnline is among Germany's top 50 bloggers in 2021. Find more Information about Monika and Petar Fuchs here.