Christmas Baking: Chambolot – A Family Recipe


Chambolot first came into my life about six years ago, during the first New Year holiday I spent with my husband’s (then-boyfriend) family. This dense, lemon-flavored, moist cake sprinkled with chocolate chips is Nick’s favorite Christmas baked good. Not long after that first holiday Nick’s grandma passed away, and I spent at least three holiday seasons trying to recreate the recipe, only to fail each time. This past Thanksgiving, while at my in-laws, I saw Nick’s other grandma and mentioned that I have been trying to make this recipe. Lo and behold, she said that she had her own recipe. A few days after coming home from Thanksgiving I got a card in the mail from her with the recipe. Hallelujah!

Nick ended up helping me finish mixing the dough because it was too much for my trusty KA and my twerpy little arms, and then he moved on to be the official chocolate chip mixer in-er, and roll maker. It was so fun to hang out in the kitchen together! Here are some shots of him in action (which also illustrate how we went about making these!):



We followed the recipe exactly and after the grand taste testing, Nick confirmed that this was the exact recipe and it tasted perfect. So exciting! This is a great recipe, and if you are inclined to try, I have included the following tips:

  • As I have found with all recipes passed down from Italian grandmas – they make enough to feed the entire town (see evidence below). You may pass out when you read the quantities in the recipe below. I did not scale this down, as I plan on keeping some for ourselves and giving a few each to mine and Nick’s family. So I can’t guarantee you perfect results if it’s scaled, however I would imagine it would be fine.


  • I know that this recipe calls for margarine and that a lot of people are averse to using it, however having failed at recreating this recipe so many times I decided to stick to the recipe exactly. I’d also been warned by a couple of friends not to mess with the old-world recipes πŸ™‚
  • This dough is pretty soft and sticky – we ended up adding a lot of additional flour and had to generously flour the work surface, our hands, and the dough to work with it, however the texture turned out perfect in the finished product.
  • The best way to shape the logs is to pat out a rough rectangle of a portion of dough, sprinkle the chocolate chips on top, press them into the dough, and then knead the dough back together to incorporate the chips and then form into a log.

Chambolot (Italian Tea Cake)

(Source: Nick’s Grandma)

6 whole eggs + 1 egg yolk (save egg white for egg wash)
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups margarine (5 sticks)
Rind of 6 lemons
Juice of 1 lemon
3 teaspoons cream of tartar
3 teaspoons baking soda
10 cups flour (approximately)
1/2 cup milk
24 oz. package semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Blend eggs and sugar well. Cut margarine into mixture, and then blend well. Add lemon rind and juice.

3. Combine flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Slowly add to wet mixture alternatively with the milk. The dough should be firm and smooth, not hard.

4. Divide dough into 8-9 logs, about 12 oz. each. Dust dough lightly with flour if too sticky to roll. Add a heaping 1/4 cup of chocolate morsels on top of dough and press/work into dough. Each log will be about 10″ long and 2″ wide (they will expand when baked).

5. Brush tops with slightly beaten egg white and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and tester comes out clean.


6 Responses

  1. how cute that your DH helped you make these! they look great and i think the lemon and chocolate combo would be delicious πŸ™‚

  2. definitly enough to feed the town!

    it sounds wonderful, bet it smelled lovely when cooking? mmmm

  3. these look awesome! i can’t wait to try them at home. good job nick!!! πŸ™‚

  4. Mmm those look aweesome! And what a great kitchen helper you have. You should have made him flex for the pictures. πŸ™‚

  5. This sounds incredible! I wonder if you could even substitute orange instead of lemon? I’m not averse to lemon in any way, but I do so love the combination of orange and chocolate! I’ve got to try this in the original form first before attempting that substitution…

  6. These looks soooo good! But what is evenmore fabulous is you got your husband to make them with you! You HAVE to teach me how to do that! πŸ™‚

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