An Italian Christmas cake that started out as a regional favorite in Milan, this lighter, airier take on the classic fruitcake is usually baked into a dome shape containing candied fruits and nuts. Recent variations leave out the fruits or are filled with other popular ingredients, like custard and chocolate. Classic panettone is rich with eggs, and it has a light crumb and very airy texture. Allowing the dough to rise three times helps to create the distinctive loft.
We don't know who invented panettone, but this ancient cake probably originated during Roman times. If you want to create an authentic version at home, make sure to use a special, high-sided panettone pan.