Housewife’s Easter cake ‘colomba’

There are some cakes that are irresistible to both adults and children due to their lightness, aroma and inimitable taste: one of these is certainly the Easter colomba ‘dove’ cake, which is always served in Italy during this important religious festival. The cake symbolises Easter, both due to its shape as a dove, itself also a symbol of peace and purity and, as it contains eggs, as a metaphor for rebirth. Recipes to make this Easter cake are countless and making it at home takes a long time due to the extensive rising periods, so that, like many traditional desserts, it requires more than one day to complete. The recipe that I offer here comes from a magazine and is a slightly different version from that suggested by Anna Moroni. When covering the cake with the icing, take care not to go right to the edge of the mould because, otherwise, the glaze will leak out during cooking.


  • Italian 00 flour 250 grams
  • strong flour 450 grams
  • sugar 200 grams
  • milk 250 millilitres Tepid
  • brewer's yeast 25 grams
  • honey 60 grams
  • butter 220 grams
  • eggs 2 units
  • egg yolks 4 egg yolks
  • vanillin 3 sachets
  • candied fruit 150 grams Orange
  • icing sugar 150 grams For the icing
  • egg white 3 units For the icing
  • almond flour 150 grams For the icing
  • almonds 100 grams
  • sugar Granulated, to taste
  • oranges The zest of a lemon and an orange
360 minutes Total time
50 minutes Active time
Serves 12 persons
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Sift the flours and make the raising agent by kneading together 150g g flour with the yeast dissolved in 125 g of warm milk. Let it rise for about an hour. Then add to this dough the other 150 g of flour, 120g of sugar, the remaining milk and 125g of butter. Knead thoroughly and let it rise for 3 hours. At this point combine the rest of the ingredients, the eggs, egg yolks, candied fruit, grated zest, butter and remaining flour, honey and vanilla. Knead and let it rise for 12 hours at constant temperature. After this time is up, transfer the dough into two moulds of about 750 g each and let it double in volume. When it is about 1 cm below the rim, sprinkle with icing that you have made by whisking the flour, almonds, icing sugar and egg whites together. Decorate the surface with whole almonds and sugar grains. Bake, finally, at 200°C for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 180°C for another 40 minutes. Remember to cover the surface with aluminium foil halfway through the cooking time to prevent the icing darkening too much.

One very important piece of advice when making your Easter cake involves the temperature of the milk in which the yeast is dissolved: it shouldn’t be cold but, rather, slightly warm.
The invention of this Easter cake is all Italian: it was created in the 1930s and has been the undisputed protagonist of Easter dining ever since. However, legend has it that in the era of the Lombards there was also a cake shaped into a dove.

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