Colomba di pasqua – Easter cake

Easter may seem a distant memory for now, but I still wanted to share with you how to create this simply beautiful and very speedy ‘Colomba di Pasqua, the italian Easter cake that is shaped as a dove. This cake symbolizes hope, prosperity, health, and peace. So, with that in mind why do we only enjoy this fruit cake through only one holiday celebration of the year?  Normally to make and prepare this cake it would take between 2-3 days as you would use yeast in a similar method to if you made your own festive panettone cake. A long and very laborious task.

Colomba is available in many guises from plain with a coating of sugar and almonds to limoncello crema, mixed fruit peel, dried fruits, chocolate and soaked with alcohol. There are endless possibilities and so as per many of my recipes once the base has been complied, simply add a little of what you fancy. I love to add raisins that have been soaked in a little amaretto liquor or grappa, alternatively dark chocolate chips with cherries make for a winning combination too.

Below with my recipe, I have taken a simply classic route. Enjoy.

Oven temperature: 170C (fan-assisted)

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Colomba paper case as per photo: 750g capacity (purchase online)


3 large eggs

150g caster sugar

90g olive oil

170g milk

1 orange, zest

1 lemon, zest

1 tsp almond essence

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

350g 00 flour or plain flour

80g mixed peel (Italian is preferable)

30g whole almonds with skins on

Firm sugar to glaze, as required


  1. Pre-heat the oven at above to 170C (fan-assisted).
  2. Separate the eggs.
  3. Whisk the whites until they have volumized, and fluffy. Set them aside.
  4. Add the sugar to the yolks and whisk until pale in colour. Approximately 2 minutes.
  5. Pour in the olive oil and milk. Continue to whisk until fully incorporated.
  6. Add the zest (only) of both the orange and lemon. Retain the fruit and use them for future recipes.
  7. Spoon in the almond essence and vanilla extract. Continue to whisk until smooth.
  8. Sprinkle in the baking powder and flour. Continue to steadily whisk the mixture until smooth.
  9. Fold in the fluffy egg whites.
  10. Spoon in the mixed peel.
  11. Scrape the mixture into the colomba case and stud the almonds into the top with a sprinkle of the sugar all over for good measure.
  12. Bake until golden and cooked through, approximately 45 minutes.
  13. Buona pasqua.