This colomba cake is an Italian Easter cake from Masha Rener. Masha says: "Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi. Roughly translating to ‘Christmas with your family, Easter with whomever you want’, this famous Italian saying is something I live by as I choose to spend Easter with my loved ones – whether that’s with friends, family, or simply by myself. As long as you spend it in the most authentic way while nurturing genuine bonds, Easter can be celebrated in many ways but always symbolises rebirth, the start of spring and peace.

"Colomba, a traditional Italian Easter cake, is the perfect cake for the occasion as it’s shaped as a dove, the symbol of peace (in fact, colomba translates to ‘dove’ in Italian). The yeasty cake is similar to its Christmas counterpart panettone but instead of candied fruit and raisins, it’s topped with candied fruit, sugar and almonds. Colomba is delicious on its own but it can also be served with berries, spreads, cream or chocolate. Perfect as an Easter dessert, it can also be enjoyed for breakfast or as a snack with some tea."

Check out more Italian sweet treats with our Italian baking recipes.



  • 250g strong bread flour
  • 55g sugar
  • 65g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for the tin
  • 50g starter (mix 5g of dried yeast with 65g of water and 30g of plain flour)
  • 42g egg yolks (about 2)


  • 100g strong bread flour
  • 50g sugar
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
  • ½ lemon, zested
  • ½ orange, zested
  • 42g egg yolks (about 2)
  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g candied orange cubes


  • 1 egg white
  • ½ tsp cornflour
  • 25g sugar
  • 15g pearl sugar
  • 30g blanched almonds


  • STEP 1

    Start with the first dough the afternoon before you need it. Mix together the strong bread flour, sugar, butter, starter and 88ml of water in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix for 15 minutes until you have a velvety dough that comes away clean from the sides of the bowl, add the egg yolks and keep mixing until you have a smooth dough. Cover and leave to rise overnight for 10-11 hours or until it has tripled in volume. This step is incredibly important so don’t rush it.

  • STEP 2

    After the dough has risen, add the additional 100g of flour for the second dough to the first batch, tipping back into the stand mixer and kneading for 10 minutes to reactivate the gluten. Once an elastic dough is formed, add the sugar, honey, vanilla and citrus zests from the second dough. Mix thoroughly.

  • STEP 3

    Add one of the egg yolks and 1 tsp of salt, and mix well until fully combined. Add the butter in four additions, mixing well between each addition, then mix until the dough is coming away clean from the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining egg yolk and mix again. Add 20ml of water and mix until the dough is smooth, shiny and comes away clean from the sides of the bowl. Add the candied orange cubes to the dough and mix in thoroughly.

  • STEP 4

    Butter an Italian dove cake tin or paper mould (or use a buttered and lined 22cm springform cake tin). Carefully remove the dough from the bowl and put into the mould, teasing into the shape. Leave to rise for another 2-3 hours or until the dough increases in volume reaching the edge of the mould.

  • STEP 5

    Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. As you wait for the oven to heat up, make the icing for the cake. Whisk the egg white with the cornflour until frothy and brush over the top of the bread. Sprinkle over the caster sugar, pearl sugar and almonds. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.


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