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Colomba Pasquale – Easter Cake

The Colomba Pasquale , or simply called Colomba, has always been part of the Italian Easter picnic. Easter is one of the most important festivals in our homeland and is celebrated on a large scale every year. The inhabitants of Italian villages show enactments of the Passion of Christ, which are often accompanied by atmospheric processions. In this article we will briefly go into the Italian Easter tradition, you will find out exactly what a colomba is and how to prepare this Italian pastry classic step by step.

The Italian Easter tradition

Contrary to the Swiss tradition of looking for Easter eggs, parents in Italy usually give their children oversized Easter eggs. One of the most important traditions among adults is the home-baked or pasticceri (confectioner’s) baked colomba pasquale .

On Easter Monday we are often outdoors in Italy when the weather is good and like to meet up with friends for a traditional picnic. The food will then be heartier. Typical is the “Torta pasqualina” (Easter cake), also called “Torta di Pasquetta”. Pasquetta means “little Easter”, as this Monday is also called. The puff pastry pie is lavishly filled with a mixture of spinach, ricotta, parmesan and boiled eggs. It should correctly have 33 layers of dough, which should correspond to the age of Jesus Christ.

But even believers eventually lose their strength. Food and drink have always played an important role in Italy, especially on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. Lamb is often served with loved ones at Easter and the traditional Easter cake is served as dessert.

What is a Colomba Pasquale?

How is the Colomba consumed?

Make Colomba Pasquale yourself – our recipe

Preparation step by step

This is how your Colomba is baked

Espresso and traditional Easter cake – Easter in Italian

What is a Colomba Pasquale?

The sweet conclusion is the Colomba Pasquale, a cake similar to the Christmas panettone. The name means something like “Easter dove” because the cake is usually baked in a dove-shaped form. This refers to the internationally known symbol for peace.

The traditional Italian Easter cake is made from a light yeast dough based on plenty of egg yolk, milk, butter, sugar, flour and a pinch of salt. The production is very time consuming. All in all, the traditional preparation takes two days. The well-kneaded dough has to rest in the fridge overnight so that it can develop its fine yeast aroma. The next morning the whole thing has doubled in size and is starting to bubble. Now the dough is kneaded with ingredients such as raisins. Lemon peel or orange peel is often added at this point. After baking, the Colomba Pasquale is glazed with sugar and egg white. Finally, the end product is decorated with almonds.

Colomba di pasqua: this is how it is eaten

You can enjoy the Colomba Pasquale as a dessert with afternoon coffee, as well as in the morning for breakfast and the traditional Easter picnic. Lightly toasted and spread with a little jam , the Italian Easter dish is an unforgettable treat.

Colomba di Pasqua interpreted in a modern way

In addition to the classic Virginia Colomba Pasquale , there are now also some modern interpretations of the Colomba di Pasqua. For example Virginia Colomba Pasquale al Pistacchio , this one The fluffy, buttery Easter cake is filled with a fine pistachio cream, topped with a white chocolate coating and chopped pistachio pieces. It also makes an ideal gift in its brightly colored packaging.

Or how about Virginia Colomba Pasquale All’ Albicocca ? Refined with candied apricot pieces. Also sprinkled with almonds and granulated sugar.

Make Colomba Pasquale yourself – our recipe

Ingredients for the starter

60 grams of flour
40 ml water (lukewarm)
8 grams of yeast

ingredients for the dough

560 grams of flour100 g lemon peel
100ml milk100 g orange peel
2 eggs size M110 grams of sugar
1 egg yolk size M 1/2 tsp salt
2 x 100g softened butterground lemon peel
2 teaspoons orange blossom water

Ingredients for the glaze

85 grams of sugar
30 g ground almonds
1 egg white

Ingredients for the finish

crystal sugar
whole almonds

Preparation of the Easter cake: step by step

  • Dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water and knead together with the flour. Let the so-called pre-dough rise in a covered bowl at room temperature for about 3 hours.
  • Knead the remaining flour together with the salt, eggs, egg yolk, 100 g butter, candied lemon and orange peel, the grated lemon zest and the lukewarm milk using the dough hook of your food processor. Divide the pre-dough into pieces, add them as well and knead everything thoroughly. You should have a smooth batter that doesn’t stick to the edges of the bowl.
  • Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a damp kitchen towel and leave to rise in the fridge, preferably overnight. The next morning, the dough should stand covered for about 2 hours at room temperature.
  • Then the dough is kneaded together with the remaining 100 g butter.
  • Now separate the dough into two parts on a floured work surface. One piece of dough should be about twice the size of the other. Form the body of the pigeon from the large piece of dough and place it in the mold. Divide the other piece of dough and put it in the mold as a wing. It is important that the dough is distributed evenly over the entire tin and into the corners, otherwise it will rise unevenly and become misshapen during baking
  • Preheat the oven to approx. 190°C (circulating air).

Bake the Colomba

  • For the glaze, mix the sugar with the ground almonds and the egg white thoroughly. The glaze is now spread evenly over the surface of the dove with a brush.
  • Finally, the pigeon is sprinkled with coarse sugar and topped with whole almonds.
  • Place the tin in the lower third of the oven and bake for approx. 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature of the oven to approx. 160°C and bake for a further 35 – 40 minutes. You can use a chopstick to determine if the pigeon is cooked through. After the end of the baking time, leave the Colomba in the switched-off oven for approx. 10 minutes, then take it out of the oven and let it cool down in the tin.


In Switzerland it is quite difficult to get a pigeon form for the Colomba Pasquale. You can of course use any other baking pan. Alternatively, you can try making a dove shape out of aluminum foil.

Espresso and Colomba – enjoy Easter the Italian way

Admittedly, the production of a Colomba takes some time, so that you don’t have to do without the traditional Easter cake, we have put together a loving selection of this colorfully packaged pastry classic from the world-famous manufacturer Virginia for you in the Cellini Caffè online shop.

What is the Italian Easter pastry without an espresso? In any case, for us, the traditional Italian cakes and the traditional Italian espresso clearly belong together! So that you can really enjoy “La dolce vita”, we have put together two Easter promotional sets for you. Enjoy your Colomba Pasquale from Virginia with our original Italian Cellini espresso at a special price.

Prestigio + Colomba Pasquale

A masterful composition of the finest Arabica coffee beans from Central and South America for a balanced taste with fine acidity combined with an aromatic Easter cake with a delicate glaze and covered with whole almonds

Crema e Aroma + Colomba Pasquale

A harmonious combination of highland coffees and a touch of selected Robusta varieties results in an exceptional and intense coffee. Exquisite notes of bitter cocoa and an incomparably rich, hazelnut-brown crema make this blend a special treat. In addition you enjoy delicious and fragrant Easter cake from Virginia. Incomparably juicy and airy, decorated with a delicate glaze and whole almonds.

Your Cellini Caffè team wishes you a happy Easter.

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