With candied fruit and crunchy nuts, this light and fluffy Colomba Cake is a great addition to your Easter table. Shaped like a dove, this artisanal Italian cake is unique and a great way to welcome spring.
Why you should serve this cake
I love to learn about holiday traditions from around the world. And this Italian Easter cake, called Colomba Cake, is one that I love. Similar to my favorite Italian Christmas cake called panettone, Colomba Cake is the Easter version.
Although it’s called a cake, this is more of a sweet bread made with yeast. It is dotted with candied citrus and a variety of nuts. And although it looks and feels dense, it’s actually very light and fluffy when you take a bite.
Colomba is the Italian word for “dove”. Shaped (vaguely) like a dove, this cake is a symbol of peace and renewal. It’s an easy dish to serve at your own holiday brunch since it is ready-made for you.
Traditionally this Easter dove cake is served at the end of brunch. But in my family, it’s put out first, like a coffee cake. (You could even serve it right alongside my Wine Cake).
Often they come packaged in a gorgeous way. It looks like a gift and would be perfect to take with you if celebrating Easter at someone else’s home. It’s a fun and unique idea for a hostess gift.
How to serve it
Store-bought Colomba Cake is wrapped in plastic to keep it fresh. Simply unwrap it and place on a platter, and you’re ready to dig in.
If you want to jazz it up a little and make it feel a little more special, you can cut it into slices and toast it in the broiler. Topped with some salty butter, you’ve got a yummy, bready bite that is full of flavor.
Or serve it like pound cake with fresh berries and whipped cream. Colomba is also a great vehicle for chocolate sauce and fruity jams and spreads.
It is mostly served with sweet toppings, but might also be good with creamy cheeses.
What does it taste like
With the candied fruits and nuts, it is reminiscent of a fruit cake. But that is where the similarities end. It is light and fluffy and has a really light texture that will surprise you. It’s buttery, with citrus notes and has more of a bread-like consistency than cake.
You can make Colomba Cake, but I’m just not that adventurous. They even sell “dove” shaped baking pans on Amazon so they have the right shape.
Italian Colomba Cake is rather impressive to look at with its white pearl sugar sprinkles and whole nuts. It’s sure to get the crowd talking when you debut it at Easter brunch.
Where can I buy Colomba Cake
Easter Colomba Cake is not as popular as panettone so you won’t see it sold in too many stores. But they are easy to find online.
Amazon has several options for Colomba Cake. Buying it online can be expensive, so keep your eyes out at specialty stores, like Gelson’s or Whole Foods.
William’s Sonoma has an option for mail order. They sell it individually or with 2 cakes.
The best place to buy Colomba Cake, though, seems to be Eataly. Here are a few varieties that they have:
- Peach Chocolate Amaretti
- Pear and Chocolate
Be sure to plan ahead so you can order it and allow for delivery time.
It will depend on the brand of Colomba Cake you buy, but they serve between 8-9 people typically.
Yes, you can bake your own Colomba Cake. There are several recipes online but I would try this recipe from King Arthur Flour. It’s a very time-consuming process to bake one from scratch.
Stories tell of the cake being made in the sixth century. It is said to have appeased a ruthless King so much that he released someone he held captive and spared her hometown from damage.
A Colomba Cake is a great way to let friends and family know you are thinking of them at Easter whether you can celebrate with them or not. Have you ever tried this Italian Easter Cake? Leave me a comment and let me know!