Home » Entertaining » Holidays » Colomba Cake: An Easy Italian Easter Cake Tradition

Colomba Cake: An Easy Italian Easter Cake Tradition


Colomba Cake is a great addition to your Easter table! This store-bought Italian cake is shaped like a dove and is a unique way to welcome spring. Pick up this light and fluffy artisanal cake, with candied fruit and crunchy nuts for your family brunch. It’s sure to be a new Easter tradition.

An Italian Easter Cake on a white serving platter on a table.
Pick up an Italian Colomba cake for Easter this year!

Why you should serve Colomba Cake

This Italian Easter cake, called Colomba Cake, is a holiday tradition that you can easily make your own. 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.

Related: Easter Cake Ideas to Make For Your Celebration

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

An Easter Dove Cake on a white platter with tangerines on a table.
Colomba Cake is a great Easter hostess gift idea.

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

A piece of sliced Colomba cake on a blue and white plate next to the rest of the cake.
With a light and fluffy texture, this Dove cake represents peace and renewal.

The candied fruits and nuts make it 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 (but isn’t dense!) 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

Close up of the pearl sugar and almonds on top of an Easter Colomba Cake.
Pick up a Colomba Cake for your Easter brunch.

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.

World Market has a Hazelnut Colomba Cake, a Lemon Colomba Cake, and a mini version that is available in-store only. These are also the most affordable options.

If you live near an Eataly, they will probably also have it. And don’t forget to check your area for mom and pop Italian markets as they may also have it there.

Here are a few varieties that they use to have online and may have in stores:

  • Classic
  • Limoncello
  • Peach Chocolate Amaretti
  • Chocolate
  • Pear and Chocolate
  • Cherry

Be sure to plan ahead so you can order it and allow for delivery time. 

How many people does a Colomba Cake serve?

It will depend on the brand of Colomba Cake you buy, but they serve between 8-9 people typically.

Can you bake Colomba Cake from scratch?

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.

How long has Colomba Cake been served in Italy?

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!

More great recipes and ideas for Easter

Click to share!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *