Forget Easter eggs this year and treat everyone to a Fresh Pasquale di Colombo.  This is a simple 3 hour recipe for a Colomba Pasquale that really is rich and light. Made with butter and eggs and a good high protein Manitoba flour, it has all the texture you would expect from a traditional Italian festival cake and has a wonderful fragrance of orange, mandarin, orange lemon and vanilla from the Fiori di Sicilia.  Do use the osmotolerant yeast – it is specifically used to cope with bread enriched with eggs and butter.

Makes 1 Colomba Pasquale in a 750g case

For the topping

  • 1 egg white mixed well with 25g caster sugar to glaze
  • 20g Almonds
  • 20g Flaked almonds
  • 75 g Pearl sugar


  • Large bowl
  • Standing electric mixer fitted with paddle
  • Spatula
  • Clean tea towel
  • Foil
  • 750g Colomba Pasquale case

Mixer rangeGenerously coat a mixing bowl with melted butter.

Set to one side. Combine the flour, sugar and yeast with the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for a couple of minutes, or just until the mixture has hydrated then autolyse for 10 minutes.

Add the salt and continue mixing on a low speed for 10 – 12 minutes. To check on the gluten development, pull a small section of the dough and look for stretchy gluten fibres. The dough should be elastic, and should not break when pulled.

The water should be added gradually during the last 5 mins of the 20 minutes mixing, once the gluten has been developed.

Without turning off your mixer add the butter gradually. When all the butter has been incorporated, raise the speed to high and beat continuously on high until the dough is satin-smooth. You might need to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure all your dough in incorporated, before continuing.

After about 6 minutes the dough should have a smooth texture and well-developed elasticity and it should completely pull away from the bowl. Add the candied peel with the Fiori di Sicilia and continue to mix for another minute. Transfer your dough to the buttered bowl. Cover with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm spot to rise for about an hour. (It is important that the spot is not too warm or else the butter will melt and the dough will be ruined).

After an hour lift the dough from the bowl, then turn and fold it into roughly into shape keeping any seams underneath place it into the Pasquale case. Cover the dough with a shower cap and leave to double in size, which on a warm day can be within an hour (depending on the temperature of your kitchen).

Once double in size mix the egg whites and caster sugar together and spread very gently over the top of the Pasquale.  Make the shape of the wings and an eye with the almonds then sprinkle pearl sugar to finish.

About 30 minutes before the dough finishes proving preheat your oven to 175°C / gas mark 4. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes. It is recommended that you cover with tin foil for the last 20 minutes of cooking to avoid catching the top. Cook until golden brown.  Test by inserting a metal skewer. It should come out clean if not return to the oven until done.

Please note if you have a fan oven then pay extra care that the sugar does not catch on top. If it looks like it is going to burn then cover with foil for the last stage of baking.

Once cooled this cake will store for up to 5 days.

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Image of a Colomba Pasquale