Sometimes (just sometimes, mind!) I suffer from competitive mamma syndrome. Seeing everyone baking, both here and in England, got me thinking I must have a go at the classic Italian Easter cake ‘Colomba’ – or dove. Every bakery and supermarket here sells millions of this enriched yeasted bread – an Easter version of panettone. It’s been around for either hundreds of years or maybe just a hundred, depending on whose legends you believe!
It takes a while, with several stages of mixing ingredients, working the dough, proving and the like – so you need to plan in advance. First there’s the sponge, then first dough, then enriched with fruit and candied peel and left overnight. I didn’t think it counted as ‘essential travel’ to try source a dove form so I upcycled some wine box and milk carton cardboard and made my own dove. Into this I laid my worked and shaped dough, spooned on the sugary almond paste topping , left it to prove one last time and baked. As a first in my baking experience, the finished cake then had to be suspended upside down overnight as it cooled to stop it collapsing in on itself!
It worked though, and I’m just a little bit proud. Our version is without the added sultanas and peel and no almonds studding its top to help the pickier members of our household, but is nonetheless rich, soft and delicious topped with lashings of butter.
Happy ‘flying dove cake’ day everyone!
The recipe I used was Italian, and unfortunately I’ve not found a good version in English online – email me and I’ll translate the recipe for you.