Classic Italian Dove Cake for Easter with Variations
Dove Symbols Come in Many Varieties
Italian Culinary Traditions for Easter: Colomba di Pasqua
The Easter Dove Cake is an Italian tradition that provides either a cake in the shape of a dove, or round layers that have images of doves on the cake tops. Traditionally, it is said that the cake originated in the Milan area and most often, shaped like a dove to represent the Holy Spirit.
The symbol above is interesting and fun, because it represents the dove's wings and the concept of an angel with a halo. Youngsters should like it very much and may want to help decorate your cakes.
The recipe for decorated layers instead of a dove shape is listed below, saving time and still providing the dove image in a good tasting cake. The flavor is a fruity blend that is light and much like a fruitcake. The dove cake is one of a series of Italian holiday cakes used at Christmas and Easter Holidays.
The layer cakes are easy - you bake two layers and decorate each with a dove image and you can use square pans if you prefer them to round pans. This is a recipe that you can use for your own creative expression. In fact, some cooks bake a square or rectangular single layer and place a decorative paper dove on the plate with it.
Milan, Northern Italy
Easter Dove Cake Recipe
- Baking parchment paper for drawing Dove Outlines of your choice.
- Nontoxic materials for drawing.
- 2 teaspoons dried yeast
- 6 oz hot milk or cream (not scalded)
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 4 oz unsalted butter
- 3 large eggs and 1 egg yolk (save the white for another recipe)
- 4 oz powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Grated zest of 1 medium orange
- Grated zest of 1 a large lemon
- 2 and 1/2 oz golden raisins
- 2 and 1/2 oz mixed candied fruit peels
- Icing sugar, for dusting
- 4 oz whole, blanched almonds
Dove Outline to Trace for a CakeClick thumbnail to view full-size
- To a medium mixing bowl, add the hot milk or cream and then the yeast, stir, and let sit 10-15 minutes, until frothy in consistency.
- Stir in ½ cup of the flour well, then cover and let sit for 30 minutes.
A Stylized Dove Outline
- In a larger mixing bowl, melt the butter and remove form the cook top to cool.
- Whisk the eggs, the one egg yolk and the sugar together well.
- Now, whisk in the butter that has cooled.
- Whisk in the salt, vanilla, orange zest, and lemon zest.
- Add the remaining flour and mix together.
- Uncover the yeast mixture and beat it into the flour dough until the mixture is smooth.
- Add the raisins, saving 2 for decoration, and add the candied peel. Mix
- Place the dough into a large greased bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let his sit on the counter until doubled in size (1 ½ to 2 hours).
- On 2 sheets of baking parchment, draw or trace the outlines of a dove.
- Take two baking pans and line with the parchment drawings.
- Turn the cake dough out onto a lightly floured board or counter and knead it for 2-3 minutes.
- Cut this dough into two equal pieces and make each into the shape of a dove by putting each cake onto a pan with a parchment drawing and shaping the cake to the outline.
- Place one raisin on the face of each dove to make an eye.
- Cover each dove with a clean towel and permit to rise for one hour on the counter, or until doubled in size.
- Place almonds long the surfaces of the cakes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Place the cakes into the hot oven for 15-18 minutes, or until just golden brown and a knife blade comes out clean when inserted into the middle of each cake.
- Remove the cakes and place the cake pans onto a cooling rack until cool to the touch.
- Turn out the cakes onto two plates.
- Draw dove images on cake tops with non-toxic materials, like a tube of cake icing. Alternatively, draw images on parchment paper before you begin mixing the cake - by the time it is baked, the images will be dried and easily slide-able onto the cake tops. You might also think of cutting a template of an image in the parchment paper, laying the template over the plate, and dusting powdered sugar into the image made by the hole that is shaped like your dove.
- Dust cakes overall with powdered sugar after cake-icing images are transferred to the cake tops, if desired, before serving (serves 12)
Please rate this cake.
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© 2008 Patty Inglish MS