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Lemon Dove Cake with Limoncello Cream ‘Columba di Pasqua’

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 16 reviews
  • Author: Roz
  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Additional Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours
  • Total Time: 0 hours


A classic Italian cake for Easter filled with luscious, yet light lemon flavor!


Units Scale


  • 1/2 cup warm milk, 105 -115 degrees F
  • 1 envelope (2-1/4 teaspoons) dry yeast, divided
  • 3/4 cup flour


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fiori di sicilia or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Grated zest of 1 orange or lemon
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup dried fruit (combination of dark and golden raisins and candied orange
  • peel)

Limoncello Icing

  • 2 cups powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 12 teaspoons Limoncello
  • 12 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Heavy whipping cream added until desired consistency takes place


  • Sprinkled powdered sugar
  • Sliced lemons


To make the sponge

  1. In a small bowl, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of yeast into the warm milk.
  2. Stir the yeast into the milk and allow to sit for 5 minutes to dissolve.
  3. Stir in the 3/4 cup flour to form a smooth paste.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let set for 12 hours or overnight, unrefrigerated.

To make the dough

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and yolk together.
  2. Beat in the sugar, remaining yeast, salt, and extract.
  3. Add the sponge and softened butter; beat to combine.
  4. Add 2 cups of flour and beat just enough to blend in the flour.
  5. If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook.
  6. Otherwise, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface.
  7. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic.
  8. By hand you will knead for about 10 minutes.
  9. If you are using a dough hook, knead about 5 minutes.
  10. Add the dried fruit and knead just enough to incorporate.
  11. Place the dough in a large buttered bowl.
  12. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel.
  13. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 2 hours.
  14. Punch down the dough and transfer to a lightly floured surface.
  15. Divide the dough into 2 equal size pieces.
  16. Form each piece into a log about 12-inches long.
  17. Place the first piece into the dove mold in what would be the wings of the dove.
  18. The log goes across the body and around the edges of the wings.
  19. The second piece is placed from head to tail on top of the first piece.
  20. Pat the dough down around the edges of the mold to fill in any gaps.
  21. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled, 45 to 60 minutes.
  22. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees.
  23. Place the mold on a baking sheet.
  24. Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 350 F degree bake for another 20 – 30 minutes.
  25. If the top begins to get too brown, cover the bread with a piece of foil during the last 10 minutes of baking.
  26. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

For the Limoncello icing

  1. After the cake is baked, prepare the icing by blending all of the ingredients together, adding the whipped cream little by little until you achieve your desired consistency level.
  2. Pour the icing over the cake and generously sprinkle with powdered sugar.
  3. Garnish with sliced lemons.

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