Colomba di Pasqua Durazzanese - Traditional Easter Cake from my Mom’s town in Southern Italy!

A traditional recipe turned gluten-free.

This recipe was given to me by my auntie, Giovanna, which by the way is also my mom’s name. Italian names are a serious business and in southern Italy, the tradition is naming children after their grandparents and other family members … in our family there are duplicates or more of Giovanna, Rocco, Nicola, and others … but there are only two Pasqualina’s!

This traditional Colomba is delicious all on its own, especially with coffee or tea in the morning, but it can be served with toppings such as the traditional glaze with sprinkles, dark chocolate and fresh berries (in season) or whipped cream.

I decided to transform this delectable treat into a gluten free alternative. After many attempts, it think I finally got it!

Here is the how to and recipe below. Proofing for this cake takes some time, between 8 and up to 24 hours so plan accordingly:


10 eggs

1 kg flour (use your favorite Gluten Free Mix - below is what I used)

75 g organic vegetable shortening

75 g butter, melted and cooled

300 g sugar

1/2 c milk (I used almond milk)

1 shot anice liquor (you can use Strega, limoncello or orange flavored liquor)

2 vanillina (Italian Vanilla Powder - you can sub with 2 teaspoons of vanilla)

1 lemon zest

2 orange zest + juice of 1 orange

1 packet of instant yeast

1 tablespoon baking powder

pinch of salt

Ingredients for the Glaze: (Traditional but optional)

1 egg white

125 gr powdered sugar

3 drops of lemon juice

Colored sprinkles

Directions for cake:

  1. Zest lemon and orange and juice orange. Set aside.

  2. Mix tepid milk and yeast + pinch of salt - set aside.

  3. In stand up mixer with paddle, mix sugar and shortening for about 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add eggs and mix well. Add butter and mix about 10-15 min. Add orange zest, lemon zest, orange juice, and vanilla and mix well. Add milk with yeast and mix well.

  4. While dough is mixing, butter and flour a 12 inch cake pan.

  5. Slowly add flour to the mix, brushing down the sides of the bowl - dough should be elastic and sticky. Mix for another 5 to 10 minutes.

  6. Place dough in the prepared cake pan and cover with plastic. Proof until double in size. This process takes some time - minimum of 4 hours. Sometimes, it could take an entire day to rise.

  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-50 minutes. Let it cool for 15 minutes before removing it from the cake pan. Completely cool between 2 to 3 hours before adding toppings.

Directions for Glaze:

  1. In a large bowl, add egg white, powdered sugar and lemon juice and whisk well.

  2. Spread the glaze over the Colomba and add your favorite sprinkles. Let it dry for about an hour.

Gluten Free Flour Mixture

24 ounces (4 1/2 cups + 1/3 cup) white rice flour

7 1/2 ounces (1 2/3 cups) brown rice flour

7 ounces (1 1/3 cup) potato starch

3 ounces (3/4 cup) tapioca starch

3/4 ounce (3 tablespoons) psyllium husk


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