Colomba Pasquale
Easter Dove
for the sponge
1 1/4 cups (300 cc) milk, warm
3 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups (210 gr) all purpose flour
for the dough
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups (300 gr) sugar
12 tablespoons (165 gr) butter, melted
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoon vanilla
2 oranges grated rind
2 lemons grated rind
4 1/4 cups (600 gr) all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups (250 gr) raisin
3/4 cups (150 gr) candied fruit
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
for the glaze
1/2 cup (100 gr) blanched almonds
1/2 cup (100 gr) sugar
2 teaspoons corn starch
2 egg whites
1/2 cup (100 gr) sliced or whole almond
powdered sugar for finishing
Preparing the sponge
* Whisk the yeast into the warm milk. Sift in the flour, combine with a spatula and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm corner for about 30 minutes.
Preparing the dough
* In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the eggs, the yolks, and the sugar. Whisk in the butter, salt, vanilla, orange rind, lemon rind, orange extract.
* Add the flour and transfer the bowl on the electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Run the mixer briefly on low speed to combine.
* Bring back the sponge. Add the sponge to the bowl. Run the paddle on low speed for 2 - 3 minutes until the dough is smooth.
* Add the raisin and candied fruit.Run the mixer again briefly to combine.
* Butter a bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Set aside to rise for at least 1 hour or until double in volume.
* When the dough is ready, remove from the bowl and transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Push and work lightly the dough to deflate. Add the minimum flour necessary, and keep the dough sticky.
* Butter a dove-shaped pan. Add a strip of parchment paper across to facilitate removal of cake. Transfer the dough to the pan and spread uniformly. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise again, for about 1 hour or until double. Preheat oven 375 F (190C).
Preparing the glaze
* Place the almonds and sugar in a food processor fitted with metal blade. Run the blade until finely ground. Place in a bowl and combine the cornstarch and egg whites.
* When the colomba is ready, spread the glaze on top carefully with a spatula.
* Spread on top the sliced almonds  and the powdered sugar.
* Bake to 375 F (190C) for about 20 minutes or until golden. Taste for readiness inserting a toothpick. The cake is ready when the toothpick comes out dry and the surface is golden brown.