How to Make a Beautiful Orange Flavoured Yeast Leavened Easter Cake

There are various versions of citrus flavoured bread-cakes that are made in Italy for different occasions. Panettone and pandoro for Christmas and colomba di pasqua for Easter being the main ones. This recipe is inspired by all of them. This is a simple yeast leavened cake made without kneading, baked on the same day and totally beginner friendly. It looks beautiful and tastes great full of orange, vanilla, and rich with butter and honey. And the crispy almond and cocoa topping is something very special.

You can even adjust the ingredients to your taste. Swap some of the candied citrus peel with chopped nuts. Change the orange to lemon or lime, use different alcohol for soaking or don’t use any alcohol at all. Bake it in a loaf tin instead of a round cake tin.

Watch the video down below for detailed instructions.


For the dough

300g (10.6oz) white bread flour

1 medium egg (50g; 1.75oz)

1 egg yolk

5g (0.17oz) instant dry yeast or 6g (0.21oz) active dry yeast or 15g (0.53oz) fresh yeast

40g (1.4oz) melted butter

5g (0.17oz) vanilla paste

5g (0.17oz) orange oil

5g (0.17oz) salt

20g (0.7oz) honey

120g (4.25oz) milk

1 orange worth of zest


For the soaker –

150g (5.3oz) candied citrus peel

20g (0.7oz) rum or orange juice


For the topping –

1 egg white

20g (0.7oz) sugar

20g (0.7oz) ground almonds

4g (0.14oz) flour

2g (0.07oz) cocoa powder


Blanched almonds and pearl sugar for decoration.


To learn more about no-knead bread dough temperature control click here.

The flour I use has a protein content of 13%. If your flour is weaker, then you may need to lower the hydration. 

If you are using active dry yeast, then you may need to let it sit in the water for 10 minutes before adding the other ingredients or else it could take a lot longer to raise the dough.

If you are curious about why the dough contains butter, egg, and sugar, click the links to learn more about the effects those ingredients have on bread dough.


  1. Make the soaker. Combine the citrus peel and rum. Mix well and leave to soak for a couple hours mixing at least once again to ensure that all the rum is absorbed.
  2. Make the topping. Whisk together all the ingredients and leave on the side for later.
  3. Make the dough. In a large bowl combine the milk, yeast, salt, honey, vanilla, orange oil, orange zest, butter, egg, and egg yolk. Mix well to dissolve and disperse all the ingredients.
  4. Add the flour and mix to a dough. *Desired dough temperature 24C (75F). If your dough is warmer, then it will ferment more rapidly. If it is cooler, then it will take longer. Adjust fermentation time accordingly.
  5. Cover and ferment for 30 minutes.
  6. Fold #1.
  7. Ferment for 30 minutes.
  8. Fold #2.
  9. Ferment for 30 minutes.
  10. Shape/fold and place in a non-stick paper lined 16cm (6.5in) cake tin.
  11. Final proof for 2 hours.
  12. Brush the topping paste on to the loaf and decorate with almonds and pearl sugar.
  13. Bake at 160C (320F) fan on for 50 minutes.

Leave to cool down and serve.


Keep in mind that the conditions in each kitchen are different, so fermentation times may vary for you. It is up to the baker to control the bread and react accordingly.

Your oven may be different too, so your baking time may vary.

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