Thursday, December 18, 2008

Festive Julekage

Julekage (yoo-leh-key-yeh) is a Scandinavian Christmas Bread particularly popular in Denmark and Norway and 'julekage' means 'Yule(Christmas) Bread'.It is a rich and sweet bread filled with spices-mostly cardamom,raisins,candied fruits and nuts.It can also be frosted like a cake due to its richness and to enliven the festive season.I found a simple recipe for Julekage from here and with little adjustments made a very sweet bread and enjoyed it.

All Purpose Flour: 3-3 3/4 cups
Slivered/Chopped Almonds: 1/3 cup
Candied Fruits: 2/3 cup +/-
Raisins: 1/4 cup+
Cardamom Powder: 1 tsp+
Lemon zest:1/2 tsp
Sugar: 1/4 cup
Salt: 1/2 tsp

Active Dry Yeast: 1 pkt or 1/4 ounce
Warm water: 1/4
Little warm Milk: 3/4cup
Unsalted Butter: 4 tbsp or 1/4 cup softened
Tofu : blend to a paste with water: 4 tbsp or 1/4 cup OR 1 single egg

Dissolve yeast in warm water and mix well.Add other wet ingredients-milk,butter,egg/tofu and mix.Add the dry ingredients of 2 cups of flour,sugar,salt,raisins,almonds,candied fruits,cardamom powder,lemon zest and mix well.Add the rest of the flour little by little and work with hands to form a smooth dough.Do not add more flour to it once you feel it is easy to handle.The recipe mentioned 3.25 cups but I added a little less than that.It can also go upto to 3.45 cups as per the recipe.

I used candied cranberries -made from here and store brought candied cherries.The recipe called for milk only whereas I added a bit warm milk.Also I added tofu pasted with water to replace the single egg.Now while blending with other wet ingredients and especially softened butter,it gave a curdled texture/look ,but I continued with it to obtain a very good dough.Some recipe for julekage use melted butter,though this recipe which I used goes for softened butter.Softened/creamed butter when mixed with tofu paste makes it look curdled,but does not affect the end result at all.Also you can vary the quantities of nuts,raisins and candied fruits as per taste and also add other spices of cinnamon,nutmeg etc.I only added 1 tsp of cardamom. The dough looks like....

Once the dough is formed and is manageable,turn it into a floured surface and knead for 5-8 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.Place it in a greased/oiled bowl,and turn it once so that it gets coated as well and let it rest covered with a plastic wrap in a warm place for 1-2 hours or until it is doubled in volume.Then dough is ready when you touch it and the indentation remains -it does not spring back. The dough after doubling is...

(To be honest I took the pic after giving it a small punch-then only I remembered :D)

Punch down the dough and then shape it.You can go for a round shape as specified by the recipe.For easyness,I divided the dough into 3 parts and shaped each into a ball and then placed it in a greased/lined baking sheet and also brush the top with melted butter(I did not).

Let the dough rise again on the baking sheet,loosely covered with a plastic wrap and in a warm area for 45 minutes-1 hr and then bake it in a pre-heated oven at 350F for 35-45 minutes(Mine took 32-35 minutes only) and let it cool completely for 1 hour before frosting(optional),slicing and serving.I first baked two of three dough balls -they came out tasty but not perfect round.So I gave a 1/4 inch cut/cross on top the third and it came out almost perfectly.


Powdered Sugar: 1/2 cup
Milk: 3/4 tbsp

Mix these and drizzle over the loaf.

I glazed only 1 bread loaf/ball.

The bread was a little denser with a normal-bread-like crust as expected and chewy interiors.I believe the bread can be shaped into a braid as well.

It is a simple bread recipe or a normal bread recipe that has been spiced up with cardamom and enriched with butter and tofu/eggs and the cardamom aroma while baking makes it perfect for Christmas or anyother festival.

This simple yet festive Julekage is also going to spice up Annarasa's Kitchen where she is celebrating the festive season with BBD#15: Festive Breads,an event started by Zorra and also to Susan for Yeastspotting

Update on Dec 20,2008: The cake like Julekage is also on its way to Purva's Christmas Feast Event as a lovely dessert.Thanks Purva for accepting.

A simple sweet and spicy bread for any occasion is Julekage and I very much enjoyed this bread with or without icing.


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