Julekake

Hanna Winsnes created this Norwegian recipe in 1888. I have made this many times, but am always surprised by how sloppy the dough is once all the flour has been added. Please do not be alarmed if you need to add at least another 4-6 ounces of flour to make a workable dough. But do keep it moist and as soon as possible rub your hands with butter to do further kneading so that you are not adding extra flour. You can easily carry out the first rise by leaving the dough in a cool place over night and then bring it into the warm when you are ready to continue. Cold makes yeast go to sleep, but like magic, warmth reactivates it. If you have not baked with yeast before, do not be daunted.  You will be so proud of yourself by the end!

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6 ounces caster sugar

8 oz butter

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

2 tsp ground cardamom

2 ounces fresh yeast (available from most bakers’ shops)

½ pint milk

1 lb 6 oz strong plain flour

6 ounces chopped lemon peel or mixed peel

6 ounces seedless raisins

METHOD

  1. Cream the butter and sugar until very pale; add the whisked eggs, egg yolks and cardamom.
  2. Dissolve the yeast into lukewarm milk, then whisk in the egg mixture little by little, adding a little flour as you go if it starts to curdle.
  3. Add all the remaining flour and start to pull the dough together with a wooden spoon or your hands. If it is very wet, add more flour and start to knead the moist dough.
  4. Knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth, soft and shiny.
  5. Leave in a warm place, covered with greased cling film for a couple of hours or until doubled in size.
  6. Add peel and raisins to the dough with gentle kneading and knead for about 5 minutes.
  7. Divide the dough into two and shape. Place in two greased loaf tins. Cover with greased cling film and leave to rise for about an hour.
  8. Bake in a warm oven – 165-170 C/325 F/ Gas Mark 3 for one hour and the cake is a deep golden brown.

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