Russian Easter Cake (Kulich)
Easter cake recipe for the bright holiday of Easter - it’s very tasty!
I remember my grandmother baking the most delicious Easter cakes with raisins. She always dyed eggs with onion skins and baked Easter yeast cakes on Thursday, kneaded the dough for a long time. As the holiday that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ was approaching, she was in a good mood and she had only bright thoughts. I remember we went to church on Saturday - fifteen minutes walk with heavy packages and five minutes by underground; I remember the line; I remember that I had to arrive early and hold a place closer to the church on the hill; I remember the priest who was walking along the rows of people and he seemed to be reading spells in an unknown language. I remember hundreds of Easter cakes covered with multicolored frosting and decorated with chocolate figures; I remember cakes with powdered sugar and rainbow eggs with stickers and hand-painted. Now, when I think about these trips, it gets warmer inside and I smile.
Every year I cook sweet, tasty, fragrant Easter cakes - they are real grandmother's Easter yeast cakes with raisins. They, as in childhood, are waiting for Sunday morning, when the whole family will gather at the festive table.
Easter cakes: fashion or tradition?
For me, this is a wonderful family tradition that I try to keep alive. For all Christians baking a festive cake - tall, yeasty and aromatic sweet bread - is a special tradition, and Bright Sunday is a great holiday when people set the table with Easter eggs and cakes.
How to bake an Easter cake?
There are a lot of varieties of Easter cakes: now they are baked with the addition of dried fruits, poppy seeds, candied fruit, and chocolate. The modern Easter cake recipe dictates its tendencies to us: for example, you can decorate the tops of baked goods with coconut flakes or nonpareils (rainbow sprinkles), pieces of candy, M&M's, mastic, frosting, and meringue. But if you're looking for a proven Easter cake recipe, then you’ve come to the right place. So, here is the Easter cake recipe (you can use dry or fresh yeast - which one you prefer).
- 500 g flour
- 3/4 cup (190 ml) milk
- 3 large eggs
- room temperature butter
- 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
- 20 g fresh (7 g dry) yeast
- 2/3 tsp salt
- 75 g raisins
25 g candied fruits
note: you can also increase the amount of raisins by 25 g if you don’t have candied fruit;
25 g peeled almonds
you can also use unpeeled almonds or almond flour;
5 g vanilla sugar
note: you can also use 1 tsp vanilla extract;
- 3 ground cardamom seeds (1 g)
You will need 2 high cake pans or paper panettone molds. If you use non-paper ones, then you will also need butter and flour to grease and dust the cake pans. Think ahead about Easter cake decorations - powdered sugar, frosting, chocolates and candies, nonparelli, candied fruit or berries. There aren’t any instructions for decorating cakes, I believe in your imagination and sense of taste :)
The butter should be at room temperature, so take it out of the fridge and cut it.
- heat 3/4 cup milk to 36-38ºC,
Note: if you don’t have a thermometer, touch the milk, it should be at body temperature;
- if you use fresh yeast, finely chop 20 g of the yeast into a deep bowl, add ¼ cup of the warm milk until a paste is formed, then pour in the remaining ½ cup of milk and mix,
- if you use dry yeast, pour 3/4 cup (190 ml) of the warm milk into a deep bowl and add 7g of the yeast, wait 5-10 minutes before the yeast dissolves, no need to mix,
- add 250 grams of flour into the milk mixture and stir until smooth,
- cover it with a clean towel and put in a warm place for at least 30 minutes, wait until the sourdough doubles in volume.
- when the sourdough doubles, add the butter to the dough and stir until smooth,
- separate 3 whites from the yolks and put the whites and 1 yolk in the fridge, you’ll need the yolk later for smearing the Easter cakes,
note: did you know that the mixture which is used for smearing baked goods is called "liaison"?
- whip 2 yolks with 3/4 cup (150 g) of sugar and 5 g of vanilla sugar, if you use it, beat for about 5 minutes - the mass should become homogeneous and lighter,
note: if the mixture is still lumpy and it doesn’t turn white - add 1 more yolk and put the white in the fridge to the rest of them;
- add the whipped yolks and ⅔ tsp of salt to the sourdough and stir until smooth,
- remove the whites from the fridge and beat until stiff peaks, this will take around 5 minutes total,
- gently fold the whipped whites in the dough,
note: fold a third of the egg whites into the dough, stir to lighten the dough; add the next third of the egg whites and with a rubber spatula gently turn the egg whites into the dough, do not stir - use a flipping motion, repeat the same with a last third of the egg whites;
- if you use almond flour, add 50 g to the dough,
- add the remaining flour (250 g) to the dough and stir until smooth, there should be no lumps,
- cover it with a clean towel and put in a warm place for at least 30 minutes, wait until the dough doubles in volume.
- while the dough is rising, finely chop 25 g of almonds, if you use them,
note: if you use unpeeled almonds, pour boiling water over them for a few minutes, peel them off and dry out on a paper towel before chopping with a knife;
- if you use candied fruit - cut 25 g of candied fruit into cubes,
- wash and dry out 75 g of raisins on a paper towel,
note: don’t skip this step, especially if you add the butter to the raisins or you aren’t sure if the raisins are clean; you don’t need to steam the raisins.
Preparation of the cake pans (if you don’t use paper ones):
- while the dough is rising, cut circles out of the baking paper so that they completely cover the bottom of the cake pan,
- grease the cake pan with butter,
- place the cut-out baking paper circles on the bottom of the cake pan,
- dust the edges of the pan with flour.
Preparation for baking
- when the dough doubles in volume, add the washed and dried raisins, chopped candied fruit and chopped almonds if you use it,
- put the dough in the cake pans so that it half fills the cake pan (if you want a denser cake); fill 1/3 of the cake pan if you want more airy one,
- cover the cake pans with a towel and let the dough rise, it’ll take about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 160 °C.
Baking and decorating Easter cake
- as soon as the dough for the cakes has risen to 3/4 of the height of the cake pan, remove the remaining yolk from the fridge and beat it - prepare the liaison for smearing the cakes,
- smear the Easter cakes with the whipped yolk and place in the oven,
- How long does cake take to bake in the oven? I recommend baking the cakes for about 40-50 minutes, a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean and dry, if the Easter cake starts to burn, cover the cake pans with foil or baking paper,
- once the Easter cake is ready, remove it from the oven and let it cool off slightly before removing it from the cake pan,
- the cooled Easter cake can be decorated with powdered sugar, frosting, chocolate figures, candied fruit, berries and even flowers.
I hope you enjoy my sweet Easter cake recipe! Happy Easter to you!
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