I have always loved baking, especially with yeast, so when I was asked to bring a cake to a Christmas party, I chose a yeast cake, formed into a ring and decorated with festive colours: white icing, red glacé cherries and green pistachios. These days I use cranberries for the red colour.
I call it Weihnachtskranz, which means Christmas wreath. A year-round version of this is a long plait, decorated with icing and flaked almonds.
500 g flour
3 tsp dry yeast
1 tsp salt
100 g sugar
250 mL warm milk
80 g butter, softened
100 g almond meal
75 g raisins
150 g icing sugar
15 mL lime juice and grated lime rind
1 tbs chopped pistachios
1/4 cup cranberries
- Mix flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add milk, egg and soft butter, combine to form a dough, knead for 5 to 10 min. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover with cling wrap and let it rise for 45 min.
- Tip almond meal and raisons on the kitchen bench, lay the dough on top and knead until they are incorporated.
- Cut the dough into three equal parts, with your hands make 80 cm rolls, then plait the three lengths evenly. Form a ring and lay it on a pizza tray lined with baking paper. Let the dough rise for another 30 min. Brush the ring with water and bake for 45 min at 180 ºC. The cake should be lightly browned and sound hollow when tapped on the underside. Leave to cool.
- Mix icing sugar, lime juice and rind, and brush the ring all over with this mixture. Sprinkle with nuts and berries to decorate. This needs to be done quickly, before the icing dries.
- Yeast cakes taste best when fresh.