Julekage: Scandinavian Holiday Bread

A festive Scandinavian holiday yeast bread with cardamom and dried fruit!

I love baking this christmas cake as it’s not too sweet. Great served with some butter and good cheese. Especially the brown goat cheese from Norway called Geitost.

Makes one small cake

You will need:
1 package active dry yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup lukewarm milk
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 1/2-2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dried fruit, I used raisins and cranberries
4 tablespoons butter, soft

  1. In a large baking bowl mix yeast, milk and 1 tablespoon of the sugar.
  2. Leave for 3 minutes or until the yeast starts to bubble, that means it’s working and ready.
  3. Add salt, egg, vanilla, cardamom and flour and mix well.
  4. Mix in the dried fruit and butter.
  5. Knead the dough for 10 minutes, that way the butter will be well incorporated into the dough.
  6. Wrap in plastic and let rise for 1 hour in a warm spot.
  7. Take the dough out and knead for 4 minutes.
  8. You can for it into a bread and bake free form, I like to roll it into a thick sausage and place in a greased 9 inch cast iron skillet.
  9. Cover with a towel and let rise another 15 minutes.
  10. Heat oven to 350F and bake until golden, about 40-45 minutes.
  11. Cool on a wire rack.

I sometime top this with a glaze of 1 cup of suge and 1-2 tablespoons of milk. I also sometimes add almond slivers to the cake!

Photography by Paul “Sweet Paul” Lowe