The tradition of baking Easter cakes for the lovely holiday differs from one country to another. It may be even so that an Easter cake might not be prepared at all while people rely on real and chocolate Easter eggs. In Eastern Europe, however, the tradition of making special Easter cakes goes back centuries and is still alive today. The process of their preparation is rather complicated as it entails numerous stages. The recipe requires physical prowess, ability to wait, patience, and precision.
Initially, one has to mix yeast with water. Several spoons is enough. One should never overdo, because yeast is basically a bunch of small mushrooms that keep growing once expose to water. Too much of them would make the dough heavier and might influence the taste negatively. A cup of water is enough. Make sure to mix properly, because yeast does not dissolve. It has to be mixed properly so that there would not be any nubbins floating in the water. Once it is done, one kilo of flower is required. Prepared yeast is to be poured in the big bowl where the dough would be made. The bowl would have to be sizeable because the amount of dough needed for six cake only is rather big. One litre of milk (not taken from the fridge but at around room temperature so as not to make yeast passive) has to be added subsequently. While stirring, it is necessary to understand that nubbins containing dry flour is unacceptable as this nuisance would influence the structure of dough negatively. After the dough is formed, it is to be put away for an hour so that yeast could multiply and the dough, therefore, grow. From now on, warm temperature in the kitchen is a must. Drafts, and any cold breezes are completely unacceptable as they may hinder yeast growth.
The next vitally important stage is to prepare the component that would constitute the taste of the cake. The dough by itself has a very neutral insignificant taste of flour mixed with water. One is to take 12-15 eggs, separate yolk from whites. Whites are to be put in the fridge as they will be used for another Easter cake related purpose. Half a kilo of sugar is poured on top of pure yolk, and the mixture process start. If one is an experience cook, it is possible to place the pan on a small fire while mixing so that the sugar would melt a bit quicker. The spices are to be added as per one’s wishes depending on what the intention is. Cardamom, anisetree, saffron, turmeric are all viable options but some do not mix well with each other, so exercise caution. What has to be added under all circumstances is salt, ginger, two spoons of oil, two spoons of alcohol (cognac or rum are good candidates). All of this is to be mixed properly. While all this is being done, it is very likely that an hour will have passed by the time the taste mixture is done. If the dough has enlarged twice as much, then the yeast are in good temperature and grow well. If this is not the case, ensure that the temperature regime is appropriate and give the yeast more time to grow during the next waiting period. The entire yolk, sugar, spices mixture, which should be of yellow colour approximately, should be poured into the dough of white colour. Then, stirring, mixing, and more mixing.
The next part is the most complicated. One more kilo of flour is to be added into the bowl. Stirring would become a problem as the dough would harden and permanently lose its fluid quality. This is where physical prowess is a must. Integrating this second kilo of flour with the rest of mass is essential. After the integration is complete, 500 grams of butter are in order. Butter would grease up everything and make stirring much easier. The next step is adding raisins, candied fruits, coconut chips, or anything else you would like to make your cakes special with. The more one kneads, the better the dough turns out. Such is a simple axiom. After so much work – rest awhile, for yet another hour, and let the dough grow. It is high time to apply butter on the forms, where one would put the dough in order to bake. After one hour, stir the dough again for half an hour. If one has time, it would be advisable to put everything onto the table and to knead further with hands. Distribute the dough equally into six cylindrical forms. Do not put too much, as the dough will grow in the heat of the oven before the yeast dies. Dough spilling over during the baking is highly undesirable. Baking takes about an hour and a half. Before taking the cakes out, ensure that the insides are well baked and not wet. Use a thin stick to pierce the cakes from the top. No remnants of dough on it would signify that the cakes are ready.
If one still has strength left after all these procedures, it is a good idea to make glazing, a part that the kids would surely appreciate. For that one needs just a bit of egg-whites (saved and stored earlier into the fridge), and lots of sugar powder combined with lemon juice. Use the mixer to start whipping. Gradually add sugar powder and lemon juice until you have a full pan of creamy white stuff. By then, the cakes will be most likely taken out of the oven. Act fast when applying the glaze for it has a tendency to congeal before long. Some more colourful ornaments can be applied on top of the glaze. Preparing such cakes takes a lot of time and effort, but it is really worth it as it provides gratification after hard and honest work. It is a great occasion for a family to gather in one space and to partake in the same interesting exciting activity.