Norwegian Julekake

Norwegian Julekake sliced on blue surface

In our babka-inspired take on Norwegian Julekake, we replaced the raisins with rehydrated cranberries. Instead of mixing the cranberries in with the dough, we created a sweet jam-like filling flavored with cardamom and cinnamon. The Vanilla Glaze falls over every ridge and seeps into each crevice of this updated shape. Look to our November/December issue for a guide to shaping your wreath bread! 

Norwegian Julekake
Makes 1 (12-inch) wreath
  • ¾ cup (180 grams) whole milk
  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, cubed and softened
  • 1½ teaspoons (4.5 grams) kosher salt
  • ½ cup (120 grams) warm water (105°F/40°C to 110°F/43°C)
  • 1 tablespoon (6 grams) instant yeast
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams)
  • 5½ cups (688 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cardamom
  • Cranberry Filling (recipe below)
  • Candied Lemon Peel (recipe below), diced
  • Vanilla Glaze (recipe below)
  1. In a small saucepan, bring milk to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat; add sugar, butter, and salt, stirring until completely incorporated. Set aside until cooled to 120°F (49°C) to 130°F (54°C).
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine ½ cup (120 grams) warm water and yeast. Add warm milk mixture. Stir in eggs. With mixer on low speed, add flour and cardamom, beating until combined. Increase mixer speed to medium-low, and beat until smooth and elastic, 5 to 7 minutes. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover directly with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  3. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 24x12-inch rectangle. Spread Cranberry Filling onto dough, leaving a ½-inch border on all sides. Sprinkle with diced Candied Lemon Peel. Starting at one long side, roll up dough, jelly roll style; press edge to seal. Place on prepared pan.
  5. Using a serrated knife, cut roll in half lengthwise. With cut sides facing up, carefully twist dough pieces around each other. Form into a circle, pinching ends to seal. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  7. Bake until golden brown and internal temperature registers 190°F (88°C), about 40 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Drizzle with Vanilla Glaze. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Cranberry Filling
Makes about 1½ cups
  • 1⅓ cups (171 grams) dried cranberries
  • ⅓ cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter, cubed
  • ½ teaspoon (1 gram) ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. In a small saucepan, bring cranberries and water to cover by 1 inch to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, and cook until cranberries are softened, about 20 minutes. Drain cranberries, reserving 2 tablespoons (30 grams) cooking liquid.
  2. In the work bowl of a food processor, place warm cranberries, reserved 2 tablespoons (30 grams) cooking liquid, sugar, butter, cardamom, and cinnamon; pulse until mixture has the texture of jam. Let cool completely. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Candied Lemon Peel
Makes about ½ cup
  • 1 lemon (99 grams)
  • ¾ cup (180 grams) water
  • 1¼ cups (250 grams) granulated sugar, divided
  1. Peel lemon, and slice peel into ¼-inch-thick strips.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring peel and water to cover by 1 inch to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 15 minutes. Drain, and rinse with cold water.
  3. In same pan, bring ¾ cup (180 grams) water and ¾ cup (150 grams) sugar to a boil over medium heat. Add peel. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until peel is softened, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain.
  4. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Toss peel with remaining ½ cup (100 grams) sugar, and place on prepared pan. Let stand until dry, 1 to 2 days. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

Vanilla Glaze
Makes about ½ cup
  • 1 cup (120 grams) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients until smooth. Use immediately.


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