Christmas wreath cake recipe

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Ther pretty cake has a light and fluffy crumb, but rich and chewy. I know some of you might find the glazed cherries a bit too much, and you probably aren’t wrong – other than a handful of recipes, this one included, I’m inclined to agree. They are, after all, a superficial ingredient that is more about appearance than taste.

Schedule

Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus lifting time

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Makes

1 large crown (for 8-10 people)

Ingredients

  • 450g strong white bread flour, plus a little more for dusting
  • 30g caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 20g fresh yeast or 10g dried
  • 180 ml lukewarm whole milk
  • 200g white cheese
  • 50 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 50g of raisins
  • 60g frozen cherries, chopped
  • 30g flaked almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1 beaten egg

For the icing

  • 100 g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons of water

Decorate

  • 30g frozen cherries, halved
  • 30 g toasted flaked almonds

Method

  1. Put the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon. Crumble the yeast (or sprinkle if it’s dried) into the lukewarm milk and stir to dissolve it. Pour the leavened milk into the flour mixture, add the Quark, butter, vanilla extract and lemon zest and bring everything together into a coarse paste.
  2. Pour onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until elastic. Shape it into a ball and slide it into the bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for an hour or until it has increased in volume considerably. (Otherwise, put the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, pour in the yeast milk, add the Quark, butter, vanilla extract and lemon zest and knead for five to eight minutes until elastic. Cover and set aside, as above.)
  3. Push back the dough with your fist and add the raisins, glazed cherries and almonds. Knead gently until evenly incorporated.
  4. Roll out the dough on a floured surface into a 30 cm long sausage. Place the dough on a large baking sheet lined with non-stick parchment paper and shape into a crown, gluing the ends together to join them. Cover the crown with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes, or until the dough has visibly increased to at least half of its size. Heat the oven to 200C / 180C hot air / gas reference 6.
  5. Brush the top of the crown with beaten egg and bake for 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  6. When cool, combine the icing sugar, lemon juice and water. Pour the icing on top and garnish with the cherries and almonds. It’s best done the day it’s cooked.

Advent: Festive German Bakes to Celebrate the Coming of Christmas by Anja Dunk (Quadrille, £ 25) Order your copy from Telegraph bookstore.


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