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1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm milk, divided
5 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 large egg
3-1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chopped organic maraschino cherries, drained
1/3 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup dried currants
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon heavy cream


This delicious Scandinavian yeast bread is traditionally served at Christmas. Try it toasted!

  • Serves 16
  • Medium

About This Recipe

Julekage is a traditional Scandinavian bread recipe that is made with dried fruits. It makes an excellent snack and is wonderful toasted and spread with whipped honey. You can also use it to make a fabulous and unusual French Toast. It’s traditional for Christmas.

I don’t like most candied fruit, especially candied pineapple, so I use dried fruits, along with organic maraschino cherries in this excellent recipe. You can use mixed candied fruit or any combination of dried fruits you’d like in this wonderful bread recipe.

The Julekage recipe does take some time to make, but it’s not difficult. Just make sure that you don’t use really hot water to soften the yeast or you’ll kill it and the dough won’t rise. Make sure the yeast and water mixture has risen before you add it to the rest of the dough and you’ll be fine.

This is an ambitious recipe but well worth it. There’s just no comparison between the real thing and a version you buy in a store.

Tips for the best Julekage:

  • Measure the flour correctly! While flour measuring isn’t quite as crucial for kneaded yeast breads, you don’t want to add too much or the bread will be tough and dry.
  • If you aren’t an experienced bread baker, measure the temperature of the water for the yeast. If you kill the yeast by using water that is too hot the bread won’t rise and it will be ruined.
  • If you don’t know how to knead, look at some videos about the technique. It’s not difficult, it just takes some practice.
  • When bread rises, it literally does double in size. It’s risen enough when you can push two fingers into it and the indentations remain. Punch it down and fold it over and continue with the recipe.
  • For doneness, the Julekage should be baked until it is golden brown. If you want to take the temp, it should be about 210°F.

Why this recipe works:

  • Classic recipes are the best for a reason; they have stood the test of time. While it’s true that this Julekage recipe was developed when candied fruits and, frankly, any sugar at all was a real treat, the combination of fruits and nuts in tender bread, with the addition of a sweet frosting, is delicious.


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In a large bowl, combine the yeast with 1/4 cup of the warm milk. Let stand for 5 minutes until the mixture is puffy.


Add the sugar, 1/4 cup melted butter, and egg and mix well.


Stir in 2 cups of the flour, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt and beat until smooth.


Add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Then work in the fruits and almonds.


Knead the dough for 5 minutes on a floured surface. Then from it into a ball and place into a greased bowl; turn to coat all sides.


Cover and let rise in a warm place for about an hour or until the dough has doubled. Punch down the dough and shape into a loaf.


Put the dough into a greased 9" cake pan. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.


Bake the Julekage at 350°F for 35 to 40 minutes or until it is golden brown. Remove the bread from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.


In a small bowl combine the powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons melted butter, and heavy cream. Drizzle this mixture over the Julekage. Slice to serve.


Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 54 books (53 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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