It’s my family tradition. My mother and grandmothers (and grand-grandmothers) baked bunch of Kuliches every year for Easter. It’s the easiest recipe of cake: just mix all ingredients, put dough into molds, wait for rise and bake. There is two varieties – plain and chocolate. Two empty coffee or juice cans (2 lb) for molds will be needed.
For two plain kulich:
1 cup warm milk (don’t use non-fat)
2 tsp dry yeast
1 cup sugar
14 tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3 eggs in room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup golden raisins + 1/4 cup rum or brandy for soaking
4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
For two chocolate kuliches omit raisins, cardamom and nutmeg, add:
1/2 cup dry tart cherries soaked in brandy or maraschino cherries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
4 oz semisweet chocolate
1/3 cup all-purposed flour
1 egg white
4 oz. of powdered sugar
Dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in a small quantity of warm (160F) milk. As soon as the yeast mixture rises, pour in the rest of milk, beat in eggs and whip carefully. Add sugar, combined with cardamom and nutmeg, and melted butter to the mixture. Then pour in flour slowly, stirring carefully, so that there aren’t lumps. Stir in soaking raisins.
Line the sides and bottom of can with greased wax paper, making sure for the paper is at least one and a half the height of the can. Divide dough and put in molds. Cover with a clean towel and leave to rise in the mold. The best place for this – your oven with the light on: there is no draft and the temperature above room temperature because of the light. Rising usually takes 2-3 hours.
After that, carefully put cakes in a preheated oven (350F) and bake until light brown 45 minutes. Don’t open the oven often. But if top of cakes is getting dark, cover it with foil to prevent from burning. Check the readiness with a wooden stick – put it in the Kulich. If the stick is clean, the cake is ready.
Let the Kuliches cool down in their molds, very carefully take them out and put on a wire rack on side (!) to completely cool.
Glaze Kuliches over the top. For glaze whip egg white with powdered sugar until firm. Add some nonpareils or candies on top.
For chocolate Kulich: omit raisins, cardamom and nutmeg. Melt chocolate with butter. Add cherries and nuts.