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kulich — traditional Russian Easter Cake
2 medium cakes - 16 generous slices or make 8 individual for easter gifts
actual preparation time 15 to 20 minutes, but with the steps of proving can take all day depending on the room temperature

100g mixed candied peel
200g sultanas
60g kirsch
30g fresh yeast
235g caster sugar
300g luke warm milk
600g strong flour + little extra for kneading
225g unsalted butter + 40g for greasing the tin – both melted but cool
5 extra large eggs
100g blanched almond slithers
4 cardamom pods
250g icing sugar
40g molten unsalted butter
the grated rind and strained juice of 1 lemon
Easter decorations — a thin taper, coloured chickens flowers, small foil covered chocolate eggs or coloure and decorated boiled eggs, what ever takes your fancy

The tin for the Kulich is important
The cake should be higher than it is wide. Long ago in my dilemma to find a suitable tin to recommend to my cooking class, the lateral thinking of my friend Albertina was a reminder of just what fools chefs can be sometimes – “a pickle tin dear.” Poor pure old me I’ve been burning letters from the canned food industry for years and now I need a can, I’m always left in awe of her problem solving abilities. Absolutely perfect for this recipe a tin, approximately 15.5cm in diameter and 18cm high. If you are going to make individual Kulich the 400ml coconut milk tins are perfect.

Put the peel and sultanas into a small bowl, add the kirsch and stir through. Brush the tin with the melted butter and line the base and sides of the tin with baking paper. Put the yeast and a teaspoon of the sugar into a medium bowl and work the yeast with a whisk until it starts to go runny. Add the milk, and whisking constantly add about 1 cup of the flour to form a batter. Whisk until smooth, cover with plastic and leave in a warm place until doubled in volume. (One to two hours depending on the temperature).
When the starter is almost ready, put the eggs into a bowl and cover them with hot water. Put the sugar into the bowl of electric mixer. Scrape the seed from the vanilla pod and add it to the sugar. Break open the cardamom pods, extract their seeds, pound them to a powder in a mortar and pestle and add them to the sugar. Drain the water from the eggs, and add 3 whole eggs and 2 egg yolks to the sugar (the 2 whites can be reserved for another purpose). Whisk the eggs and sugar, then whisk in the butter, marinated fruit, almonds and the risen starter. Change to the dough hook and work in the remaining flour, continuing to knead the dough until it comes away from the sides of the bowl. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover with plastic and leave in a warm place to double in volume. Knock the dough down, knead again until smooth and put it into your prepared tin/s and place the tin in a draught free place to double in volume again.

Pre heat the oven to 175°C
Bake the Kulich for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour until well risen and lightly browned on top. Allow the cake to stand on a rack for 10-15 minutes, then carefully turn it onto a cake rack. Turn it our too quickly and you risk it falling to pieces. Wrap it in a clean tea towel and allow it to become completely cold. Make icing with the icing sugar, clarified butter, flavouring it with grated lemon rind and lemon juice. Ice the top letting it run down the sides and insert the taper in the top of the cake.

The Kulich is apparently traditionally served by cutting off rounds rather than the more obvious wedges and of course comes with a few shots of frozen vodka.

the people behind Galaxy Guidesfood editor and publisher
Ann Oliver

champagne editor
Kaaren Palmer


Jan Bowman
Political comentator, briliant photographer…farmers’s market obsessed…Brisbane based.

Olivia Stratton Makris
Masters of Gastronomy, NYC, Spain and constant assistance and editorial suggestion…Adelaide based.

Michael Martin…Northern America 2016.Photographic assistance Kym Martin…Adelaide based.

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copyright © text, recipes and images Ann Oliver & Kaaren Palmer 2016.