A Simple Yeast Cake for Easter

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

I don’t bake yeast breads very often. But I do at least two times a year. One is at Christmas, when I make a braided wreath bread that I insist we eat before opening presents. The second is at Easter, when I haul out my bread machine from the basement to make Hot Cross Buns. Once the dough is made, I shape and bake it conventionally in the oven. I can make the buns from scratch, but why not let the machine do some of the work?

In case you’d like to bake with yeast but are a little intimidated, here’s a luscious yeast cake that uses the no-knead batter bread technique. It’s a good recipe for beginners and for people in a hurry, since in addition to no kneading, there is only one rising.

This recipe comes from an 80-page cookbook I produced for Fleishmann’s Yeast in 1993, called Best-Ever Breads. It incorporated some of the company’s best-loved recipes through the years, along with contemporary recipes of the time.

This delicious, lemony cake is made in a tube pan and as you can see by my photo, I’ve decorated mine with a fresh rose from my garden. While it’s a nice touch, the reason I did it, truth be told, is because the bread didn’t come out cleanly in the center. You can avoid this problem by baking in a nonstick pan. If your tube pan isn’t nonstick, as mine wasn’t, be sure to grease the central tube of the pan well and re-grease after you’ve added the dough.

And if you still have a problem, stick a rose in it.

Lemon Babka
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
½ cup sugar
1 package Fleischmann’s RapidRise Yeast
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup milk
½ cup butter, cut into pieces
¼ cup water
3 egg yolks
1 cup raisins
Lemon Glaze (recipe follows)

In large bowl, combine 1 ½ cups of the flour, sugar, undissolved yeast, lemon peel and salt. Heat milk, butter and water until very warm (120° to 130°F); butter does not need to melt. Gradually add to dry ingredients; beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally.

Add egg yolks and ½ cup flour; beat 2 minutes at high speed, scraping bowl occasionally. With spoon, stir in remaining flour.

Cover and let rest 10 minutes.

Stir batter down; stir in raisins. Turn into greased 3-quart tube pan. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Bake at 350°F for 35 to 40 minutes or until done. Invert onto wire rack. Brush warm cake with Lemon Glaze, using all the glaze; let cool.

Lemon Glaze: In saucepan, combine ¼ cup sugar, ¼ cup water and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes until syrupy.

Makes 1 cake.

Recipe adapted from Fleischmann’s Yeast Best-Ever Breads cookbook.


  • RapidRise is Fleischmann’s highly active, finer grain yeast that raises dough faster than regular active dry yeast. You can also use Bread Machine Yeast.
  • If you don’t have a warm, draft-free place to raise dough, cover bowl of dough with plastic wrap, then wrap in a blanket.

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Posted: Mar 20th by Sandy_Hu