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Houska (Bohemian Easter and Christmas Cake)


  • 3 packages active dried yeast
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar sprinkled over yeast
  • 1 cup milk, scalded and cooled
  • 1/2 cup stick margarine
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup dark raisins
  • 1/2 cup light raisins
  • 20 to 25 maraschino cherries, rinsed, drained and cut up
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 6 to 8 cups sifted flour


  1. Using a little more liquid plus 8 cups flour, you can make 2 loaves.
  2. An egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon milk and brushed on loaves makes a shiny loaf (before baking).
  3. Mix all the ingredients. Knead until well mixed. Let rise in warm protected area until double in size.
  4. Knead down flat about 1-inch thick. (Use rolling pin or pat down.) Make long strips about 1-inch wide, intertwine 4 strips to make bottom. Then braid 3 strips for top. Place on top of 4 strips, secure with toothpicks. Let rise 1/2 hour or so.
  5. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes at 325 degrees F.
  6. While still warm mix confectioners' sugar and water; drizzle over top of cake.

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