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Grandmother's Sweet Bread

One of my fondest memories of Easter is when my Grandmother would make her tremendous sweet bread. This yummy dessert is sort of a cross between cake and a sweet bread, and when you bake it, you'll see why our whole family loves it.

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter or margarine, chilled
  • 3 (1/4-ounce) packages active dry yeast (3 tablespoons)
  • 3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F, 45 degrees C)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 cup sugar
  • 7 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cup unsalted butter or margarine
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
Instructions

Prepare Topping

  1. In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon.
     
  2. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter or margarine until mixture resembles crumbs. Set aside.

 

Prepare Bread

  1. Grease side and bottom of 2 (10-inch) tube pans.
     
  2. In a shallow, medium bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.
     
  3. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 cup flour, stir to combine.
     
  4. Cover, let stand in a warm place 5 to 10 minutes until foamy.
     
  5. Heat milk and butter or margarine in a small saucepan until melted.
     
  6. Let stand until mixture cools to warm.
     
  7. In a large bowl, beat eggs, egg yolks and remaining 1 cup sugar until pale and frothy.
     
  8. Add cooled milk mixture, salt and yeast mixture. Beat until smooth.
     
  9. Gradually beat in 4-1/2 cups flour.
     
  10. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
     
  11. Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface.
     
  12. Knead into a soft, smooth dough.
     
  13. Divide dough in half.
     
  14. Arrange 1 part dough in each greased pan.
     
  15. Cover with a damp cloth, let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
     
  16. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
     
  17. Lightly beat 2 egg whites in a small bowl until foamy.
     
  18. Brush beaten egg whites on top of dough.
     
  19. Evenly sprinkle Topping over dough.
     
  20. Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
     
  21. Cool cakes in pans 3 to 4 minutes on racks.
     
  22. Turn out of pans, cool completely on racks.
     
  23. Frost with Powdered-Sugar Icing, if desired (recipe below).  Makes 2 (10-inch) cakes.

 

Powdered-Sugar Icing

  • 2 egg whites
     
  • 1-1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
     
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  1. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until frothy.
     
  2. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating constantly. Beat 10 minutes or until glossy.
     
  3. Add lemon juice, beat 2 minutes or until icing stands up in soft peaks. Makes about 1-1/4 cups icing.
     
  4. Variation: Add food coloring or flavorings, such as 1 teaspoon sifted unsweetened cocoa powder or vanilla extract. Use a little more sugar if liquids are added.

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Reading this recipe, it sounded somewhat familiar. I think I've had something similar in the past, although the recipe incorporated raisins. I'm curious to try this out and also try the addition of the unsweetened cocoa powder as mentioned in the variations at the end. Has anyone tried making this with some almond extract and slivered almonds added?

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