Devil's Cake At Easter
"Duivekater" is a sweet bread that is very popular in the so-called Zaanstreek, the area North of Amsterdam. It is a luxury bread that is only eaten at Christmas and Easter. The odd name "Duivekater", if taken literally, means something like "pigeon cat". Actually, it is a corruption of the old Dutch "deuvels kakor" meaning "devil's cake".
It is said that the bread has its roots in the old Germanic custom of offering a piece of meat to the gods at the end and beginning of the crop season. Over time, the meat became a femur-shaped bread. Nowadays nobody offers bread to the gods anymore, but we still bake the femur-shaped bread and enjoy it at Easter. Baking Duivekater is very easy and you should really try it. It tastes best with just a little butter. Enjoy!
- 8 cups (1 kg) all-purpose wheat flour
- 3,5 oz (100 gr) yeast
- 2,5 tsp (15 gr) salt
- 1,5 cup (350 ml) lukewarm water
- 1 cup (200 gr) sugar
- 1/3 cup (75 gr) butter
- lemon zest to taste (quite a lot actually tastes best)
- 1 egg
- Mix 4 cups of flour with the water, the yeast and 1/2 cup of sugar.
- Let the mixture rise for about 15 minutes.
- Then mix the rest of the ingredients except the egg, and knead everything quickly and thoroughly so you get a nice, smooth dough.
- Form about two or three balls of the dough and let them rise another 15 to 20 minutes.
- Form long shaped breads of the dough and top them with a bit of beaten egg.
- Decorate the bread by giving it diagonal cuts.
- Let the bread rise yet another hour.
- Then bake the bread in a preheated oven at 410 ºF (210 ºC) for about 35 to 40 minutes.