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!

Ingredients

  • 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

Baking Instructions

  1. Mix 4 cups of flour with the water, the yeast and 1/2 cup of sugar.
  2. Let the mixture rise for about 15 minutes.
  3. Then mix the rest of the ingredients except the egg, and knead everything quickly and thoroughly so you get a nice, smooth dough.
  4. Form about two or three balls of the dough and let them rise another 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Form long shaped breads of the dough and top them with a bit of beaten egg.
  6. Decorate the bread by giving it diagonal cuts.
  7. Let the bread rise yet another hour.
  8. Then bake the bread in a preheated oven at  410 ºF (210 ºC) for about 35 to 40 minutes.