In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter until light and creamy, then add beaten egg and salt. Stir in cooled milk and the yeast. Add 200g sifted flour and beat to make a smooth batter. Cover with a clean tea towel and let rise until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Stir spices and orange zest into the mix, then add remaining flour to make a soft dough. Place on a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic. Add sultanas and mixed peel.
Put dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn once to coat the surface of the dough with oil. Cover and set aside in a warm place to rise until it doubles in size, about 2 hours.
Divide dough into 10 parts, roll into desired lengths and let rise about l5 minutes. On a well greased baking tray, make a braid of three parts, beginning in the centre and working braid loosely toward each end. Pinch ends together. Twist two more pieces together and place on the base of the braid. Repeat for second loaf.
In a small bowl, beat together egg yolk and milk and brush mixture over each loaf. Sprinkle with flaked almonds. Let rise for about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Bake loaves for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven, transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely. Cover while cooling with a clean tea towel to make a soft crust. To serve, sprinkle with icing sugar and cut into slices.
I haven't made this version yet because I use my own family's recipe, but this is truly a great bread. The braided shape is quite pretty and I've always gotten compliments when I've shared loaves with others. I wouldn't reduce the size of the recipe either. It takes a good amount of time, you'll be happy to have made two loaves. - 14 Jul 2008
This is delicious! My husband, who does not care for cakes without cream, ate half of it. This cake would be one of my regular festive (and non-festive as well) cakes. - 14 Jul 2008