Using a standing electric mixer with a bread hook attachment, or by hand, combine 1 cup sugar with the yeast, cardamom and salt. In a small saucepan, melt the 1 stick butter, then add the 2-1/4 cups milk and heat until lukewarm (about 115 degrees ). Pour the warm milk and butter into the mixer bowl. Mix in the flour 1 cup at a time until incorporated. Beat until the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Cover with a dry towel and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
Position the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees . Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough into thirds. Cover and refrigerate 2 sections. Roll out the third piece of dough into a 9-by-14-inch rectangle (about 1/4 inch thick). Spread 2 tablespoons softened butter over the dough and sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon cinnamon. Sprinkle with one third of the raisins and 1/2 cup almonds. Roll the dough into a tight log and pinch the ends closed. Repeat with the other two pieces of dough and the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cinnamon, 1 more cup almonds and the raisins; place the loaves on the prepared baking sheets.
Using scissors, cut incisions straight down into each loaf, about 2 inches apart, stopping just short of the bottom of the dough. Gently pull the slices apart from each other, in alternating directions. Repeat with the remaining two logs.
Place the loaves on top of the stove to rise for 10 minutes. Whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons milk and the egg and brush the mixture onto the loaves. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons almonds and some extra sugar. Bake the bread, switching the pans from upper to lower racks halfway through, until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Place on a rack, cover with a towel and let cool.