Recipe by Sarah Phillips © 2011 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
The original kugelhopf (also called Kugelhupf, Gugelhupf), a Viennese specialty, is a sweet yeast-bread similar to brioche and panettone; the traditional version usually contains yeast, raisins or currants. Once it’s baked, this cake is soaked with melted butter and sprinkled with sugar, so it develops a fine crust, and before serving it's dusted with powdered sugar. It was a favorite of the Austrian princess Marie Antoinette. Legend says that the Kugelhopf was a gift from the Three Magis coming back from Bethlehem 2000 years ago. Over the years, denser cakes were baked in the same fluted molds. The original molds were earthenware; later molds were made of glass or metal. There are special pans for making Kugelhopf which resemble bundt pans, except that they are deeper and fluted making the baked Kugelhopf look like a turban with intricate folds. These pans are also sometimes known as a Turk’s-head mold and some even have depressions in the bottom which can be filled with almonds. The name kugelhopf derives from the German word Kugel, meaning round or ball (Kugelkopf, with a k, means spherical head), although the actual kugelhopf somewhat resembles a pleated hat like a turban or toque.
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