• Serves: Makes 9-inch (8 to 9 cup) Kugelhof Pan (or you can use a bundt pan)
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 375
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Kugelhopf Pan
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. 


I have adapted this recipe from Nick Malgieri.

1/2 cup sliced almonds, for lining the cake pan

1/2 cup whole or 2% milk
2 1/4 teaspoons (1/4-ounces) active dry yeast (not instant)
2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour; spoon into measuring cup and level to rim

1/2 cup seedless raisins
2 tablespoons Kirsch or dark rum, or orange juice

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour; spoon into measuring cup and level to rim

1/3 cup whole blanched almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped

Buttery Soak:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Sugar, for dusting

Powdered sugar, for dusting when serving

1. Butter a 9-inch Kugelhopf Pan. Scatter sliced almonds over the inside of the mold, turning to coat it evenly. Set aside.

1. Warm the milk over low heat in a small saucepan until it's tepid or about 98 degrees F. Pour into a bowl, and mix in the yeast then the flour until you obtain a soft dough. Cover with plastic wrap, set in a warm place and let rise until double, about 20 - 25 minutes.

Dough and Bake:
1. Stir the raisins together with the Kirsch or Rum (optional) in a small bowl. Set aside.
Butter the kugelhof mold well. Set aside.

2. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until softened. Beat in the sugar, salt, and lemon zest until soft and light, about 3 minutes.

3. Add in the egg yolks and beat on medium for about 1 minute until smooth.

4. Scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl, add the sponge, then beat another minute.

5. Drain the raisins and add the saved Kirsch into the dough, along with the vanilla.
Mix until well combined.

6.  With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the flour at the side of the bowl. Beat on low speed for 2 minutes.

7.  Cover the mixer with a kitchen towel and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

8. Beat on medium speed until smooth and elastic, about 2 minutes.

9. On low speed, slowly add in the raisins and chopped almonds, and mix until well combined.

10. Scrape the dough into a greased medium size mixing bowl and turn it so the top is buttered. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place.
Let rise until the dough just begins to puff, about 20 minutes.

11.  Scrape the dough into the prepared kugelhof mold and cover with a piece of greased side-down plastic wrap.

12. Let rise until doubled.
About 15 minutes before the dough is fully risen, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

13. Bake the kugelhof until it's well-risen, and deep golden brown, about 40-45 minutes.

14. Cool the kugelhof in its pan for 10 minutes, then unmold and turn upright, onto a wire cake rack positioned over a rimmed cookie sheet, lined with parchment or wax paper.

Buttery Soak:
1. Melt the butter and gently brush the hot cake with it, allowing the butter to soak into the cake.

2. Sprinkle the buttered hot cake lightly with sugar and allow it to cool to room temperature.

1. Right before serving, dust the Kugelhopf with sifted powdered sugar.

If you are not going to serve the cake as soon as it cools, because it stales quickly, wrap it in plastic without sprinkling it with powdered sugar. Then sprinkle it with the sugar before serving. Luckily, stale kugelhopf is delicious cut into thick slices, toasted, and spread with butter and marmalade.

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