December 24, 2008


Kugelhopf (also called Kugelhupf, Gugelhupf) is a sweet and light bread with a cake-like texture. It also contains raisins and almonds and is somewhat like a brioche though not as rich. Some people refer to it as a yeasted cake, but I feel that this is definitely a bread even though it has a cake like texture.

The Kugelhopf is supposed to have its origins in Austria or the Alsace region of France though Germany, Hungary, Poland, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina also make variations of the Kugelhopf.

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 mould and some even have depressions in the bottom which can be filled with almonds.

In fact, one story suggests that this bread originated in Vienna where bakers made it to celebrate the Hapsburg forces defeated Turk invaders at the city gates!
There is also a story that Marie Antoinette brought it from Austria when she married Louis XVI of France.
While the origins of the Kugelhopf are still under dispute, there can be no doubt that this bread is absolutely wonderful. At least we definitely think so.
While I don’t have a fluted pan, I do have a bundt pan and that’s what I used to make my Kugelhopf. The recipe I used was the one at David Lebovitz’s site. He made his “Kugelhof “ using Nick Malgieri’s “Gugelhof” from his book, A Baker’s Tour.

Many recipes for Kugelhopf suggest lining the fluted/ bundt pan with sliced almonds before putting the dough in it. They also suggest dusting powdered sugar over the baked bread before serving.
This recipe calls for chopped almonds in the dough and brushing a sugar glaze on the baked bread.
The recipe below is my adaptation of the one on David Lebovitz’s site.


For the sponge:

½ cup warm milk

2 ½ tsp active dry yeast

¾ cup all purpose flour

For the dough:

½ cup golden raisins

2 tbsp unsweetened orange juice

3 tbsp salted butter, at room temperature

3 tbsp sunflower oil

3 tbsp sugar

2 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg yolk

1 ¼ cup all purpose flour

¼ cup toasted, blanched and chopped almonds

For the glaze:

¼ cup sugar

½ cup unsweetened orange juice

2 tbsp ground almonds


Soak the raisins in the orange juice and keep aside.
Mix the ingredients for the sponge and all let it rise till bubbly (in about 20 minutes).

Beat the butter and sugar, for about 3 minutes, till fluffy. Beat in the lemon zest and vanilla and then the egg yolk. Scrape down the sides and beat for another minute.

I don’t have a stand mixer so I used my hand-held one. At this point I changed to the dough hooks.

Drain the raisins and add the orange juice. Add the sponge and mix well. Then add in the flour and mix well for 2 minutes on low speed. Let the dough rest for about 10 minutes.
Now beat on medium speed for another 2 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Add the raisins and chopped almonds and beat till well mixed. The dough will be very sticky.

Scrape the dough out into a buttered bowl and turn the dough so it is completely covered in butter. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise till it has just started puffing up (about 20 minutes).

Scrape the dough out into a well buttered 6 to 8 cup bundt pan (or kugelhopf mould, if you have one), cover and allow it to rise till double.

Bake at 190C for about 35 to 45 minutes (mine was done in 35 minutes) till well risen and deep golden in colour. Remove from the oven and unmould after 10 minutes.
Cool completely on a rack.

To make the glaze, Place the sugar and orange juice over medium heat. Stir and take of the heat once the sugar has dissolved. Add the powdered almonds. Mix and then brush liberally all over the Kugelhopf.
Slice and serve. We had ours with coffee.

I understand that Kugelhopf is baked for Christmas while David Lebovitz baked his for Thanksgiving.

This is my submission for Zorra’s Bread Baking Day whose 15th edition is being hosted this month by Annarasa with the theme “Festive Breads”.

My Kugelhopf also goes for YeastSpotting to Susan’s Wild Yeast.

My best wishes to all my readers and well-wishers for the festive season. Happy Holidays!


Suzana said...

Happy holidays, Aparna! Wishing you and your family a brilliant New Year of 2009. :)

Sunshinemom said...

I too have the same bundt pan, not the tube one which is used traditionally! Perfect bread! Wish you a Very Happy New Year and holidays too:)

Bharti said...

Lovely as usual..I feel like I should just say ditto!
Happy Holidays dear Aparna....a lovely 2009 to you and yours!

Smitha said...

Looks very good.. got to try sometime

vivari said...

nice cake.I love Goa .
you have made your blog very well

Cynthia said...

Happy Holidays to you and the family hon!

Rajani said...

looks beautiful,makesmewish i was in the neighbourhood!! :) Merry x-mas!!!

Curry Leaf said...

Perfect Bread,Aparna and HAPPY HOLIDAYS

Vera said...

Happy Holidays to you and your family, Aparna!
The cake looks delicious! It's one of my favorite yeasted cakes!

Pearlsofeast said...

Lovely Bread Aparna.Nice to know about varities of bread.U have made it so well. Wish u happy holiday.

Purnima said...

Merry Xmas firstly to you n your near ones, Aparna!
Wow..what a tongue twister..the bread looks yum, with yeast n all those fruits making it soooo rich !

Red Chillies said...

The bread looks delicious. Happy Holidays to you and your family Aparna.

Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

Hey Aparna
nice cake recipe , perfect for the occassion of festivities.
I would also like to wish you Merry Christmas and wonderful ushering into new year 2009.

Cham said...

Tasted once this cake, looks divine ur bread! Happy Holidays :)

Yasmeen said...

Scrumptious cake,looks very festive.Happy holidays aparna:)

jayasree said...

Lovely bread. Perfect bake. Nice to know abt different varities of bread.

Happy holidays to you too.

Raaga said...

happy holidays and happy new year :-)

Hannah said...

What a festive treat! If only I had more time, I would have loved to make a vegan kugelhopf as well.

Happy holidays! :)

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

Definitely a most festive bread! Thanks for another lovely YeastSpotting entry.

Soma said...

Nice Bread Aparna. I like these kind of sweet bread made with yeast. I am going to try this ...

Happy Holidays to you & your Family!

Ivy said...

No wonder that Marie Antoinette allegedly said when reliably informed by her courtiers that the people had no bread to eat. “Let them eat cake! (lol)

Happy Holidays and wishing you a happy new year. May all your dreams come true.

HoneyB said...

I tried the Dorie Greenspan recipe and it totally flopped. Yours looks yummy!

Miri said...

What an interesting bread/cake - thanks for sharing the history behind it!

Uj said...

Loved the texture of the bread.. I admire the way you bake and present them so well that it feels like having it right away.. :) looks yummy

PG said...

Have never tried making Gugelhupf. I didn't even know one could use yeast for that. :D Looks wonderful! So delectable!
Wishing you a Happy New Year 2009!
And Happy Holidays too!

Mary said...

This looks like a celebration bread. It's beautiful to look at and I imagine great to taste.

Aparna said...

This post was a discovery for me too and I enjoyed it every bit.