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 adapted was David Lebovitz's 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.
For the sponge:
For the dough:
For the glaze:
- 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 (375F) 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 with coffee.