Kugelhopf

I think Kugelhopf is easily on the top tier of my favorite bread/cake of all times!  I know some people are not too keen on this whole hybrid of bread and cake.  I like to call this hybrid a “love child” – because just like a love child, this kugelhopf gets best of both worlds!! 

I always loved bread from a very young age.  Growing up my mother always gave me toast for breakfast (very atypical of a Korean mom, especially living in Japan).  My mother always loved breads from Germany, France and Japan, therefore, she would often take me around my hometown of Kobe, Japan whenever she found a great bakery (and believe me, living in a very international port city we had plenty of great bakeries).  

I like cake, but as I have mentioned before, I like simple whipped cream frosting – I will easily pass the buttercream, and any type of icings.  That’s why I like kugelhopf, because it is such a simply presented bread/cake it shines all by itself!  Today’s recipe of kugelhopf is your original kugelhopf, unlike the Rum and Eggnog Kugelhopf I made a little while ago.   Compared to the Rum and Eggnog Kugelhopf, this kugelhopf is light and almost “angelic” (can I describe bread/cake as angelic??). 

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¾ cups raisins
2 tablespoons Kirschwasser brandy, Grand Marnier liqueur or brandy
1 package active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
½ cup warm milk (110 to 115 degrees)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
½ cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup slivered almonds

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the raisins and brandy or liqueur. Set aside to let the raisins soak.
  2. In a small bowl, combine yeast, warm water, and warm milk; stir and let sit until yeast is dissolved, about 10 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt; whisk together to mix. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, add the butter and lemon zest; with an electric mixer on medium speed beat the butter and lemon zest about 1 minute until it is smooth and light in color. Add the sugar, eggs, and vanilla; mix thoroughly. Add the yeast mixture and mix thoroughly.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, add about one half of the flour mixture, mix until the flour is completely blended. Scrape the bowl down with a rubber spatula, and add the rest of the flour; mix until completely blended. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 10 minutes longer. The dough will be very soft.
  6. Place dough in a well greased bowl. Cover bowl with a small kitchen towel and let dough rise is a warm place until doubled in size, 2 to 3 hours.
  7. Stir the dough down, cover, and let rise again until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours. This second rise improves the texture and takes less time, however this rise is optional.
  8. Prepare one 10 cup Kugelhopf pan or one 9 inch Bundt pan; generously grease the pan with shortening. Sprinkle the slivered almonds evenly in the bottom of the pan.
  9. Stir the dough down. Stir the raisins and soaking brandy or liqueur. Spoon the dough into the prepared pan. Cover and let rise is a warm place until doubled in size, and dough almost reaches the top of the pan, 1 to 2 hours.
  10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    Bake:
  11. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Cover with a sheet of foil about halfway through the baking time if the surface begins to brown too quickly. Remove pan from oven, and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove Kugelhopf from the pan and finish cooling on a wire cooling rack.
    Topping:
  12. Before serving, use a fine-mesh sieve to dust the top of cake with confectioner’s sugar.
    Makes 1 cake

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My opinion:  I almost died eating this!!  Really, it was sooooo good, I almost died!!!  This is very dangerous, because 4 of us in my family finished off half of this Kugelhopf!!  I don’t know what else to say, but this was pure ecstasy!!

I do have to say this is a simple recipe, what makes it “difficult” is the amount of hours this has to proof!!  I hope you don’t get turned off by the time it needs for proofing, because it’s all worth it (just find chores to do around the house!!).  All jokes aside, I hope you try baking this, you’ll never buy another kugelhopf or any other Christmas pastry after this. 

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