I’m at the time that I like to think of as the cusp between Papa Bear’s birthday and mine. His just went by, and mine isn’t too far away. It’s also the perfect transition between the sultry October heat and cool November breeze and the only way that I know how to capture anything that’s happening around me, is through food. I’d been itching to bake a rich, brioche and given that Papa Bear loves bread so much, a ‘bread- cake’ such as this Kugelhopf. Or wait, is it Gugelhupf? You can call it by either name and not be corrected by anyone, unless you’re in continental Europe. There, I guess it might be a problem if you’re travelling between France, Switzerland Austria and Germany where dialects and changing languages would give it different names. In fact, babka, as we know it to be popular in America, is a version of this cake.
Here in India though, it’s all about ‘jugaad’! I woke up on the morning of Dad’s birthday and realised that I didn’t have any orange juice (to soak the raisins) or white butter at hand. I did find some, hold your breath, Mango Frooti (no they aren’t sponsoring this post), Amul butter and Gondhoraj ( the lovely lime that Bengalis use in their food and which I stock up on while pandal-hopping during Durga puja). You guessed it, I didn’t just make do with this ‘jugaad’, I hit it out of the park! We went to Royal China for dinner, which in my opinion, is one of the few places in Mumbai where you can go and order almost everything on the menu and be guaranteed a good meal. Anyways, this little piece de resistance got dusted with icing sugar and I used fresh flowers to decorate the cake and give it a celebratory touch. It’s also the perfect snacking cake during these cooler months, something you can leave on the counter and keep snacking on through the day. When I say you, I mean me, because we know I’m an incurable snacker!
Here are a few things to keep in mind while baking this kugelhopf –
I’ve used Amul salted butter because that’s what I had at hand. Since this already has salt, the amount of salt added to the dough is just 1/4 teaspoon.
If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you would have noticed my growing affinity for using raw, unprocessed sugar. That’s exactly what I went with here too, you can find this by the Conscious Food brand in most supermarkets.
It’s very important to use a good quality pan for kugelhopf, the pretty ceramic ones you find in Europe look great, but I’ve never used one. This one from KitchenAid is sturdy and gave me great results. I’ve used it to bake bundt cakes too and absolutely love it!
It’s important to let the dough double in size. I covered it with plastic wrap and let it rest for nearly two hours, in which time it had doubled.
Be gentle as you place it in the oven, trying not to knock out the air from the dough.
I’ve used the KitchenAid stand mixer with the paddle attachment and I would suggest the use of a beater at least, if you don’t have a stand mixer because this is an extremely sticky dough to work with.
P.S. This Italian Sponge Cake, made without any butter or oil is what I made for Papa Bear’s birthday last year.