| |

Christmas Kugelhopf: A Sweet Spiced Fruit Cake

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Christmas Kugelhopf is a moist sponge cake infused with aromatic spices like cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It has a soft and tender texture that is incredibly delightful. This traditional spiced fruit cake is popular in Austria, Alsace, Germany, and Switzerland.

Side view of Christmas Kugelhopf with rosemary and cranberries on a white cake stand.

Want to save this recipe?

Enter your email, and we’ll send it to your inbox. Plus, you’ll get delicious new recipes from us every Friday!

Save Recipe

Indulge in the tantalizing flavors of this Christmas spiced fruit cake, where every bite is a truly delightful treat!

What is a Christmas Kugelhopf

Much like the Easter Kugelhopf, the Christmas Kugelhopf is a delightful treat that captures the essence of the holiday season. This decadent and sweet yeasted bread offers tender bites of pure indulgence, making it a must-try cake for any occasion. Discover the joy of this flavorful Christmas delight that is sure to satisfy your taste buds.

Origins of Kugelhopf

A Kugelhopf (also GuglhupfGugelhopf, pronounced [ˈɡuːɡl̩.hʊp͡f, -hɔp͡f, ˈkuːɡl̩-], and, in France, kouglof [kuɡlɔf], kougelhof, or kougelhopf, is a yeasted, spiced cake baked in a distinctive ringed pan, much like a Bundt cake and is often served through Central Europe as a Sunday cake.

Traditionally, Kugelhopf is made with dried fruit, typically raisins. However, this recipe suggests using dried cranberries soaked in orange juice for a Christmasy twist. In some regional variations, such as Czech, Hungarian, and Slovakian cakes, sweetened ground poppy seeds or chocolate filling are added, similar to Jewish babka.

In medieval times, a Kugelhopf was a popular delicacy served at Austrian events, such as weddings. This delectable treat was adorned with beautiful flowers, candles, and seasonal fruits. Over the years, the name of this delightful cake endured, even during the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Eventually, it became a staple in Viennese cookbooks, described as an exquisite and indulgent cake, known for its subtle flavors of rosewater and almond.

Are you ready to make your own? I think you’ll love this Christmas twist on a favorite cake with years of tradition behind it.

Christmas Kugelhopf Ingredients

You will find ingredient measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  • Dried fruit: I like to use a combination of dried cranberries and raisins.
  • Orange: You will need the juice and the zest of about 1 large orange.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Instant yeast works best. If using active dry yeast, see the notes in the recipe card below.
  • Granulated sugar for sweetness and for activating the yeast
  • Buttermilk for a delicious texture and flavor
  • Large eggs for structure
  • Spices and seasonings: vanilla extract, salt, ground cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg
  • Butter for moisture and flavor
  • Toasted sliced almonds

Kugelhopf Kitchen Tools

This yeasted cake is exceptionally easy to make and uses very few tools. A stand mixer with a dough hook makes this extraordinarily simple. If you have access to one, I recommend using it.

While traditional recipes are made using a Kugelhopf pan, you can also bake this Christmas cake in a 10 to 12-cup Bundt pan.

Side view of sliced Christmas Kugelhopf with cranberries and rosemary and clove studded oranges in the background.

How to Make a Christmas Kugelhopf

Step-by-step instructions are also in the recipe card below.

Step 1: Soak the dried fruit

Place the cranberries and raisins in a heatproof bowl and pour the orange juice over the top. Microwave until lukewarm and let soak until most of the liquid is absorbed. Set aside while making the dough.

Step 2: Make the Kugelhopf dough

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, instant yeast, salt, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, whisk together the lukewarm buttermilk, eggs and egg york, then whisk in the vanilla and orange zest and stir into the flour mixture.

Add the softened butter, then, using the dough hook, begin mixing the dough on low until combined. Mix for another 3 to 4 minutes until silky smooth.

Step 3: First rise

Cover the dough and leave in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled. The dough will not resemble traditional bread dough; it will be almost like a very thick pancake batter.

While the dough is rising, grease a Kugelhopf pan or a 10 to 12-cup Bundt pan, ensuring every groove is coated. Dust with flour and tap out the excess. Arrange the almond slices in the bottom of the pan.

Step 4: Mix in soaked fruit and rise again

To the dough, add the soaked dried fruit (and any remaining liquid) and mix until incorporated. Spoon the dough evenly into the baking pan and spread until level. Cover and let rise again until almost doubled: about 40 to 50 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Step 5: Bake the Kugelhopf

Bake the cake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until golden brown, risen, and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Remove the Kugelhopf from the oven and set it on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes before turning it out of the baking pan in an upright position. Let cool completely before slicing.

To serve, dust generously with powdered sugar.

If You Like Christmas Kugelhopf, You May Also Enjoy

SAVE THIS AND PIN IT FOR LATER!

If you are not already, you can follow me on Pinterest, as well as keep up with me on FacebookInstagram, and YouTube. If you make this recipe, I would also love it if you’d tag me in your photos and leave a star rating below!

To be among the first to be notified of new recipes, subscribe to my e-mail list. It’s free, and you’ll also receive a free e-book of our reader’s favorite recipes.

Side view of a slice of Christmas Kugelhopf on a red, white, and green plate with more in the background.
Horizontal top view of unsliced Christmas Kugelhopf decorated with red cranberries and green fresh rosemary.

Christmas Kugelhopf

Discover the joy of Christmas Kugelhopf, a tender yeast bread spiced with cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. Indulge in this decadent, sweet treat today!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Save
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 20 servings
Author: Stephanie Wilson

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup dried fruit I like to use half dried cranberries and half raisins
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon Instant yeast
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk lukewarm
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest or lemon zest
  • 12 tablespoons butter at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds

Instructions

  • Place the cranberries and raisins in a heat proof bowl and pour the orange juice over the top. Microwave until lukewarm and let soak until most of the liquid is absorbed. Set aside while making the dough.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, instant yeast, salt, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, whisk together the lukewarm buttermilk, eggs and egg york, then whisk in the vanilla and orange zest and stir into the flour mixture. Add the softened butter, then, using the dough hook, begin mixing the dough on low until combined. Mix for another 3 to 4 minutes until silky smooth.
  • First Rise: Cover and leave in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled.
  • Grease a Kugelhopf pan or a 10 to 12-cup Bundt pan, ensuring every groove is coated. Dust with flour and tap out the excess. Arrange the almond slices in the bottom of the pan.
  • To the dough, add the soaked dried fruit (and any remaining liquid) and mix until incorporated. Spoon the dough evenly into the prepared baking pan and spread until level. Cover and let rise again until almost doubled: about 40 to 50 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350℉.
  • Bake the kugelhopf for 40 to 50 minutes, or until golden brown, risen, and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  • Remove the Kugelhopf from the oven and set on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes before turning the out of the baking pan in an upright position. Let cool completely before slicing.
  • To serve, dust generously with powdered sugar.

Notes

The Kugelhopf is best within 24 hours of baking.
  1. Yeast: Instant yeast works best, but if you’re using active dry yeast, heat the milk until just warm, then add the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Whisk well and leave for about 10 minutes until the yeast has formed a thick, foamy crust on top. Then, add to the flour mixture.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 193kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 115mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

Tried this recipe? Pin it Today!Follow me on Pinterest for more and use the "Pin" button at the top of the recipe card.
Course: Cake
Cuisine: German Austrian
Keyword: Christmas kugelhopf, kugelhopf, kugelhopf pan, kugelhopf recipe

2 Comments

  1. I would love to make this recipe, however, I only have a hand mixer. Will this turn out using one instead. Thank you. Irma

    1. Hi Irma! I’ve not tried it using electric beaters but I think it could work- the batter is a little thick so be sure to use the beaters instead of whisks. I’ve not tried it,

5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating