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Easter Kugelhopf (Central Europe Sunday Cake)

This Easter Kugelhopf recipe is a raisin studded German Austrian yeast cake that’s much like a golden coffee cake with a rich buttery flavor. Baked in a Kugelhopf pan, or a Bundt pan, it’s a special holiday or anytime cake you’ll love.

Unsliced Kugelhopf dusted with powdered sugar

Widely popular throughout Central Europe: Germany, Austria, and most especially in Alsace, Kugelhopf (also known as Gugelhupf) is often known as Sunday Cake.

The fascinating history of Kugelhopf is further explored in this brilliant article from the New York Times.

The Alsatian version is distinct from the German or Austrian cakes in that an almond is placed in each depression of the tall, fluted pan. When the cake is turned out, a perfect pattern of whole almonds encircles the top. Regardless, studded with raisins and flavored with orange and vanilla it is the perfect yeasted treat to enjoy any time of the year.

Top view of Kugelhopf and a slice with a silver server

Sometimes Kugelhopf is generously dusted with confectioners’ sugar to finish it off once the sugar glaze you’ve added right out of the oven has hardened (if you want to do this it is up to you!), and it is delicious sliced alongside a nice cup of coffee. It makes a lovely change if you don’t fancy making Hot Cross Buns this Easter, and it is something you’re sure to love if a slice of Italian panettone is something you enjoy at Christmas time.

Closeup side view of unsliced Kugelhopf

Ingredients

As I’ve already mentioned, this Kugelhopf uses ingredients common to any yeasted, fruited bake common to Europe.

  • I like to use instant yeast as it is the easiest to work with for the home baker.
  • As you’re already zesting an orange use it’s fresh juice in the recipe too. But if you’re going down the zested lemon route instead, you can use fresh orange juice from a carton.
  • Whole milk always creates a richer crumb in bakes, but you can just use what you’ve got open.
  • Use European butter if you can find it as it contains roughly 2% more butterfat than American butter, which will provide a richer crumb.

Which tin should I use?

Any cake pan with a hole in the middle will do, be it a traditional Kugelhopf pan or a bundt tin.

If you’re buying one for the first time I’d recommend a still pretty, but more rounded Kugelhopf pan like the one I’ve used in these pictures rather than one of the ones with dramatic ridges and swirls. They look stunning, but even experienced bakers sometimes have trouble getting their bundt cakes out intact!

Slice of Kugelhopf with the whole cake in the background

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Closeup view of Kugelhopf slice on a plate
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Unsliced Kugelhopf dusted with powdered sugar

Easter Kugelhopf


  • Author: Stephanie Wilson
  • Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 20 servings 1x
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Description

This Easter Kugelhopf is a German Austrian yeast cake that’s much like a golden coffee cake with a rich buttery flavor. Baked in a Kugelhopf pan, or a Bundt pan, it’s a special holiday or anytime cake you’ll love.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon orange juice
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 packet instant yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest (or lemon zest)
  • 2/3 cup butter (150g) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds

Glaze

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions

  1. Soak the raisins in orange juice while preparing the dough and heat the milk until it is lukewarm.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Add the warmed milk, vanilla, eggs, and zest; mix on low until much of the flour has been incorporated. Add the butter, a piece at a time, until the dough becomes smooth. Then mix in the soaked raisins and knead the dough for 5 minutes.
  3. First Rise: Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise on the counter until doubled; about 90 minutes. Deflate the dough.
  4. Grease a Kugelhopf pan or a 10 to 12 cup Bundt pan and arrange the almond slices in the bottom of the pan. Turn the risen dough onto a floured surface and shape it into a ball. Then, using your fingers, create a hole in the center of the dough, creating a donut shape that is wide enough to fit into the Kugelhopf pan. Press the dough into the mold and cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Let rest until it rises two-thirds up the pan; about 1 hour.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. When the dough has risen and the oven is preheated, bake the Kugelhopf for about 45 minutes, or until it’s golden brown. While the cake is baking, make the glaze; bring the sugar and water to a full boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Keep the glaze warm.
  7. Remove the Kugelhopf from the oven, invert onto a cooling rack set in a rimmed baking tray. Spoon and brush the glaze over the cake to fully coat the Kugelhopf. Let the cake cool and the glaze harden before cutting.

Notes

The Kugelhopf is best within 24 hours of baking.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Additional Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: German Austrian

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 193
  • Sugar: 12
  • Sodium: 115
  • Fat: 8
  • Saturated Fat: 4
  • Unsaturated Fat: 3
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 27
  • Fiber: 1
  • Protein: 4
  • Cholesterol: 36

Keywords: kugelhopf, kugelhopf recipe, kugelhopf pan, German baking, austrian baking

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