This golden coffee cake with a rich buttery flavor is a German specialty and baked in a kugelhopf pan, a taller version of a Bundt pan. If you don’t have one, a Bundt pan will work just as well.
Widely popular throughout Central Europe: Germany, Austria and most especially in Alsace, Kugelhopf are often known as Sunday cakes.
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.
A kugelhopf is generously dusted with confectioners’ sugar.
A Central Europe Sunday Cake: Easter Kugelhopf
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup plus 1 tsp. granulated sugar
1 (1/4 oz.) packages active dry yeast
2 sticks (1/2 lb.) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for serving
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon grated orange zest (or lemon zest)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Stir together warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar in a bowl. Sprinkle with yeast and let stand until foamy, 5 minutes. Butter and flour a 10-cup Kugelhopf or Bundt pan.
Using an electric mixer, cream butter and remaining 1/2 cup sugar on low speed for about 30 seconds, then increase to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in orange zest, salt, and vanilla. Add yeast mixture; gradually add flour. Beat on medium, scraping bowl, until smooth. Stir in raisins. The dough will be very soft and sticky.
Butter a bowl. Transfer dough, cover with a towel or plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Stir down dough. Place toasted almonds in the bottom of the baking pan and drop in dough by spoonfuls, making sure to spread it evenly. Cover the pan with a towel and let rise until dough is within 1/2 inch of the top of the mold, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Bake Kugelhopf until golden, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Let Kugelhopf cool for 5 minutes, then turn out of pan onto a rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar; slice with a serrated knife; serve with butter.