Making Kugelhopf

Eating kugelhopf is a little like traveling in time. You’re reminded of what “cake” was like before it became the ultra-rich, ultra-sweet, ultra-moist sort of device that it is now. I’m not complaining about modern cake, mind you. I’m just saying that “cake” as it was defined a few hundred years ago is a beautiful thing. I served this as the closer for Mrs. Pastry’s birthday party the other night, complete with candles, and it was a hit. A sweet white dessert wine positively makes this, as it blends elegantly with the toasty-sweet crust, tender buttery interior and tangy rum-soaked raisins. Talk about a grownup cake, I want one for my birthday!


Kugelhopf Recipe

I’ll be starting with Gaston Lenôtres famous Kugelhopf recipe, though I’m not ruling out that I’ll change it a bit, since one or two very interesting ideas came in from reader Regine last week and I intend to explore them. For now here’s the starting point.

1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) rum
3.5 ounces (1/2 cup) sugar
3.25 ounces (1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon) water
4.5 ounces (generous 1/2 cup) raisins
3.5 ounces (1 cup) slivered almonds
14-16 ounces brioche dough, chilled and ready
egg wash
powdered sugar for dusting
melted butter for the top of the cake
orange flower water, or a few drops of the extract of your choice