A Kugelhopf Cake is a German yeast-risen sweet, rich bread baked in a special fluted tube pan called a Kugelhopf pan. There will be nuts, candied fruits and raisins or currants in the dough.
It has a crisp surface, and is dry, so it is eaten with coffee, tea or wine to wash it down.
It is often dusted with icing sugar.
Another version of Kugelhopf Cakes is made in Alsace, which was German territory at times in history but is now French. The Alsatian version uses raisins, kirsch, and almonds. The dough has yeast in it, and is allowed to rise for about 2 hours. A pan with crown-shaped moulding at the bottom is lined with flaked almonds, then the dough is punched down, put in the pan, let rise again for another 2 hours, then baked. When inverted, it comes out of the pan crown shaped, and the flaked almonds decorate the surface. The Alsatian version is mostly served at breakfast.
No one knows for sure where Kugelhopf Cake started, but both Germany and Austria claim it as their own, and there are the usual claims of Marie Antoinette introducing it from Austria into France.
Some wags like to infuriate all sides by stating that it may actually have originated in Switzerland.
A version in New Orleans, started at Maurice’s in 1990, adds sour cream to make it moister.
Literature & Lore
In Alsace, it was the tradition at a wedding for a bride’s mother to make several Kugelhopf Cakes and give them to the officiating minister (priest, pastor or rabbi) and to any other notables at the wedding.
Kugelhopf Cakes are called “Bundkuchen” in Northern Germany; “Gugelhufp” in southern Germany and Austria.