Its still about breads.
Not that I’m not baking cakes and cookies anymore, its just that the breads stay at home and the cakes and the cookies have become like them glamorous step sisters who attend balls while Cinderella mops the floor.
Thats hardly a fabulous analogy coz my breads are pretty too. Its just that I’ve only one child who’s birthday I can celebrate. And he was never in the balloons and pinck bicycle stage. So the cakes and cupcakes and cookies are all for people and the breads stay home with the family.
So, the christmas cake is coming,but this kugelhopf is like a lower calorie stopover.Its sweet ,its boozy ,its got butter and its bread.
Well, its a sweet German Bavarian more Alscasian(of Alsace Lorraine-France) cake like bread which is also like a brioche because of its richness. To be eaten around Christmas freshly made or dunked in coffee when its older. And its traditionally made in enamel bundt pans. Read more about this here.
Truth be told, I’ve been planning to bake that Christmas cake in the bundt pan,but have been dithering…coz the cake just might burn . So was looking for a christmassy cake to make in the bundt.
Why ,you ask?
When you look at the whorls in the cake and that fleur de lis ,is it of any importance that you cant afford that 175 gns of butter?
Well ,you need to let go your inhibitions and run.
Run 30 minutes on the treadmill.
Run like the werewolves are chasing you(and you’re a vampire). Cheesy…I know ..considering that vampires dont need to eat. But they’re so fit.
Operative word is fit here.
So back to that Nordicware bundt pan. And my need to bake in it.
So I researched … The neighborhood library has an enviable stash of encyclopedias, some on breads. And I saw this kugelhopf there.
So google helped with the recipe and all were similar. Just a tablespoon or two of basic ingredients apart. What stood apart was Jamie Olivier’s Kugelhopf.
The only one with a liberal use of spices. I’m not amazingly trusting of his recipes…But I went by my gut and followed his recipe,almost to the tee.
And I added cardamom in a cake!
I’m not a cardamom person. Vanilla. Maybe cinnamon. But I was past first base and the batter was in the pan by then. I couldn’t have dived in to retrieve the cardamom seeds…
So I let go..
And was rewarded with this.
The first slice was not too interesting… But then it just disappeared. Into peoples tummies. And then I realised, cardamom is a quite cosmopolitan. It mingles with all flavors. So even if you dont have a bundt pan, use a tube pan or fashion a cake tin with a tube within and try this Kugelhopf.
Its awesome. Like a rich mawa cake with a few more complex undertones.
And did I mention the whiskey and rum? That too.
Its almost a subtle ,not so heavy or dense Christmas cake. Worth trying out. It may just become your regular tea time cake.
This is from Jamie Oliver’s recipe… Modified to suit my taste buds.
Kugelhopf Christmas and Celebration Breads
3/4 cup or 175 gms butter softened, plus extra for greasing
350 g plain flour , plus extra for dusting
250 gms candied peel, raisins and glacè cherries- I’m in love with these candied orange slices
4 -5 tablespoons rum and / or whisker
2 tsp or 10 gms instant dried yeast
3-4 cardamom pods, 1/4 star anise
150 ml warm milk
150 gm ground sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
75 mills buttermilk
1/2 tsp salt
Zest of a lemon
1 tsp vanilla essence
50 gms walnuts/ almonds/ cashews
icing sugar , for dusting
Start with the fruit. Feel free to add more citrus rind and less raisins. Place them with the star anise in a bowl and allow them to steep in the liquor at least 4 hours. If you’re in a hurry, warm them over very low heat allowing the fruit to plump up. Allow to cool.
Deseed the cardamom and pound to a powder, grate the nutmeg and place in a large bowl. Add in the flour, sugar ,yeast and mix. Add the salt. You can use a wooden spoon to mix the batter because it will be wet.
Mix in the warm milk and the vanilla and lemon zest. Add in the buttermilk and the eggs one by one.
It’ll be unlike a bread dough and now you can add in the butter and beat to get a fabulous arm workout. Use the left arm to beat the dough to submission too.
Oh and the batter gets smoother and shinier and more glossy with every beat.
And we haven’t added the drunk fruit yet.
You may add the fruit at this stage or just before the batter goes into the pan. Just ensure the fruit is drained and the star anise removed.
Mix it one final time and cover with film or a shower cap and set aside.
Grease your bundt pan or cake tin with butter,going into all the crevices. Spoon a few teaspoons of flour and ahake it around to coat the pan and set aside.
After about an hour the dough would’ve risen.
Add in the drained fruit and mix. You can spoon the batter into the bundt pan now . Lightly tap the pan on the table so that there aren’t any air bubbles.
Cover and set aside. After 15 minutes turn on your oven to preheat 170℃ . Wait 20 minutes and then Place your pan into the middle of the oven . The batter may not look too risen like a regular bread dough…but remember,it is liquidy and the fruit add a considerable amount of weight to the gluten strands.
Worry not. Wait 45-55 minutes and see if it is moving away from the sides.
Poke a toothpick or a satay stick in the bread to check if its done. A dry stick signals done. If your stick is not dry pop the pan in for another 10 minutes. Don’t walk away, stay here and keep an eye on your Kugelhopf.
Take an old tray and place a tea towel. Pour boiling hot water in it. Bring out your bundt pan and place on the towel.
Wait 3 minutes and turn over on a wire rack. Et voilà,you’ll have a perfect bundt.
Its soft while warm, so be careful. You don’t want to break it. Sprinkle icing sugar and let it just look pretty.
Wait till the bread cools before you slice it… And enjoy.
With friends and family.
I took some of this to a #krumbcrafter module with Samruddhi Bhat-Nayak where I learnt how to get that SourDough absolutely right.
Absolutely amazing to learn from someone who knows so much. So some SourDough coming up.
Break bread with those who think like you and share your passion.
Put your love into whatever you do,coz life is what you bake of it.
And finally that snow….