Looking for a tasty bake this holiday season? Try the Alsatian kouglof! A rich bundt cake that’s great for breakfast or as a festive afternoon snack.

KOUGLOF
It’s been snowing in the strangest of places recently (Provence and Texas?!), and even in my own town — which truth be told, always seems to be the last place in the country to get snow. Saturday morning came with icy rain that evolved into flurries, and by Sunday, the entire country was blanketed in white. It hasn’t really stopped since. Today, we’re even having a snow day! The last snow day I remember was when I was a teen in New Jersey!
With this kind of gloomy weather, there is nothing better than baking something festive and delicious. I baked cookies this weekend (huge gingerbread ones with icing and shortbread mixed with candied fruits) and an Alsatian kouglof. The cake (which is actually more like a bread) is popular during the holidays and the new year. It isn’t overly sweet and makes a lovely wintertime breakfast. We had some toasted and slathered with butter just this morning!

CRANBERRIES, CANDIED ORANGE, LEMON ZEST
Though kouglof is traditionally made with dried raisins soaked in rum, I gave mine a little twist by adding dried cranberries, candied orange peel and a little lemon zest for extra flavor. One of the most important things to remember when making the cake is to butter your mold really well. I can’t stress this enough. It’s something grannies in the Alsace will be all too keen to tell you! That, and to bake the cake at a low temperature. Some variations have almonds, but I opted to leave them out and instead I used some ground almonds in the batter. Hope you enjoy this recipe, and if you try it, please let me know!

 

Kouglof
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 325g flour
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 packet dry active yeast (7g)
  • 2 eggs + 1 yolk
  • 120ml whole milk
  • 100g soft butter
  • 60g dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsps dark rum
  • 40g candied orange peel, chopped
  • 25g ground almonds
  • Pinch of salt
  • Zest of 1 organic lemon
  • Powdered sugar, for serving

 

Instructions:
In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the flour, sugar and yeast. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolk and milk. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and mix on medium speed for 5 minutes using the dough hook. Start adding in the butter in small bits (while the machine runs) and continue to mix for an additional 5 minutes. In the meantime, heat the rum with the cranberries until the rum is almost evaporated. Leave to cool. Cover the dough with plastic and a tea cloth and allow to rest for an hour in a warm place. The dough will be sticky. After the hour, add in the cranberries, orange peel, almonds, pinch of salt and lemon zest. Mix with the dough hook for 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a generously buttered kougelof mold (or bundt pan), cover with plastic and a tea towel and leave to rest for an hour. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Bake the kouglof for one hour. Cover the mold with foil, increase the temperature to 180°C and bake for an extra 30 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack before unmolding. Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar. The cake is best eaten within 2 days but is also great toasted.