It’s week one, country one – Austria!
This week’s selected cake is Gugelhupf, or Kugelhupf (also spelt with an ‘o’ instead of a ‘u’ if you fancy). Gugelhupf was chosen as the cake to represent Austria in an event called Cafe Europe which was held in cafes across the EU in 2006, so I guess it’s a good place to start! There are versions of the Gugelhupf in France, Germany, Switzerland and other countries too, including the US (this is what bundt cakes are derived from). In Austria, it was originally a cake of the poor, but was popularised by Emperor Francis Joseph, and so became a staple of bourgeois afternoon tea. Variants of the design of the mould date back as far as the Romans, which is some seriously ancient cake.
I didn’t make my gugelhupf in the traditional ceramic mould, but in a bundt tin instead, which I have been in ownership of for several years now, and have only used once before (it’s spent most of its time in my loft). But now I’m grateful I hung onto it, because who knows when you’re suddenly going to decide to make gugelhupf for the first time ever. One thing I learned from my previous use of the bundt tin was that you have to let the cake cool completely, otherwise half of it ends up stuck in the tin.
There’s no particularly big Brexit news this week. Ryanair aren’t making any promises about their flights to Europe unless a transition agreement happens soon, and there is much fraught negotiation over the Irish border, as well as what effect Brexit will have on Scotland and Wales. Let’s eat some Gugelhupf and not worry about those things for now though…
I went with the ‘less traditional’ baking powder option, as opposed to the ‘more traditional’ yeast option. We’re starting slowly you know, it’s been a while since I’ve baked regularly, and to be honest I thought it had gone wrong even without the yeast. The recipe states that the mixture of icing sugar, butter and egg yolks should be ‘frothy’, but mine was more like bread dough, and the more I mixed it just didn’t seem to improve. However, it all ended fine I think – I mean, I’ve never eaten Gugelhupf before, but it looked right and people said it tasted good, so recipe one for Austria complete!
Marbled Gugelhupf (from Vienna Unwrapped)
250g plain flour
250g icing sugar
5 eggs (separated)
8g vanilla sugar (I used 2 tsp vanilla extract instead here, because I don’t know where to get vanilla sugar at short notice)
15g baking powder
3 tbsp cocoa powder
- Preheat the oven to 180C, and grease the tin with butter and dust with flour.
- Beat together the butter, icing sugar, vanilla sugar (or extract) and egg yolks until frothy (or dough-like if you’re me). Add the flour, baking powder, milk and rum and mix well.
- Whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, and then carefully stir them into the rest of the mixture.
- Pour half of the mixture into the tin. Add the cocoa powder to the remaining mixture, and then pour it into the tin.
- Bake the cake for around 40 mins-1 hour (mine took about 45 mins). After 35 mins, use a fork to check if it is done. If it sticks to the fork, the cake needs to bake a little more.
- Allow the cake to cool completely before turning out on to a plate. Then use a sieve to sprinkle it with icing sugar.