For those who do not know it yet or who have never had the opportunity to taste a kougelhopf, you should know that it is a tasty cake made of brioche dough and filled with sultanas. In the past, it was a festive cake that was served at weddings, christenings and village festivals. The shape of the kougelhopf can be compared to that of a hat, high, round and fluted with a central hollow.
An atypical cake with unclear origins
The origins of the kougelhopf are rather vague and an Alsatian legend claims that the Magi were the precursors of this emblematic Alsatian cake. They are said to have given the recipe to a local pastry chef whose surname was Kugel to thank him for his hospitality. The turban worn by the Three Wise Men is said to be the origin of the particular shape of this cake. Another version says that Queen Marie-Antoinette, who loved this brioche and could not do without it, brought it back with her to the kingdom of France. What is certain is that this cake is a delight for all Alsatians and all visitors who taste it.
An Alsatian tradition
The kougelhopf exists in a sweet or savoury version and is eaten for breakfast, snack, desert, aperitif or brunch. Salted, it can be filled with smoked bacon and nuts, pieces of onion and munster cheese. The top edges are often decorated with almonds and the whole cake is covered with powdered sugar. The dough is baked in a clay mould which gives the cake a unique taste. The kougelhopf is a flagship speciality of Alsace and can be enjoyed at any time of the day with a cup of coffee or a glass of Alsace wine.
The kougelhopf dough
To prepare a kougelhopf, you will inevitably need the famous clay mould. The basic ingredients are: 400g of flour, 30g of baker’s yeast, 70g of caster sugar, 150g of fresh whole eggs, 150g of butter, sultanas and almonds for decoration. The cake is prepared like a brioche and the dough must be left to rise for one hour. It takes about 30 minutes to bake in an oven preheated to 180°C, depending on the size of the cake. Enjoy!