23 September 2011

Gugelhupf Squared

"Is that a Gugelhupf?"

That's what I asked myself in Target yesterday.  I was on a mission for 9-volt batteries and toilet paper when I saw a sale display with what looked like a taller but smaller Bundt pan.  I'd had it in the back of my mind for months to find one of these and here it was outta nowhere AND on sale!  Love it when that happens.  So yeah, I bought it, brought it home and made pretty things in it.

Bundt cakes are kinda my favorite and yet I don't own a bundt pan!  Weird, right?  I bought an angel food pan and have used it a total of 1 time and I think that burned me on specialty pan buying, although I admit, it doesn't totally make sense.  There's so much more you can do with a bundt pan than an angel food pan.

Then there's the issue of storage (bundts don't nestle well) and cost.  I'm cheap and $30 for a pan for a cake I shouldn't be eating anyway?  Couldn't do it.  I've held them in my hands at different stores around town and put them back on the shelf every time--until yesterday.  Yesterday, I found the Gugelhupf pan.  It was taller and slimmer and cheaper (under $20) than the bundt's I'd flirted with before and then there was YOU.  I made a promise to you to bake my way through The Book and Gugelhupf is an important part of that.  I had to buy the pan--it's part of my job!  Done.

Gugelhupf is the German/Austrian grandfather of the American bundt.  I was under the impression that Gugelhupf was the name of the cake, but really it's just the name of the pan.  What's inside usually goes one of two ways:  a teacake very similar to the English pound cake or a yeasted dough filled with a combination of nuts and dried fruit or chocolate.  Both excellent with strong coffee and good anytime of day.  So I did the only thing I could do to fully understand the Gugelhupf.  I made both!

Gugelhopf (center) at Budapest's Great Market Hall

Oh, and if you're unlike me and you have a bundt pan--you can definitely use that to try these recipes.

SANDTORTE (Viennese Pound Cake)

I decided to start here.  The name refers to any type of cake that starts with creamed butter and sugar.  It gets sandy so you have a sand cake.  Yum?

This recipe comes from the head baker at Vienna's famed Hofzuckerbäckerei Demel (Royal and Imperial Confectioner Demel--yeah, it's been around a while and is a bit of a big deal!).  It's like a pound cake with a few tweaks.

First, the ingredient portions are different.  While the pound cake started as being 1 pound each of butter, flour, sugar and eggs most recipes at this point have strayed from that formula and even include baking powder, vanilla and/or lemon zest and sometimes milk.  Frankly, a straight-up pound cake isn't very tasty, but the modern version is irresistible.  So the Sandtorte has followed suit at least so far as changing the weights to 9 ounces each rather than the traditional pound.

Second, the Sandtorte uses the method of whipping up the egg whites separately and folding them into the "fat" like you do with the genoise.  There's no leavening in the cake other than the eggs so whipping them insures the cake is buoyant.

Third, the recipe calls for 1/3 cup of cornstarch which manages to "soften" (aka reduce the gluten) of all-purpose flour making the cake more tender.  In fact, there's more cornstarch in the cake than there would be if you used cake flour instead which gives the cake a little more chew.

What Happened:
This cake was easy-peasy just like pound cakes are.  It's also a cake you can usually make on the fly since the ingredient list is short.  Although having 5 eggs on hand on any given day could be a problem.

The Sandtorte is also pretty flexible in terms of flavoring.  You can add lemon or orange zest, vanilla, lavender, rosemary, thyme, nuts, chocolate chips, almost anything you want.  The cake is a blank canvas for your creativity and your cupboard.

It's pretty.  The pan makes sure it's beautiful to serve and you can dust it with powdered sugar or leave it naked.

Really there were no real challenges with this cake.

Things I Would Change:
  •  I would reduce the sugar by a smidgen.  It's not cloyingly sweet by any measure, but I like a cleaner finish so in the recipe here I reduced the sugar by 1/4 cup.
  • In my version I added lemon zest and lavender.  It's really good, but it would stand on it's own in Plain Jane form.  Perfect with berries or just a Cup o' Joe.
  • I changed the order of the steps in the recipe.  I hate washing dishes, so I whipped my egg whites first, set them aside in another bowl which I later used for sifting the flour, cornstarch and salt.  This way I didn't have to stop, go wash my mixer bowl and worry about fat being in the bowl and flattening my whites.  This way I just added the butter to the bowl where I had whipped the whites and proceeded with creaming the butter and sugar together.
The Results:
Delicious.  Tender, melt-in-your-mouth, airy and sweet.  It's moist, but not as moist or dense as a pound cake.  I like clean, simple flavors.  I'm not a frosting girl.  This is my kind of treat.

It keeps too. The flavors meld a bit after a bit of sitting so it's just as good the next day.  I didn't even wrap it.  It's been sitting on my counter on a plate under a cake dome.

But wait there's more...


As promised this is a two-fer.

Looking for info on the Gugelhupf I kept finding another recipe that was more bread-like.  Apparently, this is a cake that signals a holiday or special occasion.  To me, finally getting this pan was occasion enough.

I used Wolfgang Puck's base recipe.  He's Austrian, how could I go wrong?

What Happened:
Again, the ingredients are things that you probably have on-hand.  I like those kinds of recipes.

It took a little over 3 hours to make this cake which includes 2 rise times and an hour of baking.  So most of that time is hands-off.

The only challenging part was getting the rolled dough full of nuts and cranberries into the mold.  The dough is soft and when rolled and filled it's not easy to pick up all at once.  I managed to work my hands under the roll and inch the roll up onto my wrists so in the end I was almost cradling the log.  Then I eased the roll into the mold trying to make it so the seam was toward the inner tube of the pan--just in case it decided to open.  It worked out just fine.  I just didn't want it to tear, but if it did, I could have just pieced it back together in the pan before the final rise.

What I Would Change:
  • In the recipe here I have lessened the amount of yeast just a bit.  The recipes called for 1 ounce which is significantly more than 2 tablespoons.  That's a lot of yeast for the quantity of dough and it isn't necessary.
  • I added a second rise.  Some recipes had it, some didn't.  Seemed right to me.
  • I used orange scented cranberries rather than raisins.  The fact that I used any fruit at all is surprising--I did it for you Dear Reader!  While I am anti-cooked fruit, I wanted you to have the traditional experience.  You could say I'm a giver.  Will you please say it?!
  • Flavor-wise this is another blank canvas.  Use any combination of nuts, replace the fruit with chocolate chips, omit the fruit or add more, replace the cinnamon with cocoa, it's your Gugelhupf.
The Results:
The biggest and best surprise other than it was beautiful was the caramelized crust.  Buttering and sugaring the pan and the long bake time results in a nice, sweet, crusty-crust that made me wonder if it would have been worthwhile to sugar the dough before baking to get that crust all around.  Not sure if it would work since there's no pan contact to help the caramelization, but maybe?

The swirls of cinnamon and nuts make for a spectacular interior and the dough makes a very airy, spongy bread.  It's lovely.  Brioche-ish.  A little less buttery.  Toasting a slice and slathering it with butter is another delicious way to enjoy it.  I've even thought about using the stale leftovers for bread pudding.

And what of the fruit?  It added a nice zing when it appeared in a bite.  That's one of the great things about this "cake" is that every bite is a little different from the last.  As someone who tends to rebel against routine, this works for me.

So glad I went to Target yesterday!

Sandtorte (Viennese Pound Cake)
6 to 8 servings 
adapted from Rick Rodgers Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafe's of Vienna, Budapest and Prague

1 ¼ c    butter (2 sticks plus 2 T), at cool room temperature
1 c        sugar, divided
5           eggs, separated
1 1/3 c  flour
1/3 c     cornstarch
pinch     salt

1           lemon or orange, zested (optional)
  Powdered sugar, for garnish

Place the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Brush melted butter on the inside of the gugelhupf mold and coat with flour, tapping out all the excess.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat egg whites until foamy then slowly add ½ c sugar and continue to beat until the whites are shiny and stiff.  Transfer to another bowl and set aside.

In the same bowl used to beat the whites, add the butter and beat at a high speed with the paddle attachment until the butter is smooth, about a minute.  Add ½ c sugar and continue to beat, scraping down as needed, until the butter is light in color and texture, about 4 minutes (don't skimp here, the cake needs the air).  Beat in the egg yolks 1 at a time (and zest, if using), mixing thoroughly between each addition.

Fold the egg whites into the butter mixture.  Sift the flour, cornstarch and salt together and fold into the batter in 2 additions.  Spoon the batter into the mold and smooth the top.  Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Transfer the gugelhupf mold to a wire rack and leave it to cool for 10 minutes. then unmold the cake.

Garnish with powdered sugar and serve warm or at room temperature.  Keeps for 2-3 days.

Traditional Gugelhupf
8 to 12 servings
adapted from Wolfgang Puck's Gugelhupf recipe
1 c       milk
¼ c      sugar
1 oz     yeast (2T)
1lb       bread flour - 3 1/1 - 3 3/4 c (if you use regular flour--*see note in recipe)
1 t        salt
2          eggs
3 oz     butter (6T), cut in pieces

2 T       butter, melted
¼ c      sugar

3 oz     butter (6T), softened
3 oz     sugar (½ c)
1 T       cinnamon
3 oz     roasted, peeled hazelnuts (½ c) , chopped
3 oz     roasted almonds (½ c), chopped
3 oz     golden raisins (½ c), soaked for 30 minutes in ¼ c kirshwasser, rum, 
            cognac or hot water then drained
  Powdered sugar, for garnish

For the dough, warm the milk to 100 degrees F or until it feels like warm bath water to the touch (if you can’t keep your finger in it for 10 seconds it’s too hot and will kill your yeast).  Pour the milk into a small bowl and stir in the sugar and yeast. Set aside until the yeast begins to bubble, about 5 minutes (not necessary if you're using instant yeast).

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour and salt. Using the paddle attachment of the mixer, at low speed, slowly pour in the yeast mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time and lastly, the butter, a few pieces at a time. 

Increase the speed to medium and continue beating until the dough looks elastic and almost forms a ball that rides around on the paddle, 3 to 4 minutes.  *This may take a couple of minutes longer to achieve if you didn’t use bread flour.  Look for the mixer to start to groan a little and you will see the dough form bands as it whips around on the paddle.  This is when you’re done.

Remove the bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let the dough to rise until doubled in volume, 45 to 60 minutes.

Generously grease the inside of a 9-inch gugelhupf mold with melted butter and sprinkle evenly with 1/4 c sugar. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface.  With a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to form a 12-by-16-inch rectangle 1/4 inch thick.

To fill the dough, spread the softened butter evenly over the surface. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle it evenly over the dough. Finally, sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts and almonds and the drained fruit.

Starting at one long edge, roll up the dough to form a compact log.

Bend the log to fit it inside the prepared gugelhupf mold.

Cover with plastic wrap or a clean, damp kitchen towel and let it rise until the dough has nearly doubled, 30 minutes.  Don’t panic if it rises above the pan itself.

Bake the gugelhupf until its top is well risen a deep golden brown, 50 to 60 minutes. 

Transfer the gugelhupf mold to a wire rack and leave it to cool for 10 minutes. then unmold the bread.

1 comment:

  1. yummy...love the pan and the story of your sale find. beautiful cakes and bread. good idea for 'bread pudding'...