If you've ever been to France and never to the Vosges region, you're missing something.
Quiet, peaceful, and oxygen-filled : everything Paris is not. My short weekend in Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, small town in the Eastern part of France gave me the opportunity to learn a new cake recipe. As well as getting huge accidental sunburns and eating a lot of groseilles and raspberries, because the garden was full of them:
Apart from visiting my aunt Mimi, which was obviously the main purpose of my going to St Dié, I decided to bake a kougelhof.
A kougelhof is an Alsatian cake, baked in a huge bundt pan. It's moist and simple, with just a few raisins and almonds. The recipe my aunt has been using forever comes from a local baker and has been getting compliments from ever since I can remember.
That's why, on Sunday morning--we were having a family lunch--I decided to try out a kougelhof. What could go wrong with a trusted recipe before my eyes?
The only problem was, I'm not quite the type to read recipes carefully. So when I see "mix yeast in warm milk" and "add butter to the rest of the milk", the word "rest" sort of sneaks away...
So the butter went into the yeast + milk, and I only realized this when it was too late--everything was already in the mixer bowl, ready to become a delicious kougelhof dough.
I stayed optimistic, and while we put the cake in the oven at 100°C for an hour to let it rise instead of outside in the sun for 6 hours like you're supposed to (I hadn't gotten up early enough for this part), I was sure the dough would rise.
It did, to some extent. So then began the cooking, and the end result was actually quite nice. Sure, it was a bit drier and definitely more dense than a traditional kougelhof, but it still had that sweet yeasty distinctive taste. Plus, it was still pretty to look at:
Here's the recipe, which I promise turns out perfect if your read it right!
Kougelhof - prep time 40 mins, 6 hours before final baking
Ingredients (in metric this time)
250 mL milk
100g slivered almonds
- Melt the yeast in 2 tablespoons warm milk, and make sure the milk stays warm.
- Melt butter in remaining milk in a double boiler.
- Mix flour, salt, sugar, and add eggs. Add milk/butter mixture little by little. Finally, add yeast and raisins.
- Butter the sides of a 1,5L bundt pan, and cover inside of the pan with slivered almonds. Pour in dough, and cover with a clean dishtowel. Keep in a warm place until the dough reaches the top of the pan and overflows a bit, about 6 hours.
-Place in oven at about 325°F / 160°C for 40 minutes, until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- Dust with powdered sugar and serve.