I like a good fruit cake along with the rest of you, but it doesn’t take me long during the Christmas holidays to get sick of it. So when you’ve had enough of eating Christmas pudding, but still need to eat a sweet cake, here’s an easy remedy to the “Too Much Christmas Fruit Cake Woes”, a Gugelhopf gâteau.
Just a bit about the home of the Gugelhopf cake first: Did you know Alsace changed nationality four times since 1871 because the region was caught in the wars between France and Germany? As a border region Alsace has been fought over for centuries by France and Germany. Today, the region is peaceful with seemingly pretty painted villages, fortified towns and sleepy vineyards. Much of the attraction of this breathtaking region also lies in its cuisine.
The flavors of Northeast France are robust with rich beef stews, pig, sausage and ham meats, dumplings and sauerkraut dishes with many foods similar to German and Flemish dishes. So lets look at this classic (and Christmas rescue) recipe from the region of Alsace, the Gugelhopf cake.
Cooked in a slender ring-shaped pan this cake is popular all over Central Europe. There are a number of versions of this classic but I cook mine with chocolate and marzipan as found in ‘The Ultimate Mixer Cookbook’ by Kay Halsey p154. This is the first cookbook that gave me true confidence to get stuck into cooking and give more complicated recipes a go. It has been my cookbook bible… so anyhow stuff you will need:
- 225g butter or margarine
- 100g caster sugar
- 250g plain flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- 5 beaten eggs
- 100g plain chocolate chopped small
- 150g marzipan chopped small
- 4-6 drops bitter almond oil
What you need to do:
- preheat your oven to 200°. Butter 22cm Gugelhopf tin or a fluted ring mould and dust with flour
- cream the butter or margarine and sugar in bowl
- mix the flour and baking powder, gradually add this to the creamed mixture, alternating with the eggs until all the ingredients are combined. Stir the chocolate, marzipan and almond oil into the mixture
- pour the mixture into your tin and cook for 35mins.’
When cooled, I dust my cakes with icing sugar and often decorate with fresh lavender or strawberries, as I’ve done above.
This is simply a great looking cake that is super easy to make like the Cherry Clafoutis cake. Enjoy this one…….. yum!! So there you have my French secret to the “Too Much Christmas Fruit Cake Woes”.
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