In retirement my father, who unfortunately has now past, turned himself in to a baker. His all time favourite recipe was for a Hungarian chocolate kugelhupf where he could reminisce about his Hungarian childhood and his obsession with chocolate. A kugelhupf is traditionally a Central European sweet bread. In Germany it is filled with mixed dried fruit, but in Hungary, chocolate is essential.
My father has very fond memories of eating amazing pastries and cake creations as a young boy in Hungary. On my first visit to Hungary, a number of years ago now, I also got to experience the joy of eating delectable cakes and pastries. If you ever get to visit Hungary, my advice is to leave your diet at the border!
This kugelhupf is being made to commemorate my father’s birthday. It’s a tradition I will endeavour to continue each year. It’s a comfort to recreate something that he lovingly prepared for his family and friends and to share with mine. The recipe is a bit involved, but there is nothing more satisfying than creating a yeast based dough and turning it in to something truly amazing to eat. A kugelhupf tin is similar to an angel cake tin. A long as it has a whole in the middle, you can use it.
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 x 7g dry yeast sachet
- 2 3/4 cups to 3 cups strong bread flour
- 1/3 cup castor sugar
- 1/2 tsp not salt
- 4 oz (113g) unsalted butter
- 3 eggs @ room temperature
- 1 tspn vanilla extract
Gently warm the 3/4 cup milk in a saucepan. Place 1/4 cup in a bowl and sprinkle over the yeast sachet and a pinch of sugar. Let it stand for 5 minutes until the yeast froths.
Stir in 3 tablespoons of the measured flour to make a sticky dough. Cover and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes. It should double in size.
Beat the 3 eggs together with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. In a separate bowl mix together the remaining flour, sugar and salt in a large wide bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the milk/butter mixture and the beaten eggs/vanilla as well as the risen yeast dough. Work together with your hands.
The dough should take a couple of minutes to form a smooth silky dough. If it is too sticky keep adding flour a tablespoon at a time until it is soft and pliable. Knead the dough for five minutes. You can mix this dough in a mixer if you wish, but there is nothing quite like the feeling of silky soft dough (meanwhile my Kitchenaid Mixer is sulking in the corner).
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn over the dough so that the top is also covered in oil. Cover the top of the bowl with cling wrap and set aside in a warm place until the dough doubles in size (about 40 minutes).
- 2 oz (57g or 4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 200+ grams of quality dark chocolate (be generous)
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1/2 tblsp ground cinnamon
To create the filling, melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler (if you have one) and take off the heat. Stir until there are no lumps and set aside to cool. In another bowl stir the sugar and cinnamon together and set aside.
When the dough is ready, divide it into two pieces and roll out one at a time on a lightly floured surface. Roll out each piece to form a 20 x 30 cm rectangle. If you don’t have room on your bench to do both at the same time, you can do it separately.
Spread half the chocolate on the dough and sprinkle on the sugar and cinnamon. Repeat for the other dough. Roll up the dough in to a log starting on the long side.
Lift it gently and place it in the kuglof tin and pinch the ends together to seal. Stack the second roll on top, forming two rings. Overlap the ends of the log and tuck under. Set aside in a warm place until the dough has risen (30 to 45 minutes).
While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F. Bake for about 35 to 45 minutes, until it has risen and has browned on top. Let it cool completely in the tin before removing. Sprinkle with icing sugar and devour!
If you can’t be bothered to make this yourself, if you are ever in Sydney, Australia, you can buy one at Wellington Cake Shop, Bondi Road, Bondi. It’s amazing! Dare I even suggest that their kugelhupf is even better than my Dad’s?