A reader recently wrote into “Fork on the Road” asking:
“Have you read The Elegance of the Hedgehog? [In it] Renee’s friend, Manuela, makes her a cake called “Gloutof.” Can you tell me what a Gloutof is? I wanted to bake one for some reading friends. Cheers to you and your fabulous blog!” – Carole
Thanks so much for your question, Carole. It’s surprising how many people are interested in making “Gloutof.” My site receives numerous hits everyday from folks looking for the answer to this same question.
Yes, I did read The Elegance of the Hedgehog and truly enjoyed it. Though I know that the bestselling novel, written by Murielle Barbary and originally published in French, isn’t to everyone’s taste, I appreciate the insight it offers into the Parisian mindset (somewhat fatalistic, don’t you think?). And the characters, both young and old, are memorable. So are Manuela’s cakes.
As for a “Gloutof,” I did some research and have concluded that in going from French to English, something was “lost in translation.” I believe the cake that Renee raved about is actually called a “Kugelhopf” and its origins can be traced to Alsace where so many yummy baked goods have been created (it even has it’s own special turban-shaped pan). I’d love to visit this region at Christmas time as I’ve heard that the holiday markets and confections are spectacular.
There is a recipe for traditional, yeasted “Kugelhopf” in Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking; From My Home to Yours (this book is a treasure – I have a copy of it in each of my kitchens). From what I’ve read, it’s more like a brioche than a cake, light, golden, soft and bready. But, there’s a price to pay for something so special: the recipe in Greenspan’s book takes a minimum of seven hours to complete. But never fear! I found a recipe for a quick and easy Kugelhopf that uses 3 tablespoons of baking powder instead of yeast and is done in under an hour.
This “Quick Kugelhopf” (recipe below) is fresh tasting, Springy and delicious, though a little more like a coffee cake than a brioche. But with this kind of a shortcut, now you can finish your book and also have time to make that gorgeous cake for book group! Thanks again for your question, Carole and thank you Manuela for inspiring so much interest in a little known cake.
This recipe was originally published in Quick Breads: 63 Recipes for Bakers in a Hurry by Beatrice Ojakangas. The book is even a little smaller than a loaf of quick bread itself and fits easily on any baker’s bookshelf.
Makes one 10-inch tube cake.
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 cup golden raisins
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch fancy Bundt/tube pan.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and beat until light. In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add this mixture and the milk to the creamed mixture to make a smooth batter. Add the raisins, lemon rind, and vanilla. Turn it into the prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, then invert onto a rack. Dust with powdered sugar.