There is no room for doubt that bundt cake entered the history of gastronomy as a status symbol of the kitchens of the middle class at the turn of the 19th – 20th century. Archaeological findings attest that in the area of the former Pannonia the Roman legionnaires already used a dish, which resembled to today’s bundt cake pans. However, the first real bundt cake recipe has come down to us from the 17th century. Its days of glory were in the era of Biedermeier in the 19th century, when it was very popular in the upper midddle class.
Bundt cake is an emblematic dessert primarily in the German and French speaking areas, and nothing can prove it better than the birth of this cake has become part of the legendry. French believe that the Three Kings on their way to Betlehem stayed in Alsace and as a token of their gratitude they gifted a turban-shaped cake to their hosts, which was nothing else than a bundt cake. Conversly, Austrians insist on that it was Marie-Antoinette, the French queen consort, who took the recipe of Gugelhupf from Vienna to Versailles.
In Hungary the name of bundt cake is kuglóf, which comes from the German Gugelhupf. According to the original recipe Gugelhupf consists of a sweet yeast dough, which contains raisins, almonds and cherry brandy, baked in a special fluted pan with a central tube. Kuglóf was originally made only with yeast dough, but in our days dough with baking powder is also often baked in a bundt cake pan. This is the reason why bundt cakes do not generally conform to any single recipe; when you hear the word bundt cake, you associate it with its shape, which is its characterizing feature.
- 500 g (~4 cups) flour
- 100 g (~3/4 cup) powdered sugar
- 25 g (~3/4 oz) fresh yeast (2 1/2 tsp dry yeast)
- 400 ml (~1 3/4 cup) lukewarm milk
- 4 egg yolks
- 100 g (~1/2 cup) butter, soft
- pinch of salt
- seeds of a vanilla bean
- 100 g (~2/3 cup) raisins
- butter + bread crumbs for greasing the pan
Plump up raisins in warm water. Let them steep for 15-20 minutes, then drain them thoroughly.
Dissolve yeast with one teaspoon of sugar in 100 ml / 1/2 cup of lukewarm milk.
Butter a 25 cm / 10 inch bundt pan and sprinkle with bread crumbs.
Whisk softened butter with the egg yolks and powdered sugar. Add vanilla seeds and the activated yeast, sift in the flour and lastly pour in the remaining quantity of milk. With a hand mixer knead until the dough is well combined and blisters. The last step is to add the drained raisins. Spread the dough evenly in the pan, cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place for 50-60 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 356°F and bake the bundt cake for 50 minutes until a long skewer comes out clean.
Turn out the cake and let it cool on a wire rack.