It’s time for European Cakes week of my GBBO challenge! Yay! And I made this fig and orange kugelhopf! A kugelhopf, or gugelhupf, is a yeast leavened cake usually filled with soaked dried fruit such as raisins or dates. I think it is Austrian, but also native to Germany and Hungary and it’s what inspired the American favourite – the bundt cake! I know what you’re probably thinking – but Michelle, why is the Great British Bake Off doing a European Cakes week? Isn’t that a bit redundant considering Britain is in Europe? Well, maybe. But one thing you should probably know about us Brits is we don’t really consider ourselves real Europe (I think some Brits like to think of us as our own continent sometimes!). Taking a day trip to France? You’re not just going to a neighbouring country, you’re going to “the continent” – it’s like we’re a little village on the outside of a big city! So when you hear Brits talking about “Europe” we most likely mean any European country that isn’t part of our Islands!
This cake was a bit of a challenge for me! This is my first time using yeast to leaven a cake and let me tell you, it’s made me appreciate baking powder a lot more! But this is the way they used to make cakes rise before such wonderful things like baking powder were invented, and Europe sure does love it’s traditions! My first attempt was a big failure, my dough just didn’t rise at all – I baked it anyway though to test the flavours and I ended up with a very dense, malt loaf kind of texture. The flavours were great though so at least I knew I had that part sussed. My mum, however, loved it and she ate almost the whole thing! Which was a little weird, but at least it didn’t go to waste! For my second attempt I tackled it from a different, more cake like way as the first time I treated it like a bread dough and mixed the ingredients as such. And it came out great!
As you might imagine, this cake has more of a fruit bread texture than a cake texture, but it is very light. It’s great eaten warm, fresh from the oven and would be yummy with afternoon tea. It’s also wonderful toasted and eaten for breakfast, it would be amazing with my cinnamon honey butter generously spread on it. This kugelhopf is stuffed full of orange zest and dried figs, the dried figs were soaked in orange juice and spiced rum overnight. I then saved the liquid from that to make a honeyed syrup that I cooked fresh figs and orange segments in to decorate the top, and poured the syrup over the warm cake. There were so many warm, yummy flavours coming from this cake – it’s a definite winner. It’s a bit of long winded process to make this cake but I think it’s worth it, you can however speed up the process a little and I’ll explain how in the notes after the recipe.
I had a lot of fun decorating this one. To bake this cake you need a Kugelhopf Tin or a regular bundt will do, that you generously grease making sure every nook is covered. Most people would then place flaked or whole almonds in the grooves at the bottom of the pan so they bake into the top of the cake, I decided to coat the entire pan in flaked almonds. It took more time than I’m willing to admit, but I think you’ll agree the end result was worth it!
The Great British Bake Off is coming to an end 🙁 The semi-final is on Wednesday and my favourite got kicked off this week, so extra sad face! There’s still a few more GBBO challenge posts to come from yours truly though, as European Cakes week is only Week 6 (there’s 10 weeks in total), I’m a bit behind! But I already have week 7 baked and week 8 & 9 planned so I’m getting there! I’ll be very sad to see it go as always, but it’ll be back again before we know it. And who knows, maybe I’ll get the guts to apply for next year!
I’m bringing this cake along to Fiesta Friday this week, I do hope those partiers enjoy a good old fashioned European cake! If you’ve not joined us before, do come and party, it’s always a great time!
And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Bloglovin’, I would love to see y’all all over my social media feeds!
- 200ml milk
- 85g caster sugar
- 85g unsalted butter, softened
- 400g plain flour
- 3 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 oranges, zest and juice
- 12g dried yeast
- 2 large eggs
- 175g dried figs
- 60ml spiced rum
- Flaked almonds for decorating(optional)
- 120g unsalted butter
- 240g clear honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- The liquid from soaking the figs
- 2 fresh figs, quartered
- 1 orange, sliced segments
- Roughly chop the dried figs and place in a bowl with the juice from the oranges and the spiced rum. Leave to soak overnight or at least a few hours.
- Warm the milk and 25ml water until lukewarm (in microwave or over stove).
- Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the flour, cinnamon, orange zest and and yeast (making sure the yeast and salt don't touch) and stir in.
- Add the warm milk mixture and the eggs, slowly beat together in your mixer until it comes together. Then increase speed and medium and beat for 5 minutes. The dough will be sticky and very stretchy.
- Turn the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover and leave to rise for 1-1.5 hours, until doubled in size.
- Grease your tin and decorate with almonds if using, a few just along the bottom is great too!
- Drain the dried figs, saving the liquid, and fold them into the risen dough. Pour the dough into your tin and cover. Leave to rise in the fridge overnight.
- Preheat your oven to 190C/375F. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.
- Meanwhile, make your honeyed figs and orange segments. Melt 40g of the butter in a large frying pan, add the liquid from soaking the figs, cinnamon, vanilla, honey and 60ml water. Bring to the boil over a medium heat.
- Stir in the figs and orange segments and reduce heat to medium. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Remove cake from the oven and cool in tin for 5 minutes. Then turn out onto serving platter. Use a skewer to poke a few holes in the cake and spoon the honey syrup over the cake.
- Decorate the top of the cake with figs and orange segments and pour more syrup over the top and serve.
- A slower proving in the fridge overnight gives this cake a really nice, light texture. But you could also do it in a warm place for an hour or two, until doubled in size, if you'd like to quicken the process
- Keeps for 5 days in an airtight container in fridge.
- If you want to make the cake alcohol free, replace the spiced rum with more orange juice and add a little cinnamon and nutmeg to the mixture
Michelle! You are amazing! Your baking and your pictures are just “WOW!!!” You are very gifted my friend!
Thank you Lori, you’re so sweet! x
Wow, Michelle, that is a glorious cake!! Love the studded almonds, the spices, the fruits on top! Really gorgeous!
Thank you so much 😀 x
wow that looks amazing i adore figs but i would certainly make a mess of trying to cook that :)x
Thank you Justine! It’s actually not that hard (despite my failed first attempt), you just need patience – which is why I won’t be switching to yeast to leaven all my cakes haha
Just beautiful and very tasty. I am waiting for figs to hurry up and grow on my fig tree. This is a perfect recipe for my figs~ great pictures!! Happy FF!
Thank you Lisa!1 I’m so jealous that you have a fig tree! Happy FF 🙂
Michelle, this cake is absolutely gorgeous!!!! Oh my goodness, it’s breathtaking! That fruit topping is incredible! And I learned a lot about “you brits” and the way you view the rest of Europe. I had no idea!
Thank you so much Lina, you’re too kind! Yep, I don’t think it’s something most of us do consciously, it’s probably because we’re our own little island? Who knows! I would love to hear other Brits’ views on this though!
What a wonderful cake! I love that it’s different from anything I’ve ever made!
Thank you Sarah. Same here, it was a lot of fun making something completely foreign to me!
What a pretty dessert!
Thank you Nancy!
That looks delicious. I like cakes made with yeast, and avoid bp whenever I can as I don’t like the taste. Figs and orange just make a good thing better!
This is the first time I’ve used yeast in a cake, I definitely like the ease of baking powder but the yeast does make a great difference! Thanks Hilda 🙂
How absolutely divine! Love the cake and all those luscious flavors going on.
Thank you Loretta! x
Happy Fiesta Friday, Michelle! Oh wow… you really did this one up so beautifully! This cake is not only pretty…but it sounds so delicious. A perfect sweet treat to bring to our table this week! I just heard about the bake-off through Elaine from Foodbod… and it sounds like such a fun show! Thanks so much for sharing… awesome post. Gorgeous photos… wonderful recipe! <3
Thank you so much Prudy, you’re too kind! x
Looks SO pretty, moist, and tasty! I have a greater appreciation for baking powder now too 🙂
Thank you Josette! 😀
Looks amazing!! I love the idea of a yeasted cake – and I’m NUTS for figs!!!
Thank you Claudia! Me too, I love September because it means I can actually get fresh figs!
I absolutely love the presentation, and bright colors on top! I’m sorry to hear GBBO is coming to an end as I’ve loved all these blog posts too. 🙂 Thanks for bringing these to the party, and happy FF!
Thank you Kaila! 🙂
This looks amazing! I love leavened cakes, the yeast just adds another dimension to it. I have a recipe for a French Gugelhopf, which takes ages to rise but is just the yummiest bread/cake ever: http://gingerandbread.com/2014/06/15/france-kouglof-or-gugelhupf-3/
Loved your comments about ‘Europe’, btw 🙂 In the 1960s the Sun apparently run the headline “Fog chaos in the channel – ferries suspended – continent isolated’. Says it all, really.
Thank you Ginger! I just checked out your French Gugelhopf, it looks really yummy! I’m definitely going to be trying out more yeast leavened cakes in the future!
Haha I love that Sun headline, I could imagine they’d say the same thing today!
Wow Michelle, this Kugelhopf looks amazing! And with all the fruits on top – I’d love to have a piece please! Yum! 😉
Thank you Sylvia! Dig in! 😉
Another work of art! Your Kugelhopf looks so moist, and the fig and orange combination has to be delicious!
Thank you so much Julie 🙂
Gorgeous as usual!
This looks lovely. Nice pictures and I LOVE FIGS ! And the flaked almonds are a big plus for me 🙂 thanks for sharing! Happy FF!
Thank you Mandi! I love figs too, it’s another reason I love autumn! Happy FF to you too
Looks terrific< Michelle! Another great dessert! 😉
Thank you Mila! x
So beautiful love the combination of fig and orange and you nailed it, a kugelhopf can be tricky. Looks perfect!!
Aww thank you Suzanne 🙂
Looks so good!
What a gorgeous cake! The fig and the rum sounds absolutely delish! 🙂 Am having a slice of that please 🙂
Thank you Petra 😀
Oh Michelle! It looks amazing, again!
This kugelhopf looks so so good and so so beautiful!
Thank you Sarah!! x
Gorgeous pics! This looks like a real showstopper. Pinning for later 🙂
Thank you so much Nicky! xx