Tart Cherry, Candied Ginger and Chocolate Kugelhopf

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  8 to 10 servings
Prep Time:  30 minutes Resting and Rising Time:  3 hours Cook Time:  1 hour 5 minutes

Tart Cherry, Candied Ginger and Chocolate  Kugelhopf

Kugelhopf, a traditional Germanic sweet cross between a cake and a bread, gets a French accent in this version, which is made with a brioche-style dough.


1 (¼-ounce/7-gram) packet instant yeast or active dry yeast (about 2¼ teaspoons)

¼ cup warm water, between 85°F and 95°F (see Kitchen Tips)

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

4⅓ cups (589 grams) bread flour

¾ cup (153 grams) granulated sugar

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup almond unsweetened milk, room temperature

2 sticks (1 cup/227 grams/8 ounces/16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch pieces and refrigerated

¾ cup (about 90 grams) pitted dried tart cherries, cut in quarters

⅓ cup (about 65 grams) candied ginger, cut into ¼-inch dice

¾ cup (about 5 ounces/143 grams) dark chocolate chips or ¼-inch chunks

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


  1. Combine the water and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix at low speed for 8 to 10 seconds until the mixture is just combined. Let stand for 4 to 5 minutes, until the mixture is foamy and frothy and bubbly. 
  2. Meanwhile, combine the eggs and vanilla in a small bowl and whisk until incorporated.
  3. Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl or on a piece of parchment paper.
  4. Add about half the flour mixture to the stand mixer and mix at low speed until combined. Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the mixer bowl and the paddle. Switch to a dough hook.
  5. Add the milk and mix at low to medium-low speed until fully incorporated. Add about half the remaining flour mixture and mix at low speed until fully incorporated. Add the egg mixture and mix at low speed for until fully incorporated.  Add the remaining flour mixture and mix at low speed until completely combined. 
  6. With the mixer at medium-low speed, add the butter, piece by piece, allowing each piece to be incorporated before adding the next. This will take about 11 to 12 minutes. The dough will become slack, thinner, and much softer. 
  7. Add the dried cherries, candied ginger and chocolate and knead at medium to medium-low speed for another 2 to 3 minutes. Scoop the dough into a lightly oiled large mixing bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Set aside and allow to rise for 2 to 2¼ hours, until it is about 1½ times the original size.
  8. Spray a kugelhopf pan or a (12-cup) bundt pan with nonstick baking spray . Scoop the dough into the pan, cover with a kitchen towel, and set aside for 30 to 45 minutes until it is about three-fourths of the way up the pan.
  9. Fifteen minutes before you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes, until it has puffed up to the top, is a rich, warm brown in color, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into it reads 205°F. Remove from the oven, gently turn out the cake onto a cooling rack (see Kitchen Tips) and allow to cool completely before serving. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. This cake will keep well wrapped, for 2 to 3 days.

Kitchen Tips

  1. The dough in this recipe requires some intense kneading, and is best made with a stand mixer.
  2. Yeast is a little living creature, and it needs special handling. You need warm water to activate it—between 85°F and 95°F—but if the water is too warm, you’ll kill it and it simply won’t work at all.
  3. Place a cooling rack or plate on top of the cake pan, holding it firmly with one hand. Slide your other hand under the bottom of the pan  (with an oven mitt if necessary) and press firmly. Turn the whole thing over quickly, still holding firmly with both hands, so that the bottom of the pan faces up and let gravity and the nonstick vegetable oil spray do their work. Tap lightly if necessary to release the cake.

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