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Frankfurter Kranz has been a staple of visits to my Grandmother’s house for as long as I can remember.

Actually, I think that my memory is exaggerating a little because it wants to remember more instances of encounters with this beautiful cake than there actually were. But if the tricks my mind plays on me are as delicious as this one I will gladly accept it and associate childhood visits to my Grandma with a cake she may have made only once or twice.

In actuality, I’m pretty sure she made Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cake) much more often, maybe because it’s a favorite of my Dad’s.

Anywho, I have always liked Frankfurter Kranz, be it due to fond memories or due to its superior taste. Frankfurter Kranz is elaborate and elegant but somehow homey at the same time, and a very traditional German coffee table staple.

When my grandparents visited my parents to celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary, I made a Frankfurter Kranz in their honor.

Instead of cocktail cherries, I decorated the buttercream rosettes on top with sugar diamonds, but other than that, this is the traditional recipe. I wasn’t entirely happy with the sponge and will probably look for a recipe that is less dense for my next Frankfurter Kranz (this recipe makes a sponge that is very true to its name). Other than that, the recipe is pretty much perfect.

 

Frankfurter Kranz

For the Sponge:
  • butter and flour for the pan
  • 4 whole Eggs, separated
  • 4 Tablespoons cold Water
  • ¾ cups plus 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tablespoon Rum
  • ⅔ cups Cornstarch
  • 1 cup Flour
  • 1 scant teaspoon Baking Powder
For the Buttercream:
  • 1-½ packages (1.3 Oz. size) Cook & Serve Pudding, Vanilla (unsweetened)
  • 3 cups Milk
  • ½ cups Sugar, plus extra to sprinkle on top of Pudding if needed
  • 3 sticks Butter
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tablespoon Rum
Filling and Decoration:
  • 6 Tablespoons Tart Cherry Jelly (or other tart red Jelly)
  • 1 cup Hazelnut Brittle (granules)
  • 14 pieces Cocktail Cherries

 

For the sponge:

The cake may be prepared a day in advance. It will be easier to cut the next day anyway.

Preheat oven to 390°F (200°C). Grease and flour a fluted tube pan (bundt pan, Kranzform).

Beat the egg whites with the cold water until foamy. While beating, slowly add sugar. Next, beat in the egg yolks, vanilla extract, and rum.

Sift together corn starch, flour, and baking powder. Slowly mix it into the egg batter with a spoon.

Ladle the batter into the cake pan and bake for 25 minutes. Leave it in the pan for 5-10 minutes. The cake will shrink the slightest bit and may then be easily removed from the pan.

It will look like a large donut—don’t worry, that’s what you’re looking for. The buttercream will add height to the cake.

Let the cake cool thoroughly before cutting it twice, lengthwise. The single layers will be about an inch thick.

 

For the buttercream:

It is important that butter and all of the other ingredients have the same temperature to prevent the buttercream from splitting, so take the butter out of the fridge right away.

In a medium saucepan, prepare the pudding with the milk and the sugar, according to the package instructions (if your pudding mix already contains sugar, merely add about 2 additional tablespoons sugar to the finished buttercream). Place the saucepan in a cold water bath and sprinkle the pudding’s surface with sugar to prevent a skin from forming (alternatively, press some cling film lightly against the pudding’s surface). Once cooled, stir the pudding until smooth. If there are any lumps, force it through a sieve.

Once the butter and the pudding are both at room temperature, whip the butter for about 15 minutes. When it has become white and fluffy, switch to the paddle attachment and add the pudding, about 2 tablespoons at a time, at low speed.

Once all the pudding has been incorporated, stir in the vanilla extract and rum.

 

To assemble the cake:

Spread the bottom cake layer with 3 tablespoons of jelly. Cover this with a little less than a third of the buttercream and carefully place the middle cake layer on top. Spread this layer with the rest of the jelly and another almost-third of the buttercream. Carefully put the top cake layer in place. Cover the cake with the remaining buttercream, reserving about 2/3 cup for decorating.

Cover the buttercream with the brittle on all sides.

Now pipe 14 dollops of buttercream all around the rim of the cake and top each one with a cocktail cherry.

The sugar crystals were my personal spin on this, because it was my grandparents’ diamond wedding anniversary.

Put in the fridge until ready to serve, but for at least three quarters of an hour until the buttercream firms up.

Don’t be like me and transport it by car before the buttercream has set properly. A big gloop of frosting pooling towards the center of the tube is yummy but doesn’t look very festive…

 

Done. Enjoy!

 

Tips:

  • If the buttercream should split, you can try heating (but not browning) a tablespoon of butter and quickly mixing it through the split buttercream.
  • There are many ways to cover a cake in hazelnut brittle granules. For the top, I just sprinkled the brittle on. For the outside, fill the palm of your hand with brittle and carefully pat it onto the buttercream, moving your brittle-filled palm from top to bottom. The middle of the cake is best covered by throwing the brittle onto the cake at an angle.
  • If you can’t find hazelnut brittle granules, you can also use almond slivers, coarsely ground hazelnuts, or maybe white chocolate shavings. Or you can make your own:
    • 2 tbsp. butter, 2/3 cup sugar, 3/4 cup nuts, chopped, blanched, and skins removed (typically hazelnuts, but you can use any nuts you like, raw or toasted)
    •  Oil a cookie sheet with canola oil and finely chop the nuts. Melt the butter in a medium frying pan and dissolve the sugar in it over medium high head. Stir continuously until the sugar turns light brown. Add in the nuts, stir, and remove from heat. Carefully spread the mixture on the prepared cookie sheet with a spoon and let cool. Chop it into small pieces. Done. Store the brittle in an airtight container.
  • The cake keeps well in the fridge for up to three days. I find it’s best on the second day.

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