Germans and their “Frankfurter Kranz”
Germans are very proud of their traditional cakes. So much so, that they have guidelines and laws to ensure that the quality and integrity of these are guaranteed.
The guidelines for marking and identifying foods is written down in the German Food Book (Deutsches Lebensmittelbuch) which contains all the guidelines. There are different categories and one of them is bakery goods, where you find the guidelines for traditional German cakes.
One great example would be the “Frankfurter Kranz” (Frankfurter Crown Cake). It has to be made from either sponge cake, Viennese, or Sand mass. The cake has to be cut horizontally, filled with buttercream between the layers and the outside of the wreath-shaped cake should also be covered with the cream. All of this is then covered with either hazelnut, almond or walnut brittle. The Buttercream has to be made with at least 20% butter. It needs to be marked if the confectioner uses margarine instead of butter and the Cake cannot be called a “Frankfurter Kranz” if anything is changed because then it does not fit the criteria.
The “Frankfurter Kranz” (Frankfurter Crown Cake) is supposed to represent the crown of the German emperor whose coronation site was located in Frankfurt and was first documented at around 1735. It is usually ornamented with decorative cherries on top to represent the rubies of the crown.
It is seen as one of the most well-known cakes in Germany and enjoyed by almost every generation. Over time, it was modified to look and taste better by adding red marmalade to it. The most common ones used are raspberry and cranberry, as it is a nice contrast to the sweet taste of the cake.
I would like to share my favourite recipe, that has been tested and approved by many grandmothers and housewives.
- 1 (3 oz) package vanilla pudding
- 400 ml (16 fl oz) milk
- 40 g (2.8 oz) sugar
- 200 g (7 oz) butter
- 300 g (10.5 oz) room temperature butter or margarine
- 200 g (7 oz) sugar
- 5 eggs (separated)
- 300 g (10.5 oz) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 150 g (5.3 oz) chopped hazelnuts
- 30 g (1 oz) butter
- 120 g (4.2 oz) sugar
- Start by preparing the vanilla pudding. Take a little bit from the milk and pour the rest in a pot and heat it up. Mix the vanilla pudding powder and sugar with the rest of the milk and stir until all the lumps are gone. Then add that to the warm milk and whisk it together.
- Let it bind together until it has a creamy texture and set it aside to cool down.
- Take the butter or margarine for the batter and put it into a bowl with half of the sugar and all of the vanilla extract. Whisk with a mixer until it looks foamy and add the egg yolk one by one.
- Beat the egg whites while pouring the other half of sugar in slowly until they make little mountains when removing the whisk.
- Add the egg whites, baking powder, and sieved flour to the butter mixture and mix it together softly and slow.
- Fill the baking tin with the batter and bake for 30 minutes at 180°C/350°F.
- Take the ingredients for the brittle and put the butter with the sugar in a pan. Let it melt on medium heat. Stir until the sugar has completely melted.
- Add the nuts, stir and remove from heat.
- Spread the nuts on an oiled cookie sheet and please don’t touch them with your hands, they are very hot. Let them cool down.
- Start beating the butter for the buttercream and add the cooled down pudding bit by bit until it is creamy.
- When the cake is done and cooled down, cut it horizontally into three layers.
- Spread the buttercream on the first layer, then add the marmalade (if you have some) and place the next cake layer on top. Repeat.
- Spread the rest of the buttercream on the cake and add the brittle all over the outside.