Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

Gugelhupf (also written Kugelhupf and, in France, kouglof, kougelhof, or kougelhopf) is a light, mildly sweet cake traditionally leavened with yeast and baked in a distinctive sculptural mold made of glazed earthenware, but also of metal (tin or copper), and even bronze or cast iron. The cake is popular throughout a wide swath of Europe encompassing eastern France (Alsace in particular), South Germany, Switzerland, Poland, and regions formerly within the boundaries of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It is also a traditional cake among the Pennsylvania Dutch, who refer to it as Deitscher Kuche (Dutch Cake). The old South German name consists of two words: Gugel, which derives from Latin cucullus (hood or bonnet), and Hupf, literally a hop or jump. Etymologists differ about the word’s origin. The name of the cake may refer to a dance in which it was once a key feature. The Brothers Grimm wrote that the “hupf” may refer to the leap in dough volume caused by the yeast, though that is likely just a popular folk etymology.