Holiday Baking

Around The World

Inspired by Vienna’s cafés.


By JACQUELINE MALLORCA
Photos by MICHAEL GRASSIA

COLD WEATHER is fast approaching, and family and friends will soon be gathering for year-end celebrations.

Of course, no holiday feast is complete without a special dessert or two. These might be tried-and-true classics like pumpkin pie or pecan pie. Then again, it could be time to start a new tradition and put a sweet surprise on the table that originated in old-world Vienna.

Happily for us, many of the legendary desserts still served in elegant Viennese coffee houses and private homes can be successfully tweaked to make them gluten free.

These include—but are by no means limited to—a marbled kugelhopf baked in a fluted “Turkish turban” mold, a delicate white cheese torte, an addictive raisin and lemon loaf cake, and an over-the-top chocolate Sachertorte.

Any one of them is sure to add sparkle to your holiday baking repertoire. Guten appetit!

Marbled Kugelhopf

SERVES 10

Any cake baked in a fluted metal kugelhopf pan is still a kugelhopf, though today it’s more commonly used for baking a yeast-raised, lightly sweetened breakfast bread.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon melted butter for mold
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) brown rice flour, plus extra for mold
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) potato starch
  • ¼ cup (1¼ ounces) tapioca starch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Hershey’s
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1¼ sticks (5 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ (5¾ ounces) cup white sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • Zest of 1 small orange, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (4 fluid ounces) milk
  • Confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  • Heat the oven to 350° F.
  • Brush a 9-inch kugelhopf mold (or Bundt pan) with the melted butter and dust with rice flour, knocking out any excess. This ensures a smooth surface and easy removal of the baked cake; baking spray is not recommended here.
  • Sift the rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch and baking powder together and set aside. Blend the cocoa with the water and reserve.
  • Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, orange zest and vanilla, and beat until smooth, Fold in the milk and half of the flour mix alternately, in two or three batches.
  • In a separate bowl and using clean, dry beaters, whisk the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold in the egg whites alternately with the remaining flour to make a smooth mixture.
  • Spoon two-thirds of the batter into the mold. Add the cocoa mixture to the remaining batter and mix well. Add on top of the batter already in the mold. Slide a knife blade through the chocolate batter to spread it slightly.
  • Bake for about 50 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Loosen the edges gently with a knife blade and jiggle the pan to make sure the cake is loose. Unmold onto a rack and let cool completely.
  • Sift a little confectioners’ sugar on top before serving.
  • Nutritional Analysis: 300 cal, 15 g fat, 90 mg chol, 30 mg sodium, 39 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 16 g sugar, 4 g protein.

Raisin and Lemon Cake

SERVES 10

This fine-textured Viennese loaf cake keeps well for a few days at room temperature or may be frozen. Perfect with coffee, tea or ice cream!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (4 ounces) brown rice flour
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) potato starch
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) tapioca starch
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ cup (3½ ounces) golden raisins
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup (5¾ ounces) white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
  • ½ cup (4 ounces) milk

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease the short sides of an 8½ x 4½-inch loaf pan and line the long sides and base with a sheet of baking parchment.
  • Blend the rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, salt and baking powder, and set aside. Mix the raisins with 1 tablespoon of the flour mix and reserve.
  • Combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla and lemon zest. Fold in the raisins. Fold in the flour mix in three batches, alternating with the milk, to make a smooth batter.
  • Transfer the batter to the loaf pan, pushing it into the corners and smoothing the top. Cut a slit along the center to minimize splitting. Bake for about 50 minutes until golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Leave in the pan for 10 minutes before unmolding onto a wire rack. Peel off the baking parchment and let cool completely.
  • Variation: To glaze the cake, combine about ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and mix well to form a runny frosting. Pour over the cake, letting it drip down the sides, and let stand until set.

Nutritional Analysis: 290 cal, 11 g fat, 60 mg chol, 90 mg sodium, 46 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 25 g sugar, 3 g protein.

Viennese-Style Chocolate Torte

SERVES 10 TO 12

This cake is best baked ahead. Let it sit overnight so it can firm up a little before you frost it.

CAKE

Ingredients

  • Butter for baking pan
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) finely ground blanched almond meal/flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons potato starch
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 ounces 60% dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1¼ sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, cut in large dice
  • 2 tablespoons Amaretto or brandy
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • ¾ cup (5¾ ounces) white sugar, divided

GLAZE AND OPTIONAL DECORATION

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces apricot jam, melted and strained
  • ½ cup (4 fluid ounces) heavy cream
  • ¼ stick (1 ounce) unsalted butter
  • 5 ounces 60% dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • Sliced blanched almonds, lightly toasted, optional

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 375° F. Butter the sides of a 9-inch round cake pan. Line the base with baking parchment and butter that, too.
  • Blend the almond meal, rice flour, cocoa, potato starch and salt, and set aside.
  • Combine the chocolate and butter in a bowl, and melt over hot water. Stir to combine. Add the brandy and almond extract and reserve. Let cool to tepid.
  • In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with half the sugar until lemon colored. Beat in the reserved chocolate-butter mixture.
  • In a separate bowl and using clean, dry beaters, whisk the egg whites until stiffened. Slowly add the remaining sugar and beat at high speed until stiff but not dry.
  • Using a rubber spatula, stir one-third of the beaten egg whites into the melted chocolate mixture to loosen it. Fold in the flour mixture alternately with the remaining beaten egg whites to make a light batter without any streaks. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 30 minutes. An inserted toothpick should come out almost dry nearer the edges but moist at the center.
  • Place the pan on a rack and let the cake cool completely. Don’t worry if a crisp “sugar bloom” has formed. Loosen the edges of the cake with a sharp knife.
  • Invert onto the rack and peel off the paper. The sugar bloom will meld back in. Leave the cake smooth side up and let stand overnight under a cake dome or upturned bowl so the texture can even out.
  • Place a large sheet of foil on a work surface and center an upturned 8-inch cake pan on it. The foil will catch any spills. Place the cake on top. Pour the warm jam on top. Smooth with an offset spatula or a knife blade so it evenly covers the top and sides. Let stand for 1 hour to set.

CHOCOLATE GLAZE

  • Heat the cream and butter in a small pan just until tiny bubbles form around the edges. Add the chocolate and remove from the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes to melt, then stir well to combine. Let cool until thickened but still pourable.
  • Starting at the center, spiral over the cake, adding extra at the edges so it will spill over. Using a knife blade, smooth the sides, but try not to touch the top.
  • Refrigerate to set, then carefully transfer to a flat platter. Apply the sliced almonds to the sides if using; they will stick to the glaze. Chill until ready to serve. Cut with a warmed knife.

Nutritional Analysis: 460 cal, 32 g fat, 120 mg chol, 60 mg sodium, 42 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 31 g sugar, 6 g protein.

White Cheese Torte

SERVES 10

Adapted from a recipe in Lilly Joss Reich’s timeless Viennese Pastry Cookbook, first published in 1970, the only “flour” in this cake is almond meal. Rather like cheesecake but with a tad more structure, it’s best served on the day it’s made.

Ingredients

  • Butter for cake pan
  • 3 ounces fresh white goat cheese
  • 2¼ cups (5 ounces) finely ground blanched almond flour/meal
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cup (5 ounces) white sugar 3
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • Zest of 1 small orange, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Chopped crystallized orange peel, optional

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease the sides of a 9-inch round cake pan with butter. Line the base with baking parchment and butter that.
  • Push the goat cheese through a potato ricer or coarse sieve and set aside. Shake the almond flour through a coarse sieve to eliminate any clumps and reserve.
  • In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one by one, beating well after each addition. Add the orange zest, vanilla, goat cheese and milk, and blend well.
  • In a separate bowl and using clean, dry beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold into the mixture alternately with the almond flour.
  • Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes, until brown dapples start appearing. An inserted toothpick should come out slightly moist. Leave in the pan for 5 minutes before unmolding onto a rack. Gently peel off the baking parchment and let cool right side up. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and, if using, add a rim of chopped crystallized orange peel before serving.

Nutritional Analysis: 350 cal, 27 g fat, 110 mg chol, 75 mg sodium, 20 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 15 g sugar, 10 g protein.

Recipes © copyright 2016 by Jacqueline Mallorca. The author of more than a dozen cookbooks to date, GFL Contributing Food Editor Jackie Mallorca’s most recent titles include The Wheat-Free Cook and Gluten-Free Italian.