German Crown Cake (Frankfurter Kranz)

Frankfurter Kranz cake
hans/pixabay
Prep: 2 hrs
Cook: 30 mins
Cool Time: 4 hrs
Total: 6 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
422 Calories
20g Fat
58g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 422
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 10g 50%
Cholesterol 74mg 25%
Sodium 324mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 58g 21%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 44g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 2mg 8%
Calcium 41mg 3%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 110mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The German Frankfurter kranz has nothing to do with sausages. It is a cake developed by an unknown master baker in 1735. It symbolizes a crown with the golden croquant around the outside and the jewel-like cherries as decoration.

Frankfurt was seen as the crown city of the German Empire for many years, hence the name of this dessert.

Frankfurter Kranz takes a little time to make, but it's one of the easiest German cakes for a beginner.

Ingredients

For the Sponge Cake:

  • 2 large eggs, separated

  • 1 tablespoon cold water

  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or rum or butter flavoring

  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) all-purpose flour

  • 1/3 cup (40 grams) cornstarch, or potato starch

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

For the Croquant:

  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts, such as hazelnuts, almonds, or peanuts

  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) butter

  • 2/3 cup (120 grams) granulated sugar

For the Frosting:

  • 1 (3-ounce) package vanilla pudding, prepared and cooled

  • 10 tablespoons (140 grams ) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) granulated sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, or rum extract

  • 1/2 cup tart cherry jelly

  • 3 to 4 candied cherries

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this German dessert is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and baking.

Make the Sponge Cake

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large bowl, beat egg whites with water on medium speed until foamy. Increase to high speed and beat while adding the sugar a little at a time until the meringue is stiff and white, 4 to 5 minutes. Scrape the bowl as necessary.

  3. Remove the meringue to another bowl and add egg yolks to the mixing bowl. Beat on high until light yellow and fluffy. This should take about 3 to 5 minutes.

  4. Pour the egg yolks over the egg white meringue, add the vanilla and fold carefully a few times.

  5. Sift the flour, cornstarch, and baking powder over the egg mixture and continue to fold until all the flour is incorporated. Do not over mix.

  6. Butter the bottom, but not the sides, of a 3-cup pan. The most traditional form has a hole in the middle (an angel food cake pan or a springform pan with a special insert, but some people choose to bake this in a small loaf pan). Spoon the batter evenly into the pan and smooth the top.

  7. Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes or until set. Cool completely.

Make the Croquant

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Chop the nuts fine. Toast them in a 350 F oven for about 5 minutes. Or skip the toasting step and use them raw.

  3. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a pan and add the 2/3 cup sugar. Stir and cook over medium-high heat until the sugar begins to melt.

  4. Keep stirring until the sugar is melted completely and the sugar turns light brown.

  5. Add the nuts, stir, and remove from heat.

  6. Spread the candy on an oiled cookie sheet. Use only a spoon, not your hands, as the candy is very hot.

  7. Cool the candy, then chop into small pieces on a cutting board and store in an airtight container.

Make the Frosting

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Using the paddle attachment in a stand mixer, if possible, beat the 10 tablespoons softened butter, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, 5 to 10 minutes.

  3. Add the pudding, a spoonful at a time, stirring at medium speed after each addition until it is fully incorporated. Keep stirring for 5 to 10 minutes total, until the buttercream is completely smooth.

  4. It can be used immediately or refrigerated until use, although it might have to stand at room temperature again to be spreadable. See the section below on Buttercream Tips.

Frost and Decorate the Frankfurter Kranz

  1. Cut the cake horizontally into three pieces. Place the bottom layer on a cake rack over a cookie sheet.

  2. Spoon some tart, red jelly over the bottom layer, then some buttercream frosting about 1/4- inch thick.

  3. Place the middle layer on top of that and add another, thick layer of buttercream.

  4. Place the top layer on that and frost the sides and top of the cake thinly with the buttercream. Leave at least 1/2 cup of buttercream for the decorator bag.

  5. Sprinkle the top and sides of the cake with the croquant. Sometimes you can angle the cake up and press some of the candy onto the sides. Press in lightly to stick.

  6. Using a decorator bag and a star tip, pipe 10, small rosettes on top of the cake.

  7. Quarter the candied or maraschino cherries and place one piece on top of each rosette. Press lightly to stick.

  8. Transfer the cake to a cake stand. Serve the cake or chill until serving time.

Tips

  • The longer the cake sits, the more it will soak up the cream and jelly and the more moist it will be. Some people let it sit overnight before serving.
  • Butter and pudding must have the exact same temperature to start with or the butter will congeal in the pudding forming hard, little lumps and look grainy.
  • If this happens, you can heat the frosting gently over a hot water bath, stirring constantly with a whisk. This sometimes helps the butter melt into the pudding.
  • If you heat the ingredients too much, the butter could melt completely, making fatty puddles in the pudding. You will need to start over if this happens.
  • You can try a different buttercream frosting. This recipe describes a typical German buttercream. Italian buttercream does not need the ingredients to be room temperature and can be finished in about an hour, or French buttercream is another option.

All About Croquant

Croquant, or krokant in German, is a nut brittle made with chopped hazelnuts or almonds. It also can be made with any nuts you have on hand that you like including peanuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, or walnuts. The nuts can be raw or roasted. Usually, they are blanched and the skins removed.

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