Croatian Christmas Bundt Cake (Božićni Kuglof)

This cake is perfect for any Sunday family dinner. Although usually made during the Holiday season no one is going to complain if they have a bite or two in the off season. The addition of the apple makes this bundt cake a bit better than the others. Unless you’re a weirdo who’s into dry bundt cakes.

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The combination of nuts and dried fruits I use in this recipe works very well to create a balanced flavor and texture. It received five star rating across the board with all the testers who got to sample it.

Croatian Christmas Bundt Cake cross cut so inside and outside of the cake is visible
Inspiration to get your mouth watery

Traditional Croatian recipe (the way grandma used to make it) has raisins (but who really likes raisins? Zvonimir raises hand, alone.) and arancini. Arancini denominates two different foods, one is what you easily find when you Google it, the other one is what I actually mean here. A dried orange peel covered in sugar, traditional Croatian dessert from the coastal region. Why can’t they just pick an original name? Sigh…

As fun as it would be to rant about language and baking history, you’re here to get your hands dusted into sweet, sweet…

Tools you need

  • Bundt cake pan because you’re making a bundt cake and, well, that’s what you make bundt cakes in 🙂
  • Mixing bowls. Before you can put the ingredients into the bundt cake pan, you need to mix them somewhere. Mixing bowls to the rescue!
    Make sure bowls you use are adequately sized. There are few things worse than overflowing bowls.
  • Measuring spoons to, you know, measure things with them
  • Kitchen scale because baking is a fine art and perfection is a little bit more reachable when you quantify things
  • Peeler to peel the apple
  • Grater because it’s one letter away from being great, and you also need it to grate the apple
  • Spatula makes mixing things into other things easier
  • Electric mixer. Mixing is great and all, but doing it by hand can get exhausting. Sometimes you can outsource that work to a family member. Other times you need a bit more power.
  • Kitchen mittens. Things get hot in the oven. ‘Nuff said.

Ingredients

Servings: 6 people

  • 2 tablespoons rum
  • 50 g dried cranberries
  • 50 g thinly sliced almonds
  • 50 g coarsely cut walnuts
  • 1 peeled, grated apple
  • 150 g brown sugar
  • 1 package (9 g) vanilla sugar
  • 110 g all purpose flour (unbleached)
  • 50 g cornstarch
  • 1 package (14 g) baking powder
  • 90 g melted unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • powdered sugar for coating
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 °C (340 °F)
  2. Soak dried cranberries in rum until soft
  3. Mix flour and cornstarch with baking flour and spices (nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and cloves)
  4. In a separate bowl mix eggs with both sugars until foamy
  5. Into eggs and sugar mixture mix in with spatula
    • Dried cranberries with rum
    • Apple
    • Almonds
    • Walnuts
    • Flower mixture and melted butter at the end
  6. Mix well until compact
  7. Oil or butter bundt pan and dust with flour
  8. Bake for 45 min until golden brown. Pro tip: pick with a toothpick and if nothing sticks, you’re golden.
  9. Leave the cake in the pan until it cools
  10. Take the cake out of the bundt pan and dust it with powdered sugar

Wrapping up

If you’re the adventure type who likes to stray from a beaten path, test it with any other nuts or dried fruit as you desire or have available in your pantry.

Let me know in the comments which combinations worked well for you and share this on social media.

Croatian Chicken Paprikash

Hungarians once ruled Slavonia, eastern continental part of Croatia. They must have had a great taste in food because you can still see their influence in Slavonia’s cuisine. Using liberal amounts of paprika and garlic, the cuisine is spicier than anywhere in Croatia. Also, if you want to make this dish really authentic, shop for a good, heavy cauldron and use open fire. It can make a great camping dish. Be responsible with fire.

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Chicken Paprikash is one of the most prepared stews in Croatia, along with two other spicy stews, Fish Paprikash and Čobanac. You should try them all when you get the chance. But first thing first…

Tools you need

  • Chef’s knife to cut all the vegetables
  • Large pot, about three liters or more to fit all the ingredients
  • Cutting board to, yes, cut things on it 🙂
  • Ladle to scoop the paprikash out of the pot and onto the plate once it’s ready
  • Peeler to peel the carrots
  • Measuring spoons if you’re a perfectionist and don’t want to guesstimate the spices 😉

Ingredients

Servings: 4-6 people

  • 1 kg chicken piece (breasts, back… with bones and skin)
  • 2 large onions, finely minced
  • 3 large red peppers
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons of oil
  • 3 teaspoons sweet ground paprika (red, dry)
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon chilli or hot paprika
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 200 ml white wine
  • 300 ml water or chicken broth
  • Vegeta seasoning to taste (usually from half a teaspoon to a tablespoon or more)
    You’ll find Vegeta seasoning often in Croatian recipes, especially stews and soups. It gives them a distinctive aroma that’s hard to replicate without it. It contains a mix of finely cut dried vegetables and spices. It’s also salty so you may want to put it in and give it a taste before adding salt.

Croatian Chicken Paprikash

There are many variation of this stew in Croatia. In Zagreb area instead of serving it with pasta, people add potatoes or home-made dumplings. But in Slavonia, they make it spicy and serve with noodles.

Preparation

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot.
  2. Add 2 large onions finely minced and sauté them until they are soft and transparent.
  3. Add chopped red peppers and carrots cut into slices.
  4. Chop the chicken into small pieces. Add chicken pieces and sauté it until the meat is white.
  5. Add wine and sauté it for 5 more minutes.
  6. Spice the stew with sweet and hot paprika, salt and pepper. The spicier, the better!
  7. Add water or chicken broth to cover the chicken.
  8. Cook for 50 minutes or until chicken is soft on low heat.

Serve with noodles or mashed potatoes!
As a salad, we recommend pickled red beet 🙂

Enjoy!

Bazlamača – Croatian Sweet Cornbread

Old fashion, almost forgotten Croatian sweet cornbread was a typical Croatian breakfast over the centuries 🙂

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Croatian Northwest cuisine is based on breads, especially corn breads and all related dishes. This cake makes a great breakfast, which you can compliment with jam or fruit. Yum!

Bazlamača - Croatian Sweet Cornbread

Tools you need

  • Mixing bowls. Before you can put the ingredients into the baking sheet, you need to mix them somewhere. Mixing bowls to the rescue!
    Make sure bowls you use are adequately sized. There are few things worse than overflowing bowls.
  • Baking sheets come in different shapes and sizes and it’s good to have a variety available in your kitchen. I used 46 x 33 cm baking sheet which works very nicely with these amounts of ingredients.
  • Kitchen scale because baking is a fine art and perfection is a little bit more reachable when you quantify things
  • Turner spatula like the one in the photo above. You can eat with your hands if you can’t help yourself but it makes plating a lot easier, especially while Bazlamača is still hot
  • Kitchen mittens. Things get hot in the oven. Burns hurt and take time to heal. You don’t want to take time off from baking, do you?

Ingredients

Servings: 6-8 people

  • 250 g cottage cheese
  • 75 g sugar
  • 0.5 l of milk
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 0.5 l of sour cream
  • 150 g of corn flour
  • 150 g all purpose flour
  • 20 g baking powder

The traditional Croatian recipe (the way grandma used to make it) has much larger measurements since in the old days families were larger. But that’s another topic entirely 🙂

Preparation

  1. Mix both flours with salt and baking powder.
  2. In another bowl mix cottage cheese well with milk, sour cream, sugar, salt and eggs.
  3. Combine the two mixtures and mix until you get a smooth, medium thick batter.
  4. Grease the baking sheet. Pour the batter in and bake at 180 °C until golden brown.
  5. When the cake is done, allow it to cool slightly and cut as desired. Cake’s surface can additionally be sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Wrapping up

I like topping it off with different jams. Other options are honey, custard, maple syrup…

What do you think this would go well with?

Tell us in the comments bellow.