April 21, 2011 § 6 Comments

At long last…a Gugelhupf recipe! Or, more specifically, the Marmorgugelhupf (Marmor means marbled in German, so marbled Gugelhupf) recipe that I treasure not only for its heavenly taste but also because it was probably the first cake I ever baked entirely from scratch.

I first encountered this wonderful cake back when I did study abroad as a German major in Austria. I stayed with some family friends in a little town outside Vienna, and I had a wonderful time, trying all the delicious Austrian foods (Schnitzel! Wienerwurst! Sachertorte!) as well as seeing the fabulous museums, churches, and other sites such as the famous Tiergarten. (Oh, and I went to class too.)

While I was there my host mom, who is an excellent cook, gave me this recipe for Gugelhupf that she got from the cookbook of a famous Austrian chef, Johanna Maier. They first enjoyed it at Johanna Maier’s restaurant in the Tyrol and ever since then this has been their favorite Gugelhupf recipe, and once I learned to make it, mine too.

According to my host family, this Gugelhupf is the best they’ve ever eaten because it is moist and rich, yet not dense, which I suppose implies that other Gugelhupfs can be dry and heavy. To me it rather resembles pound cake in that there’s lots of butter and eggs, and the leavening entirely comes from beating the egg whites full of air.

As there are very few ingredients, I highly recommend getting the best ingredients you can find — I try to use organic butter and eggs when I bake this, and I keep a bottle of decent rum around for it too. For the cocoa powder I usually use the Hershey’s natural brand (the cocoa is meant more for the marbling effect than true flavoring), and my host-family’s dad says it tastes authentic — on his first trip back to the US, I baked it to make sure my translation was correct.

It’s a good thing too I baked it fairly soon afterward, as a few months later I had to bake three Gugelhupfs for the German department almost at the last minute.

Essentially, I ended up baking three of these cakes in two days without using any electric kitchen equipment, so if you don’t own a mixer either, know that you can make this by hand. (Incidentally, I don’t have a mixer here either so I had to, again, hand-whip the egg whites, and while I was quite tempted to whine to myself, just remembering the Gugelhupf Bake-athon of 2006 stopped me: if I baked three cakes last time, then certainly I could make one cake this time!) Think of it either as a workout, or perhaps historical re-enactment.

Despite sometimes availing myself of gadegetry, though, I still generally consider Marmorgugelhupf to be a special-occasion cake, generally serving it for Easter or Christmas, if only because my host family tends to eat it on those holidays. I made an exception for the holiday schedule this time though, to share it with my friends here before I move back to Maryland, and of course so that you can make it!

Traditionally, Gugelhupfs are baked in, you guessed it, Gugelhupf pans. However, I have adjusted the recipe to accommodate a springform pan that I brought back from Austria. Funnily enough, the springform pan was actually invented here in America by German immigrants who wanted to bake Gugelhupfs but didn’t have the proper pan.

During that mad two day period of Gugelhupf baking, though, I did get to bake one of the cakes in my professor’s antique Gugelhupf pan that originally belonged to her grandmother. It was definitely an honor, and I am pleased to report that she loved the cake, and I hope you like it too, no matter what shape your Marmorgugelhupf takes.


Adapted from Johanna Maier

Makes one Gugelhupf, either in one 11″ springform pan or a Gugelhupf pan, to serve twelve to twenty


  • Seven ounces (200g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Eight eggs, divided into egg yolks and egg whites (it’s easier to split the eggs while they are cold, and then let them come to room temperature)
  • One and 2/3 cups (200g) powdered sugar
  • One and 2/3 cups (200g) granulated sugar
  • Two cups (230g) all-purpose flour
  • One shot of rum
  • About one ounce (about 25g) dark/bitter cocoa powder
  • Additional butter and flour for the baking pan (enough to coat the entire interior surface)
  • Optional: additional powdered sugar and/or lightly sweetened whipped cream, to serve

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius).

2. Mix the butter, egg yolks, and powdered sugar until foamy. Mix the egg whites and granulated sugar until it resembles snow (whip the egg whites first and then add the sugar gradually, still whipping).

3. Gently fold both batters together. Sift in the flour and stir in the rum.

4. In a separate bowl, mix about a third of the batter with the cocoa powder.

5. Layer the batter in an alternating pattern (light, dark, light) in the buttered and floured Gugelhupf (or springform) pan. Bake for seventy-five minutes (reduce the baking time to sixty minutes if using a springform pan). It seems that every time I bake this cake I get a different baking time, though each time is never lower than sixty minutes for the bundt pan and seventy-five minutes for the Gugelhupf pan. I recommend checking your Gugelhupf five minutes before the recommended time in the recipe. When the cake is done, a tester should come out basically clean, with perhaps a few small crumbs clinging to it. The top will look stippled and will feel slightly firm to the touch (though be careful not to burn yourself, it’s hot!).

6. Let the Gugelhupf cool completely in the pan before unmolding and serving, ideally with powdered sugar over the top, or served with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Note: Marmargugelhupf will keep, wrapped well, for up to four days.

Special bonus note: if you own neither a Gugelhupf pan nor a springform pan, you can still make Marmorgugelhupf, but as cupcakes! Yes! Follow the directions up to step 5, substituting cupcake wrappers for buttering and flouring the pan (you will need at least two 12-cupcake pans and a corresponding quantity of liners). Simply alternate the batters in the cupcake cups rather than in the pan. Bake for twenty-eight minutes or until done. Let cool, and enjoy!


I believe a version of this recipe comes from Johanna Maier’s cookbook Johanna Maier, available at (the book is in German, by the way). However, it has been a few years since I’ve seen the book, so I’m going to hope that my memory is somewhat correct.


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§ 6 Responses to Marmorgugelhupf

  • Kodiack says:

    dammit. Now I want Cake.

  • Abby says:

    Do you think this would work in a bundt pan? I love anything I can bake in a bundt pan. Great recipe!

    • says:

      Most definitely! I use an 11″ bundt pan, which is pretty standard here in the US. In fact, I have not baked this cake in a Gugelhupf pan in years because I don’t own one either. It takes about an hour to bake in the springform bundt.

      For the metric fans out there, 11″ = 28 cm.

  • Maxi says:

    I really liked your post, but as a native german speaker and as someone whose favorite kind of cake this is, I have to tell you that your spelling unfortunately is not correct. It is spelled “Marmor”, which means marble and it is named thus because of the marbled effect you get by mixing the black and white dough. I use a cocoa that has no sugar in it because I like the taste…

    • k.m. says:

      Oh no! I wonder why I thought it was spelled with an A? Maybe I can’t read my own handwriting – that’s possible, embarrassingly enough.

      Thanks for catching the error, I will fix it now.

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