nusskranzkuchen austrian cake recipe

[Recipe] Nusskranzkuchen – Nut Ring Cake

My first healthy and guilt-free Nusskranzkuchen got a thumbs up from all my guinea pigs (aka family and some friends)!! Since I bought my Austrian recipe book in Vienna, I had been eyeing this recipe in the book called Nusskranzkuchen. I altered some ingredients to make it lower in sugar. The original recipe called for icing sugar so I replaced it with coconut sugar and a couple of dates. The dates are optional though. The dates gave a chewy texture to the cake which I really liked!

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Tip 1: For step 7, remember not to mix them in but to fold them in to prevent the air bubbles from bursting. The air bubbles keep the cake light and fluffy! 

Tip 2:  For an even prettier top, put the cake back into the oven after the cake has been turned out of the cake tin. Allow the almonds to colour and then sprinkle some icing sugar and more silvered almonds on top. The icing sugar will melt and act as a “glue” for the silvered almonds.

Tip 3: For a more chocolatey and no sugar option, use cacao nibs and dust the cake tin with cocoa powder. Before baking, the cacao nibs are hard but the baking process actually melts the cacao nibs and gives a very aromatic chocolate flavour. It’s healthy (high in antioxidants) so I highly recommend it! Make the dessert even more guilt-free.. why not?

Tip 4: Get creative with the toppings. Maybe drizzles of chocolate ganache? An apricot jam glaze and topped with roasted crushed nuts? After all, apricot jam (marille in Austrian German) is typically Austrian.

 

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Light. Fluffy. Perfect Height. Delicious

 


Ingredients

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 200g butter
  • 170g coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 large apples, grated or chopped (I used 4 small pears)
  • 100g hazelnuts (I used almonds and walnuts)
  • 80g chocolate (I used cacao nibs)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • a dash of cinnamon
  • 200g + 1 tbsp self raising flour (gluten free if necessary)
  • 2 dates (optional)
  • 1 tbsp silvered almonds
  • cocoa powder for dusting of cake tin

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C
  2. Separate the eggs. Beat the butter together with the sugar and vanilla. Gradually add the egg yolks
  3. Whisk the egg whites until stiff.
  4. Peel and grate or chop. Slightly squeeze to remove some of the liquid.
  5. Chop the nuts roughly
  6. Mix the baking powder, cinnamon and flour together
  7. Gradually fold the apples, nuts, chocolate and flour to butter/egg yolk mixture (Step 2). Alternating with the egg whites.
  8. Grease the ring tin well (I used a bundt cake tin) with butter and dusted with flour and cocoa powder.
  9. To give it a pretty top, layer the base of the tin with silvered almonds. Then pour the cake mixture into the tin.
  10. Bake for 1 hour; checking at every 20-minute intervals. Use a skewer to poke in the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, it’s cooked.
  11. Allow to the cake to cool in the tin for 5 minutes. Then, turn the cake out onto a wire rack and serve.
  12. Enjoy it hot with some custard or cream or even simply on its own!

 

Mahlzeit alles!

Xx

GK

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innsbruck hut to hut walking in the tyrolean alps

Innsbruck (Tyrol): Hut-to-hut walking

After a few days in Vienna, I boarded the OEBB to Innsbruck to meet a friend. Innsbruck is the capital of Tyrol (the state bordering of Italy) and it is definitely a place I highly recommend everyone to go to even for one night. What’s not to love? The encapsulating view of the jagged mountain range of Nordkette surrounding a quaint little city is so peaceful. And, the close proximity to the mountains means you can go hiking anytime!

One of my highlights of my 4 days in Innsbruck was hut-to-hut walking aka alm-to-alm walking, in German. Alm means hut and this hut refers to the traditional Austrian gasthaus found on the mountains where hikers can stop by for a meal or drink. Some are like small hotels that offer accommodation services for long distance hikers. In Innsbruck, these gasthaus serves local Tyrolean dishes, desserts and cakes. It completed my Austrian experience!

A huge thanks to the Austrians I met at the Irish pub, The Galway Bay who managed to convince me to stay longer in Innsbruck and recommended me to do hut-to-hut walking. It is definitely a must-do activity in Innsbruck!

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View of the jagged Nordkette mountain ranges from Innsbruck city

So, my journey began from Alpenzoo through Heinrich-süß-weg. There are several ways up to the alps but this was the recommended route.

Austrian hiking culture: Austrians have this hiking culture whereby everyone is friends in the mountains, even strangers you don’t know. This was apparent in the way they change their greetings to the passerbys they meet. Austrians would greet their friends servus and strangers grüß gott. But on the mountains, Austrians would greet random passerby with griaß eich (for plural) or griaß di (for singular). How cool!

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Overview map of the various alms in the area

My first stop was Arzler Alm (1070 m). It is the most popular of Alms because it is easiest to get to by foot. Even oldies were able to do it. No need for proper hiking gear (unless you’re getting past Seegrube, where Nordkettenbahnen – the cable car station is at). All you will need are runners, waterproof jacket and a bottle of water.

Following the signs from Alpenzoo and through the forest, I made it to the quaint looking Austrian hut in the alps I’ve heard so much about – Arzler Alm. Many hikers and non-hikers were enjoying Arzler Alm’s famous Weiner Schnitzel and house salads. Sadly, it was way too early for lunch so I ordered a melange (Austrian-style coffee) and sipped it away as I did some people-watching. It was great fun observing the waiters dressed in the traditional costume called lederhosen happily serving customers who were busy chatting away.

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Hut 1: Arzler Alm

 

Then, I made my way to the west of Arzler Alm towards Höttinger Alm (1490 m) where I had my first authentic Tyrolean “dumpling” – Speck knödel. Speck is a cured, smoked meat. Speck is cured in salt and spices such as laurel and juniper, then slowly-smoked, using pine or juniper wood for several months. Being so close to Italy, speck is one of the Italian influences found in Southern Austria. Speck knödel is traditionally served in a soup and less traditionally with a salad on the side. It was freezing as it was raining then so I opted for the more traditional option!

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Tyrolean traditional dish: Speck Knödel

When it stopped raining, I made my way east of Höttinger Alm towards Bodenstein Alm (1660 m). This was the smallest and least commercial of gasthaus thus far. They only sold black instant coffee and the homemade cakes. I ordered a Topfen cake, which was a bit on the sweet side for me to be honest! Topfen is sometimes called quark, a type of dairy by product that is in between yoghurt and cheese. Creaminess of yoghurt but texture and consistency of cheese. It’s an Austrian staple – so high in protein and low in carbs!

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Austrian dessert: Topfen Cake

From Bodenstein Alm, I continued my way up to Seegrube where the Nordkette Skyline Park was. You can take the cable car from Seegrube up towards Haferlekar and see a more spectacular view of the alps and Innsbruck city from above. I didn’t make it sadly because it began to rain and it was getting late.

 

Even at Seegrube, the alps were stunning. Absolutely mind-blowing. I went at the end of May so the snow on the alps was half melted yet it was breathtaking. Imagine it full of snow! Many hikers with proper gear can take the cable car and then hike up to the many peaks of the Nordkette mountain ranges. Next time my goal is to get to Hafelekarspitze!

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Before the big hikes begin from Seegrube

Till next time Innsbruck!

Let me know if you found this useful 🙂

Xx

Generation Kitchen