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Frankfurter Kranz-German Buttercream Cake HELP!!!

This year my Christmas baking theme is centered around my german heritage and therfore I have chosen many German based confections to serve both on Christmas Eve and Christams Day i.e. stollen, lebkuchen, pfeffuernesse, etc. My piece de resistance, however, is Frankfurter Kranz , a multi-layered cake baked in a bundt pan cut into three layers, frosted with german buttercream and then coated with a sort of praline topping. The recipe I am using is from the "Time-Life: Foods of the World, Recipes:The Cooking of Germany". I was wondering if anyone else had had any experience baking this cake? Also, the recipe that I am going by, calls for a pound of butter in the frosting. I do not want to use a pound of butter and have looked at other recipes online that call instead for using a pudding mix in the frosting and am wondering if anyone has had experience with this and what the results have been. Thank you for your help!

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  1. I don't know this cake but European-style buttercreams *are* very buttery. And less sweet, which might work better with the praline topping. That would be my concern with switching to a potentially sweeter frosting. How does the online recipe compare otherwise?

    1. I think I may have a recipe for that pudding-based buttercream somewhere. My dad always made this when he'd bake cakes. In fact, I asked if he would show me how to do this over this holidays!

      Got to get ready for work, so I won't have time to look until tonight.

      1. The recipes I'm seeing on line that call for a pudding mix still call for a great deal of butter too. Apparently German buttercream is, by definition, a custard or pastry cream base beaten with butter. I think the recipes that call for a pudding mix are just using it as a shortcut for the pastry cream portion, not as a butter replacement. What are the other ingredients in your frosting, and in what amounts? My guess is that you'll need a lot of frosting if you are making a three-layer bundt cake - so even though a pound of butter sounds like a lot, it will end up making a huge amount of frosting.

        BTW, I just found a recipe on a German site that states that you can obtain a stiffer buttercream for decorating by increasing the amount of butter to the point that you have an equal amount of butter and custard. The original recipe calls for twice as much custard as butter - so perhaps you could check your recipe and see what the ratio of custard to butter is, and cut some of the butter if it's close to 1:1 (if you don't need such a stiff frosting).

        1. I just made German buttercream, and the recipe I made called for two pounds of butter instead of one, so it is unlikely that the recipes trend in diminishing the butter; however, cream cheese, I have seen (and used), can be used to substitute for part of that. I have seen no more than half, though. Try comparing this recipe at BraveTart's blog: http://bravetart.com/recipes/GermanBu...
          This is the recipe I used (successfully cutting back that scandalous pound with a markedly looser texture) to make my frosting, so I can't help you divine any further how to extract the butter from the buttercream.

          And I agree with the others - the pudding is most probably part of the pastry cream or custard component to help with structure maintenance; you are likely to see gelatin or cornstarch added also.

          1. Hey, Redstickchef, here's the recipe. It's from Das Gro├če Dr. Oetker Backbuch. Incidentally I just call and it is the recipe my dad has used in the past (he's an engineer, but his father was a pastry chef, so her probably knows a little something about this). This book also has a recipe for Frankfurter Kranz and uses a similar (but not exact) buttercream recipe.

            1 pkg of Dr. Oetker vanilla pudding mix
            75 g sugar
            500 ml (1/2 l) cold milk
            2 packets vanilla sugar *(you could probably sub in some vanilla extract instead)
            250 g butter (about a pound)

            Make the pudding by mixing the pudding powder with the sugar in a saucepan. Gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Then cook over MEDIUM heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a whisk until the mixture is thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, mix in the vanilla sugar, making sure that the vanilla sugar is well mixed. Pour into bowl and let cool at room temperature, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming.

            Beat butter until smooth. Mix the cooled pudding into the butter tablespoon by tablespoon (the pudding and butter should not be too cold, lest they not combine well). Mix until the buttercream is fluffy (but not greasy).

            I'm not sure if you can use another pudding brand. I doubt you'd be able to use instant, but the cooked pudding might work. Not sure though!

            3 Replies
            1. re: nofunlatte

              In the interest of accuracy, 250g is closer to a half pound than a pound - a kg (1000g) is 2.2lbs, so a quarter of that is just over a half pound.

              1. re: biondanonima

                I stand corrected. Well, actually I'm seated so I SIT corrected!

                1. re: nofunlatte

                  LOL. I only posted because I was thinking about the ratio of custard to butter specified in the recipe I saw online. Your recipe looks like it should make about two cups of custard/pudding, and if it calls for a half pound of butter that is about one cup, which is the same ratio as was recommended in the recipe I saw.

                  Oddly enough, I am having a real craving for buttercream icing now!!

            2. Thank you everyone for getting back to me so quickly!

              Jules Rules: You are right that most of the German buttercreams, regardless of whether I use a pudding mix or not, do incorporate a large amount of butter into the frosting. So looking at those recipes it really doesn't make a difference in whether I use the pudding mix or not.

              Biondanonima: The suggestion of adapting the custard to the butter is an excellent suggestion! And you are right, after I thought about it the pound of butter does make sense for how big the cake will actually be.

              BraiseofFolly: The cream cheese as a sub for some of the butter might be exactly what I need, being that I adore cream cheese icing. Thank you very much for the link!

              Nofunlatte: I cannot thank you enough for calling your Dad to check on the recipe and for relaying it to me! I appreciate all the trouble that you went through to get it and I must say that I will most likely be using your recipe for the frosting! Oh and luckily I can get Dr. Oeteker pudding here at a local grocery store, which will make it a lot easier instead of guessing whether I should use another pudding mix or not.

              Btw just in case anyone is interested, I am posting the original frosting recipe :

              10 egg yolks, at room temperature
              1 pond unsalted butter, softened
              11/3 cups sugar
              1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
              2/3 cup water
              1/2 cup rum

              To make the buttercream, beat the 10 egg yolks in a large bowl with a whisk or a rotary or electric beater until they are thick and lemon colored. Set the beaten yolks aside. Cream the pound of softened butter by mashing and beating it against the sides of a bowl witha large spoon until it is light and fluffy. Set aside
              Bring 11/3 cups of sugar, 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar and 2/3 cup of water to a boil over moderate heat in a small saucepan, stirring only until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high and boil the syrup briskly without stirring until it reaches a temperature of 236 on a candy thermometer, or until a drop spooned into cold water immediatly forms a soft ball.
              Pour the syrup in a thin stream into the reserved egg yolks, beating constantly with a whisk or a rotary or electric beater. COntinue beating for 4 to 5 minutes longer or until the mixture is thick and smooth. Gradually add 1/2 cup rum and continue to beat until the mixture has cooled to roon temperature and is thick. Now beat in the reserved butter a tablespoon or so at a time when it is completly absorbed cover the bowl with wax paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate the buttercream for at least 30 minutes or until it can spread easily.

              Will relay my success/failure ASAP!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Redstickchef

                This actually looks more like a French buttercream recipe than a German one, since there's no actual custard involved. I look forward to hearing how it turns out, though!

              2. Sorry it took me so long to update ya'll with how this went. The cake turned out nicely, but honestly I don't think I will be making it again. The cake itself was airy and light, raspberry jam in between the layers complimented it well, and the frosting was fantastic!) but the praline topping was just weird. It did not really mesh with the other flavors and in my opinion was a little off-putting. But who knows I might try making it again without the praline or try a different recipe. Thanks again for everyone's help!

                1. And here are some pics of the cake:

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Redstickchef

                    Wow! This looks fabulous! I am impressed with your work, redstickchef

                    1. re: Redstickchef

                      How was it? Was it so incredibly rich that a little bite was enough?

                      1. re: roxlet

                        Thanks nofunlatte! And Roxlet a little sliver was more than enough to satisfy. The cake as a whole was extremely rich.

                    2. My dad had the Time Life: Foods of the World collection. I baked this cake about 20 years ago and it was so good at the time that I wrote it down on paper. I wonder if you can help me with the cake ingredients which reads as follows:
                      1/4 lbs + 4 tbsp unsalted butter, soften
                      1 cup sugar
                      1 cup all purpose flour
                      1-1/2 tsp lemon zest
                      6 eggs, room temperature
                      3/4 cup cornstarch (this must be wrong???)
                      1 tbsp baking powder
                      3/4 cup rhum
                      I was going to bake the cake for my girlfriend's birthday tomorrow so if you have the original book recipe, I would really appreciate if you could confirm that I wrote down the proper quantities. Thank you!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mimi2012

                        mimi2012 Yes, this is the exact recipe. I have a copy of that book from 1969.. I make this often and have become known as the Frankfurter Kranz Queen. I have tweaked the recipe over the years until I have it exactly right. I can now make it, gluten free, dairy free, sugar free or all three because we have so many food sensitivities in our family. I usually leave out the cornstarch because this makes the cake very dry. You only want it dry if you want to use the rum to pour over the layers after you cut it to soften the cake. We don't like the rum taste so I leave this step out and put a layer of jam inside with butter cream frosting between the layers. My other suggestion is to make it the night before, leave it in the fridge well covered and frost the next day. The layers are so much easier to cut when the cake is cold. Also when done, keep it in the fridge so the buttercream doesn't get too soft.