Golden Coffee Cake (Kliņģeris)

This is the traditional Latvian birthday cake, when shaped as a very large pretzel. Served also on other family occasions, or as the centre piece in a dessert smorgasbord.

Ingredients for dough

½ teaspoon Spanish saffron, very finely crumbled 2ml
¼ cup boiling water 50 ml
2 tablespoons dry yeast 30 ml
½ cup warm water 125 ml
1 teaspoon sugar 5 ml
4½ cups flour 1.125 litres
2 cups table cream, warm 500 ml
½ pound butter 225 gm/250 ml
¾ cup sugar 175 ml
3 egg yolks
1½ cups golden raisins 375 ml
½ teaspoon ground cardamom 2 ml
1 teaspoon salt 5 ml
1 *lemon
1 **orange
* Grate rind and keep juice to put in dough
**Grate rind only (you can then eat the orange!)

Ingredients for decorating coffee cake

½ cup whole or slivered almonds 125 ml
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon tepid water 15 ml
icing sugar

Preparation ahead of time

Take eggs and butter out of fridge, and let come to room temperature. Crumble saffron into boiling water and let stand. Warm cream (on extremely low heat in a saucepan).

Grate the orange rind and lemon rind, reserving the lemon juice for the dough. Into the warm water mix the teaspoon of sugar, and sprinkle yeast on top of water. Let stand (about 10 minutes) until bubbled up.

Mixing the dough

In a large bowl, combine warm cream with yeast mixture and add half of the flour. Mix well. Cover and let rise for half an hour in a warm place.

Meanwhile, cream butter with sugar. Add egg yolks one at a time. Whip until light.

Add raisins to remainder of flour. Add butter/sugar/egg mixture to risen dough/yeast/flour mixture. Now, in a very large bowl, mix together everything (except the items used for decoration). Mix until dough is smooth. Cover and let rise again in warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1 hour).

Place risen dough on floured board and knead until smooth and elastic.

Possible shapes

The traditional shape is a large pretzel shape. This is the way it is usually presented as a birthday "cake", or for a formal occasion.

Pretzel shape: grease a cookie sheet. Stretch dough into a long, fat roll with tapered ends. Place the centre of the roll onto the middle of the long side of the cookie sheet. Make a pretzel shape by twisting the ends into the centre and placing them on the middle of the cake. Smooth and even out the "pretzel" until the two pretzel holes are about the size of a cup.

Loaf shape: grease a cookie sheet. Cut dough into 3 even parts. Roll into strands and make a large plump braid. Alternately just place dough into 2 loaf pans.

Cake shape: grease and flour a large Bundt cake tin (or two smaller ones) and place dough in it.

Preparing cake for baking

Beat egg with tepid water. Brush surface of dough with beaten egg/water mixture. Sprinkle or decorate with almonds. Let rise again. Meanwhile preheat oven to 350° F (180 ° C).

Baking and presentation

Bake until golden brown (about 35 - 45 minutes). Let cool in/on pan. If you have them, place paper doilies on a large platter and place coffee cake on them. Dust with icing sugar. Garnish imaginatively: with candles, bows, candies, flowers, etc. Enjoy!

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This page created and maintained by
A. Steinbergs

Last revised September 18, 2008