Recipe for the Famous Frankfurter Kranz

Frankfurter Kranz cake
  • 2 hrs 30 mins
  • Prep: 2 hrs,
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 10 servings (serves 10)
Ratings (7)

The Frankfurter Kranz was developed by an unknown master baker in 1735. It symbolizes a crown with the golden crocant around the outside and the jewel-like cherries as decoration. Frankfurt was seen as the crown city of the German Empire for many years.

Frankfurter Kranz is a bit of work to make, but it's one of the easiest, beginner "Sahnetorten."

This recipe makes ten small pieces.

Check out the step-by-step instructions here.

What You'll Need

  • For Cake:
  • 2 eggs (separated)
  • 1 tbsp. water (cold)
  • 1/2 c./100 g. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (or a few drops of rum or butter flavoring)
  • 1/2 c./60 g. flour
  • 1//3 c./40 g. cornstarch (or potato starch)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • For Krokant:
  • 2 tbsp./30 g. butter
  • 2/3 c./120 g. sugar
  • 3/4 c. nuts (chopped hazelnut, almond, peanut, or other)
  • For Frosting:
  • 1 package vanilla pudding (about 3 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 c. milk
  • 10 tbsp./140 g. butter
  • 2 tbsp./30 g. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla (or rum extract)
  • For Garnish:
  • Garnish: red jelly
  • Optional: 3 - 4 cherries (candied)

How to Make It

Timetable for Frankfurter Kranz Cake

  1. Remove butter for frosting from refrigerator and let it come to room temperature over several hours.
  2. Make pudding for frosting and allow to cool to room temperature. Keep butter and pudding in same vicinity.
  3. Make cake and allow to cool completely.
  4. Make the nut brittle ("Krokant"). You can make this a day or a week beforehand.
  5. Make frosting.
  6. Assemble cake.
  7. The longer the cake sits, the more it will soak up the cream and jelly and the moister it will be. Some people let it sit overnight before serving.

    Make the sponge cake

    1. Beat egg whites with water on medium speed until foamy in a mixer bowl. Increase to high speed and beat while adding the sugar a little at a time until the meringue is stiff and white, 4 - 5 minutes. Scrape the bowl as necessary.
    2. Remove the meringue to another bowl and add egg yolks to the mixer bowl. Beat on high until light yellow and fluffy. This should take about 3 - 5 minutes.
    3. Pour the egg yolks over the egg white meringue, add the flavor extract and fold carefully a few times.
    4. Sift the flour, starch and baking powder over the egg mixture and continue to fold until all the flour is incorporated. Do not over mix.
    5. Butter the bottom, but not the sides of a 3-cup pan. The most traditional form has a hole through the middle (angel food cake pan or springform with special insert, but some people choose to bake this in a small loaf pan. Spoon the batter evenly into the pan and smooth the top.
    6. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes or until set. Cool completely, then frost and garnish as follows.

    Make the Crocant

    Crocant, or "Krokant" in German, is a nut brittle made with chopped hazelnuts or almonds. It can also be made with any nuts you have on hand that you like; peanuts, macadamia nuts, pecans or walnuts. The nuts can be raw or roasted. Usually, they are blanched and the skins removed.

    1. Chop the nuts fine. Toast them as necessary in a 350°F oven for about 5 minutes. May be used raw.
    2. Melt the butter in a pan and add the sugar. Stir and cook over medium high heat until the sugar begins to melt.
    3. Keep stirring until the sugar is melted completely and the sugar turns light brown.
    4. Add the nuts, stir. Remove from heat.
    5. Spread the candy on an oiled cookie sheet. Use only a spoon, not your hands, as the candy is very hot.
    6. Cool the candy, then chop into small pieces on a cutting board and store in an airtight container.

    Make the Frosting

    1. Make the pudding according to package directions using only 1 1/2 cups of milk. Do this the night before or early in the day you plan on making the cake.
    2. Cover the top of the hot pudding with wax paper so no skin forms on the pudding. Let it cool to room temperature.
    3. It does not matter if it is a German pudding package or an American pudding package. The main difference between the two is that you need to add sugar to the German pudding mix.
    4. If you want to, you can make a pudding from scratch. To make pudding from scratch, see these recipes:
      Vanilla Pudding
      French Pastry Cream
      Italian Pastry Cream
    5. Remove the butter from the refrigerator 4 - 8 hours ahead of when you plan on making the frosting.
    6. Using the paddle attachment if possible, beat the softened butter, 2 tablespoons sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, 5 - 10 minutes.
    7. Add the pudding, a spoonful at a time, stirring at medium speed each until it is fully incorporated. Keep stirring for 5 - 10 minutes total, until the buttercream is completely smooth. It can be used immediately or refrigerated until use, although it might have to stand at room temperature again to be spreadable.

    If your frosting does not work, here are some tips:

    • Butter and pudding must have the exact same temperature to start with, or the butter will congeal in the pudding, forming hard, little lumps and look grainy.
    • If this happens, you can heat the frosting gently over a hot water bath, stirring constantly with a whisk. This sometimes helps the butter melt into the pudding.
    • If you heat the ingredients too much, the butter could melt completely, making fatty puddles in the pudding. You will need to start over if this happens.
    • You may try a different buttercream frosting. This recipe describes a typical German buttercream. Italian Buttercream does not need the ingredients to be room temperature and can be finished in about an hour, or French Buttercream found on this page is another option.

    Frost and Decorate the Frankfurter Kranz

    1. Cut the cake horizontally into three pieces. Place the bottom layer on a cake rack over a cookie sheet.
    2. Spoon some tart, red jelly Over the bottom layer, then some buttercream frosting about 1/4 inch thick.
    3. Place the middle layer on top of that and add another, thick layer of buttercream.
    4. Place the top layer on that and frost the sides and top of the cake thinly with the buttercream. Leave at least a half a cup of buttercream for the decorator bag.
    5. Sprinkle the top and sides of the cake with the crocant candy. Sometimes you can angle the cake up and press some of the candy onto the sides. Press in lightly to stick.
    6. Using a decorator bag and a star tip, pipe 10, small rosettes on top of the cake.
    7. Quarter the candied or maraschino cherries and place one piece on top of each rosette. Press lightly to stick.
    8. Transfer the cake to a cake stand. 
    9. Serve the cake or chill until serving time.