Of course there is no butter in these muffins. Not even vegan butter. Although many butterkuchen recipes call for vegan butter or margarine because you are supposed to put flakes of butter on the dough. Well, I decided to do things a little differently by a. not making a baking sheet of cake and b. by using roasted almond oil instead of the butter.
Butterkuchen. Every Northern German has childhood memories about butterkuchen. My memories are church and community related. Whenever we children had to attend parish events, there was butterkuchen. At every funeral there was butterkuchen. Everyone always seemed to serve us butterkuchen. Maybe I never ate anything else? I remember that in preparation for our first communion we had to attend some meetings, accompanied by our parents. We were led into a huge room in our community hall where some parish members had set up long tables with white tablecloths and huge plates of butterkuchen cut into stripes. I seriously don’t remember why we were there and what they told us. I think the main purpose for us to be there was, as always, to eat butterkuchen and drink red grape juice. Ew, how I hated red grape juice. I still hate it. I usually just gulped the glass down and then dedicated myself to the soft, sweet, and crunchy slice of butterkuchen. And then to another one.
Butterkuchen is a simple and humble cake. It’s just a yeast cake baked on large baking sheets and usually sold in long stripes cut from the sheet. The special thing about butterkuchen is that it has a topping made from butter, sugar, and sliced almonds. This topping is applied before baking so that the butter sinks in and makes the cake even softer. Together with the roasted almonds this makes the cake quite addictive.
I didn’t feel like making a whole sheet (no Norhtern Germans to feed.). And I think these muffins look nicer than a plain cake. Also, they are slighly different from a genuine butterkuchen. Not only because I didn’t use butter, but because of special purpose of the oil in this recipe. During baking the oil will sink into the slots between the dough and the tin and fry the muffin a little bit from all sides. Which makes it more like a doughnut that a butterkuchen. Which probably means that I should move to New York and start selling bukunuts. Or whatever fancy name we can find for this.
Butterkuchen Muffins (makes 8 muffins)
adapted from this recipe
For the yeasted muffins:
135 ml (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon) soy milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons coconut oil
210 g (1 3/4 cups) flour
10 g fresh yeast or 1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
1 /4 teaspoon salt
roasted almond oil for brushing (canola, peanut, or sunflower oil works, too.)
Combine soy milk, sugar, and coconut oil in a small pot. Warm gently over low heat until the oil has melted. Let cool until luke warm.
Add the flour to a large bowl. Make a well and add the yeast (even if it’s instant). Pour the liquid mixture into the well and let sit for 10 minutes. Add salt and knead the dough well. It’s enough to knead this dough for 2-3 minutes. It should still be sticky and the gluten will continue to develop while you let it rest and rise. So don’t worry about it being sticky. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.
Grease eight cups of a muffin tin with oil. Divide the dough into eight equally sized pieces. Shape into balls and press into the cups. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for another 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Remove the towel and use your thumb to make a little well in the centre. Generously brush each muffin with roasted almond oil or whatever you have on hand.
For the topping
3 tablespoons sugar
40 g (1/3 cup) slivered almonds
Combine sugar and almonds in a bowl and mix well. Generously sprinkle on top of the muffins.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure that an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool until luke warm or cool and serve immediately. They will dry out fast, so eat them up!