This year, try making Kugelhopf, the light brioche cake from Alsace. This yeasted coffeecake makes an excellent holiday present.
Kugelhopf, a lovely holiday cake from the region of Alsace, is a light, airy brioche. According to Wikipedia, "The part "Gugel-" is a corruption of the Middle High German word Kugel ("ball" or "globe"). The part "-hupf" relates to the verb "hüpfen" (jump) and is a reference to the cake surface going up while being baked."
Whole almonds cover the top of he cake and become embedded as it bakes, and the entire cake may be coated with slivered almonds. According to Calvel in The Taste of Bread, the raisins are soaked in schnapps, marc or grappa. Confectioners sugar is used to coat the cake and add sweetness.
This cake is typically baked in a distinctive spiral bundt pan, made of clay. In the US, there are silicone versions available, which may be easier to use than the traditional pan. However, you can bake this cake in any appropriately-sized tube pan with good results. The cake pictured above was baked in a pudding mold.
I adapted a recipe incorporating natural yeasts. This sourdough Kugelhopf is a subtle, sophisticated sweet bread that goes perfectly with tea. I thought you'd like to consider making this cake for your friends and family.