Monday, March 4, 2019

Spiced Carnival Doughnuts - Gewürzkrapfen

This year’s Carnival pastries are like a spiced version of traditional doughnuts paired with a freshly made Apple Compote. I like to serve a little bit of pleasantly tart winter fruit compote alongside these sweet treats, as these two, the doughnuts and the compote, complement each other in a delicious way - the tartness of the fruit balances out the sweetness of the doughnuts. If you do make a fruit compote make an easy Apple Compote or go with pears or quince or other seasonal fruits - as the pastries are made with lots of warm spices, I would recommend a simple fruit compote, flavored only with some lemon juice and a wee bit of sugar.

As it has become tradition , I try to feature a different recipe for seasonal and traditional German carnival pastries every year.  In 2015 I blogged about Carnival Doughnuts (Karnevalskrapfen), a lovely round type of doughnut made with fresh cheese (Quark), a traditional pastry, fried in hot oil until deep golden-colored and served with a cinnamon-sugar coating. Also in 2015 I featured Fried Almond Cookies (Mutzemandeln), a typical recipe from the Rhineland region, almond shaped and with lots of ground almonds in the dough. And in 2014, I tried my hand at making Quark Doughnut Strips (Quarknudeln), also made with fresh cheese (Quark) and also with fresh yeast. Back in 2013, I baked a Doughnut Cake (Krapfenkuchen) using a sweet yeast dough.

Spiced Carnival Doughnuts - Gewürzkrapfen
(Inspired by a recipe from Johann Lafer)

  • 250ml lukewarm milk (I like to use 3.5%)
  • 42g (1.5 oz) fresh yeast, crumbled
  • 600g (21.2 oz) strong baking flour (around here it’s called 'Type 550')
  • 60g (2.1 oz) superfine baking (caster) sugar
  • 4 egg yolks (M), free range or organic
  • 1 tbsp rum
  • grated zest from each ½ organic lemon and ½ organic orange
  • 1/8 tsp gingerbread spice mix - Note: if you cannot find Gingerbread Spice Mix at the store or online, you can mix it yourself, link is at the bottom of this post
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon (from Ceylon if possible)
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 100g (3.5 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • flour for the work surface
  • 1l vegetable oil for frying
  • 100g (3.5 oz) cinnamon sugar (sugar mixed with Cinnamon)

  1. Make the yeast mixture: in a medium bowl whisk together the milk with the yeast, 50g (1.7 oz) of the flour and the sugar. Cover and let stand 20 minutes in a warm spot.
  2. To the bowl of your stand mixer, add the remaining flour, the egg yolks, rum, lemon- and orange zest, gingerbread spice and all the other spices. Using the dough hook, beat at low speed, add the soft butter at the very end and beat until a sticky dough forms. 
  3. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl. Cover and let rest in a warm place until the dough has doubled in volume (about one hour).
  4. Roll and cut: turn the risen dough out onto a floured surface and roll to 1cm (0.40in) thickness.
  5. Using a pastry wheel, cut into (3cm x 5cm) (1.2in x 2in) diamond shapes. Mark the top of each dough piece with a cross.
  6. Cover and let rise another 15 minutes.
  7. Fry until golden: pour oil into a Dutch oven and heat to 180° C (360°F).
  8. Fry dough, in batches, 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until they puff up and are golden brown – make sure to slide dough slowly into the oil to avoid splattering.
  9. Carefully remove onto a rack with kitchen roll underneath and allow to cool until you can handle them. 
  10. Dust with cinnamon sugar.

Apple  Compote - Apfelkompott

  • 225g (8oz) cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • ½ organic lemon, zest and juice
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp superfine (caster) sugar

  1. Put the apples in a saucepan with the lemon juice, zest and water. 
  2. Cover and cook over a low heat until they are soft and mushy.
  3. Take off the heat and stir in the sugar. 
  4. Cool and serve.

For more of my Carnival recipes, please go here:

  • Carnival Doughnuts (Karnevals-Krapfen) can be found here
  • Fried Almond Cookies (Mutzemandeln) are here
  • Quark Doughnut Strips (Quarknudeln) here
  • Doughnut Cake (Krapfenkuchen) is here
  • Gingerbread Spice Mix (Lebkuchengewürzmischung) can be found here


  1. Krapfen habe ich als Kind sehr gerne gegessen. Deine Gewürzkrapfen sehen sehr lecker aus und ich kann mir vorstellen wie gut sie mit dem Apfelmus schmecken. Viel Spaß beim Fasching.

    1. Dankeschön, Gerlinde! Krapfen sind lecker, Gewürzkrapfen noch leckerer! Das ist ein schönes saisonales Rezept und es nicht allzu schwierig. Einmal im Jahr muss ausgebackenes Karnevalsgebäck einfach sein und mit dem Apfelkompott zusammen sind diese Krapfen wirklich unglaublich lecker.
      Ganz liebe Grüße nach Santa Cruz & ALAAF!

  2. These sounds quite wonderful and, I imagine, barely lasted long enough in your home for you to photograph them! I can see Thomas and the girls waiting behind you to finish the shots!!! Liebe Gruße, David

    1. Dear David, since we all had a bit of a holiday (school and offices closed for a few days), we did have a bit of time on our hands - so, to answer your question, yes, these were devoured quite quickly, most of them still warm and the apple compote was still quite warm too - well, it was Carnival after all!
      Alaaf & Helau, dear David, and thank you for stopping by!

  3. what beautiful recipes for Carnival you made Andrea!! xo

    1. Dear Gloria, coming form you, I take that as a huge compliment!
      Thank you, Gloria!

  4. absolutely incredible looking.
    I want all of them, Andrea!!! WOW. xxx

    1. Thank you very much!
      Glad you stopped by to let me know you would enjoy these!