Sunday, March 27, 2011

Daring Bakers #2: Yeasted Coffee Cake

It is time for our second Daring Baker’s Challenge!!!!

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.

This recipe looked amazing, I knew I’d want to make it as soon as possible! It takes a bit of time because of needing to allow the dough time to rise, but that is time you can go do something else. I halved the recipe since we have no need for 2 coffee cakes around the house. Boy, am I glad I did this because we would have devoured them both! I also used the weight measurements for the ingredients (I’ve never made a recipe this way.. and I loved it! Didn’t get any measuring devices dirty! YES! less dishes!!!)  This recipe is going to be used over and over!!

The first step was to bring the dough together. While warming the milk I threw in a cinnamon stick and some cloves. (I’m not sure that this flavor really came through in the dough.)

Dump the dough out and knead it until it was smooth and sexy (this was the word used in the recipe).

Now for the waiting game. Time to let the dough rise!

When its getting close to the end of the rising time right before you want to roll out the dough make the meringue.

Once it has risen it is time to roll out the dough. I am a dork and really got out a tape measure because I wanted it to be the size specified in the recipe.

Spread the meringue out on top of the dough.

Sprinkle with the spice mixture. I used cinnamon, sugar, all spice, clove, and nutmeg. Chopped walnuts, cinnamon chips, and chocolate chips. (After it was baked I couldn’t taste the cinnamon chips.)

Roll the dough like a jelly roll.

Form into a wreath and use scissors to make the slashes in the dough.  Back to waiting again. Time for the 2nd rise!

Now, brush on egg wash (I used the egg yolks left over from the meringue) and get it in the oven!

We were so excited to try the coffee cake we only allowed it to cool while I took pictures and then dug right in. I recommend waiting longer, our first pieces were so chocolaty because the chocolate was still too hot!

I will be keeping this recipe around and plan to try a savory option like so many other Daring Baker’s did. You can see what was done here. I have so many ideas for using this dough again…. love the idea of cutting the dough into pieces after rolling the jelly roll to make it more like cinnamon buns, leaving out the chocolate, using fruit… ahhh all the options!!!

Here is the recipe:


Makes 2 round coffee cakes, each approximately 10 inches in diameter

The recipe can easily be halved to make one round coffee cake


For the yeast coffee cake dough:

4 cups (600 g / 1.5 lbs.) flour

¼ cup (55 g / 2 oz.) sugar

¾ teaspoon (5 g / ¼ oz.) salt

1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons / 7 g / less than an ounce) active dried yeast

¾ cup (180 ml / 6 fl. oz.) whole milk

¼ cup (60 ml / 2 fl. oz. water (doesn’t matter what temperature)

½ cup (135 g / 4.75 oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature

2 large eggs at room temperature

For the meringue:

3 large egg whites at room temperature

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon vanilla

½ cup (110 g / 4 oz.) sugar

For the filling:

1 cup (110 g / 4 oz.) chopped pecans or walnuts

2 Tablespoons (30 g / 1 oz.) granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup (170 g / 6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips or coarsely chopped chocolate

Egg wash: 1 beaten egg

Cocoa powder (optional) and confectioner’s sugar (powdered/icing sugar) for dusting cakes


Prepare the dough:

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 ½ cups (230 g) of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast.

In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter and heat over medium heat until warm and the butter is just melted.

With an electric mixer on low speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes. Add the eggs and 1 cup (150 g) flour and beat for 2 more minutes.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together. Turn out onto a floured surface (use any of the 1 ½ cups of flour remaining) and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic, keeping the work surface floured and adding extra flour as needed.

Place the dough in a lightly greased (I use vegetable oil) bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise until double in bulk, 45 – 60 minutes. The rising time will depend on the type of yeast you use.

Prepare your filling:In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar for the filling if using. You can add the chopped nuts to this if you like, but I find it easier to sprinkle on both the nuts and the chocolate separately

Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue:

Assemble the Coffee Cakes:

Line 2 baking/cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Punch down the dough and divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, working one piece of the dough at a time (keep the other half of the dough wrapped in plastic), roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch (about 51 x 25 ½ cm) rectangle. Spread half of the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch (3/4 cm) from the edges. Sprinkle half of your filling of choice evenly over the meringue (ex: half of the cinnamon-sugar followed by half the chopped nuts and half of the chocolate chips/chopped chocolate).

Now, roll up the dough jellyroll style, from the long side. Pinch the seam closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to one of the lined cookie sheets, seam side down. Bring the ends of the log around and seal the ends together, forming a ring, tucking one end into the other and pinching to seal.

Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife (although scissors are easier), make cuts along the outside edge at 1-inch (2 ½ cm) intervals. Make them as shallow or as deep as desired but don’t be afraid to cut deep into the ring.

Repeat with the remaining dough, meringue and fillings.

Cover the 2 coffee cakes with plastic wrap and allow them to rise again for 45 to 60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Brush the tops of the coffee cakes with the egg wash. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until risen and golden brown. The dough should sound hollow when tapped.

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