Challenges like this aren't really my favorite. I prefer baking cakes which require frostings, glazes and lots of cream! Dry cakes are more my mother's style. But, it's a challenge and I had to make it. It looks a lot like one of the previous challenges, the Christmas Stollen, but it's much simpler to make and it takes a lot less time too. Although the recipe made enough dough for two coffee cakes, I divided it so I only made one. After all, I don't want any leftovers because I baked too many cakes.
The March 2011 Daring Bakers' 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.
Yeast Coffee Cake Dough
2 cups (300 g) flour
1/8 cup (27 g) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon (3.5 g) active dried yeast
3/8 cup (90 ml) whole milk
1/8 cup (30 ml) water
1/4 cup (65 g) butter at room temperature
1 large egg at room temperature
- In a large mixing bowl, combine 3/4 cups (115 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 egg and 1/2 cup (75 g) of the 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 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 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.
1-2 large egg whites at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
- In a clean mixing bowl beat the egg whites with the salt, first on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high and continue beating until foamy and opaque.
- Add the vanilla, then start adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.
I didn't use the filling recipes provided. Instead, I used all the good stuff from the pantry: chocolate, peanut butter, walnuts... A little less than 100 g (about 3 oz) dark chocolate (plus additional nuts or whatever you decide to put in it) is just enough for this cake. I filled one cake with chocolate, cinnamon and walnuts; and the other one with dark chocolate, a few pieces of white chocolate and a few spoonfuls of peanut butter. Make sure you sprinkle about 2 spoons (30 g) sugar over everything, since the dough itself contains almost no sugar.
Assembling and baking the Coffee Cake
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Punch down the dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 20x10 inch (about 50 x 25 cm) rectangle.
- Spread half of the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2 inch (3/4 cm) from the edges.
- Sprinkle the filling of your choice evenly over the meringue.
- Roll up the dough jelly roll 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, make cuts along the outside edge at 1-inch (2 1/2 cm) intervals. Make them as shallow or as deep as desired but don't be afraid to cut deep into the ring.
- Cover the 2 coffee cakes with plastic wrap and allow them to rise again for 45-60 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Brush the tops of the coffee cake with egg wash. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until risen and golden brown. The dough should sound hollow when tapped.
- Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper off the baking sheet onto the table. Very gently loosen the coffee cake from the paper with a large spatula and carefully slide the cakes off onto cooling racks. Allow to cool.
- Just before serving, dust the tops of the coffee cake with confectioners sugar.
At the end, I liked this cake. I made it two times! First time, it was finished in the evening when it was already dark, so no photos. I couldn't wait until morning either because everyone expects something baked when they come home. Therefore, I had to make another one. This time, I added chunks of peanut butter, which you can see if you look closely at the first photo. It tasted good, but there's still room for improvement. The final form of the cake is weird, don't you think? The hole in the middle simply disappeared while in the oven and this strange thing came out. But I loved it anyway.
By the way, the dough really was sexy and elastic! Definitely a lot sexier than the Stollen dough.
Approximate cost: 3 €