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Monday, March 28, 2011

daring bakers march 2011: yeasted meringue coffee cake

Daring Bakers March 2011 - Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake

The March 2011 Daring Bakers' Challenge was to create a yeasted meringue coffee cake. Since I am currently living solo, I decided it was wise to half the recipe to only make one full round that I could share with the office. One bite of this moist coffee cake left me quickly regretting this decision. The meringue is such a unique player in this dish, creating a slightly chewy, crispy surprise where exposed and simply melting to create a subtly sweet and moist interior where hidden.

Daring Bakers March 2011 - Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake
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 coffee cake is one of the best 'coffee cakes' I've had to date. Although, it's not like your typical crumbly coffee cake {which I tend not to love} which is probably why I find it so tasty. It would be a lovely addition to any brunch gathering or simply a weekend treat for the family. Make sure to make a full recipe that yields two cakes, you'll need both once you taste how good these are. Also, I recommend serving and eating right out of the oven. It was still good the next day, but nothing in comparison to fresh from the oven. Enjoy!
Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake
Makes 2 round coffee cakes, each approximately 10 inches in diameter
The recipe can easily be halved to make one round coffee cake

INGREDIENTS:
For the yeast coffee cake dough:
4 cups flour
¼ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons) active dried yeast
¾ cup whole milk
¼ cup water (doesn’t matter what temperature)
½ cup 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 sugar

For the filling:
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup 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
Daring Bakers March 2011 - Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake



PREPARATION:
Prepare the dough:
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 ½ cups 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 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:
In a clean mixing bowl – ideally a plastic or metal bowl so the egg whites adhere to the side (they slip on glass) and you don’t end up with liquid remaining in the bottom – 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 ½ cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.
Daring Bakers March 2011 - Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake
Assembly:
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 half of the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch 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 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.
Daring Bakers March 2011 - Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

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.

Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper off the cookie sheets onto the table. Very gently loosen the coffee cakes 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 cakes with confectioner’s sugar as well as cocoa powder if using chocolate in the filling. These are best eaten fresh, the same day or the next day.
Daring Bakers March 2011 - Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake

4 comments:

briarrose said...

What a cool coffee cake. The meringue is such an interesting filling addition.

Maris (In Good Taste) said...

Your cake look so perfect. The addition of meringue is so interesting and I can't wait to try this.

Pink Martini said...

Your photos are beautiful and demonstrates your skills perfectly. I think I have devoured the entire cake!

Irvin at Eat the Love said...

You're coffee cake looks great! The meringue really was a great surprise addition to the cake wasn't it? I didn't know how it would work out and it totally adds another layer to it.

Love the photographs. Gorgeous.