Daring Bakers March Challenge: Meringue filled 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.
Recipe Source: Jamie found this recipe on a piece of yellowed paper in her dad’s collection of clipped out and hand-written recipes from the 1970’s, no source, no date, and she tried the recipe and it was brilliant!

This time, the Daring Bakers helped me to oversome one of my worst fears:  Making yeast dough without my bread machine and with fresh yeast. I usually use dried yeast and my bread mashine when making that kind of dough because otherawise I made the experience that it turns into a non-rising lumpy disaster. I have to confess I acidentally bought the fresh yeast (because I thougt we had to use them), and as I found out I didn't need to I decided to be really daring and started an adventure for me: yeast dough, handmade - and it worked! What I found out: Make sure your yeast ist dissolved completely. Use a wooden spoon and your hands, and knead until the dough feels 'good' (I guess the times before I just didn't knead long enough). With that sense of achievment in mind, I eventually will repeat skipping the bread machine part ;)

For the fillings, I decided to use some dark orange-flavoured chocolate I got as a present (don't like to eat this kind of chocolate pure) and thought a combination with pine nuts would give it an Italian touch (filling I). The other filling was supposed to be a 'real coffee cake filling' with coffee beans and coffee meringue (I just LOVE the combination of chocolate and coffee). Both turned out fine, but I liked the second one better - of course ;) This cake is really genius and versatile, and I'll try some other combinations soon, maybe with jam or fruits (and maybe some savoury ones), so a bit thank you for sharing this recipe!

Note: I had some problems with the meringue leaking out of the cuts because it dind't get stiff enough, so make sure yours does. It doesn't have an influence on the taste, but it does look a little bit nasty ...
When making the dough, you have to add a little bit more fluid that given in the recipe, so add about one tablespoon water extra.

Meringue filled Coffee Cake
makes 2 round coffee cakes, each approximately 10 inches in diameter
recipe can be halved to make one round coffee cake

Yeast cake dough: 
  • 4 cups (600 g / 1.5 lbs.) flour 
  • ¼ cup (55 g / 2 oz.) sugar 
  • ¾ teaspoon (5 g / ¼ oz.) salt 
  • 26 g fresh 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
  • two (old or already emptied) vanilla pods (used some from my vanilla sugar glass)
  • 5 kardamom pods, slightly crushed
  • 3 large egg whites at room temperature 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt 
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla 
  • ½ cup (110 g / 4 oz.) sugar
Filling I ('Italian version'):
  • 100 g bittersweet chocolate with orange zests, coarsly chopped
  • 50 g pine nuts
Filling II ('Real Coffee Cake version'):
  • 6 g instant espresso
  • 100 g chocolate with cocoa nibs (39 % cocoa), coarsly chopped
  • 50 g chocolate covered coffee beans, crushed
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, the sugar, and salt, and make an indentation in the middle. In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter and heat over medium heat until warm and the butter is just melted. Stir in vanilla and cardamom pods and allow to steep off of the heat for 10 minutes. This will give the mixture a distinct aroma and flavor. Stir in the fresh yeast until completely dissolved.
Pouring through a sieve (or just remove the pods), gradually add the warm liquid to the flour mixture (into the indentation), beating until blended with the flour from the sides. Add the eggs and stir again, using a wooden spoon, adding the remaining flour in small portions. Use our hands to make a dough that holds together (a had to add about one tablespoon water otherwise it would have been to dry). Knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic.
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 ingredients. 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. Divide the batch into half, mix one half with the instant espresso powder.

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 
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. 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. 


The Betz Family hat gesagt…

I too had problems with my meringue leaking out and it was pretty stiff when I whipped it up. I think your coffee cakes look great, and the chocolate one sounds delicious (not a fan of coffee myself)! Nice job on the challenge!

Alpineberry Mary hat gesagt…

Happy to hear that you were sucessful in making a yeasted dough by hand. Great job!