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Monday, March 28, 2011

Daring Bakers' Challenge: Meringue Coffee Cakes

daring-kitchen-march-yeasted-merignue-coffee-cake

daring-bakers-orange-chocolate-coffee-cake
You can bake a beautiful wreath coffee cake, oozing with whatever sweet or savory goodies you decide to fill it with.

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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.

The dough is not sweet. In fact, it is described as "brioche" like so if you want sweet, you'll need to create it with the fillings you choose. You can also add a glaze if you have a super sweet tooth.

freshly-picked-california-oranges
Because I live in California, and because I have fresh oranges hanging in my backyard, well, technically the trees are in my neighbor's yards but their branches hang over our fence and I bought my hubby an arial fruit picker for his birthday one year so . . .  I decided I'd go citrus using fresh orange zest in the filling of my coffee cake.

Along with the orange zest I added orange flavored gum drops and bittersweet chocolate chips for my filling.

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The Coffee Cake Dough Ingredients

I hadn't ever worked with yeast before so I was a bit nervous going into this challenge. Due to technical difficulties my dough wasn't quite as fluffy as I'd hoped for but the cake was still very yummy.

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The wet ingredients: Milk, Water and Butter

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The dry ingredients: Flour, Sugar, Salt and Yeast

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Blending the Ingredients together first with a mixer then by hand. Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy! Man I'm out of shape. After kneading the dough for about ten minutes my arms were killing me! I'm pretty sure when I wake up tomorrow morning my arms will be sore. I really need to exercise more.

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The Dough

This is where I went a bit off course. Turns out my house was too cold to allow the yeast to rise. After 45-60 minutes my dough was supposed to double in size. Instead it rose by about 5%. A quick phone call home to my mom and she suggested turning my oven on to 200º degrees for just a minute or so, turning the oven off, then putting the covered bowl of dough (I used a metal mixing bowl, Saran Wrap and a dish towel) into the now warmed oven. It worked like a charm. Another 60 minutes and my dough had easily doubled in size.

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The dough after the first rising.

The recipe calls to split the dough so you can make two wreaths from one batch. When the dough was almost done rising I made the meringue for the filling.

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Meringue ingredients: Sugar, Vanilla, Salt and Egg Whites

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It was really easy. Just beat the ingredients together until the egg whites are stiff.

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Coffee Cake Fillings

For my fillings I used orange slice gumdrops that I'd cut with kitchen shears, allowing them to fall into a small bowl of flour so the cut portions wouldn't stick together. After cutting them apart I dropped them into a wire sieve and allowed the flour to drop off into a bowl to use later to dust my marble pastry board with.

The fresh orange zest I mixed 50/50 with granulated sugar.

The bittersweet chocolate chips were Ghirardelli.

Next time I think I'll add some roasted nuts too. Maybe walnuts or hazel nuts. They'd add a nice flavor and a bit of texture.

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The dough rolled out into a 10x20 inch rectangle with meringue and fillings added. The dough was then rolled into a log (jelly roll style) and formed into a wreath.

The next step was to use kitchen shears to score the wreath every inch. The wreath was covered with Saran Wrap and placed back into the still warm oven. . .

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. . . then was allowed to rise for another 45-60 minutes.

Before baking I brushed the dough with an egg wash using the leftover egg yolks from the meringue, mixed with a bit of heavy cream. I used one TBS of cream to each egg yolk. This made the coffee cake dough shiny after being baked.

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The wreath after baking for 25 minutes. The meringue became chewy where exposed to air through the slits and the rest baked into the dough.

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For the second coffee cake I only added chocolate chips because hubby doesn't like fruit flavored desserts.

Before the dough was allowed to rise the second time . . .
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. . . and after rising for another 60 minutes (below). The difference in size after the second rising is quite dramatic!

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The chocolate meringue coffee cake after baking for 25 minutes at 350º.

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If you'd like to bake this coffee cake yourself you can download the recipe as a printable PDF by CLICKING HERE.

And each month I like to feature examples by other talented Daring Bakers. The photo montage shows just how varied our sweet and savory results were even though we all started with the same basic recipe. Take a peek and be inspired!


Row 1
Audax Artifex: Tomato Pesto Cheese Dough with Speck and Pineapple
Audax Artifex: Tomato Pesto Cheese Dough with Olive and Mortadella
Aliciag: Chocolate and Pecans

Row 2
Within the Kitchen: Chocolate Chips, Peanut Butter Chips, Walnuts and Caramel
That Skinny Chick Can Bake: Apple and Cinnamon
Diabetic Sinners: Blueberry, Lemon Zest and Almonds

Row 3
Aeroflot Reh: Marionberry, Honey, and Almond
Barbara Bakes: Cranberry and Orange
Sweet and Saucy: Dried Plum, Almond and White Chocolate

Row 4
Aeroflot Reh: Marionberry, Honey, and Almond
Cooking Rookie: Chocolate
An Aspiring Foodie: Cinnamon and Chocolate Chips


Thank you Ria and Jamie! This was a great and fun challenge and I learned how to work with yeast! I'll definitely be trying something savory the next time I make this dough.



If you liked this post you'll enjoy these Bakers' Challenges too:

• January 2011: Fancy Joconde Imprime Entremet
• February 2011: Panna Cotta and Florentine Cookies
• April 2011: Edible Container and Maple Mousse

18 comments:

  1. The large slashes of your cake made it look even yummier!! And your flavor combination sounds delicious! Great job!!

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  2. Thank you Renata! LOL as the fillings were seeping out from every which way I thought "Oh Boy, my first flop!" But then it all came out neat and tidy looking by the time the cakes finished baking. Lucky me :)

    Your savory loaves are GORGEOUS and have definitely inspired me to take on savory options in the near future.

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  3. WOW how good do your cakes look (perfect in fact) I just love how you slashed them so well and both versions sound so delicious but the orange one is my favourite superb work on this challenge. And a big thank you for including two of my creations (I really like recipe for savoury fillings as well).

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

    OBYW the correct spelling is Audax Artifex (LOL).

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  4. It looks beautiful and the citrus combination sounds great. Wish I could get oranges off the tree here in Minnesota.

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  5. Both of your versions look wonderful, and I am sure they both tasted absolutely delicious! You are so lucky to have fresh oranges right in your (neighbor's...) backyard!! Great work on the challenge.

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  6. Your coffee cake looks so scrumptious that it could even motivate me to take up coffee itself. :-) And I guess the workout you get from kneading the dough offsets the caloric input created by all of this yummy goodness so it's a healthy wash.

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  7. Thanks Audax! I slashed the wreath every inch as per the directions. I was afraid the whole thing would fall apart but it did turn out nicely in the end. And sorry about spelling Aftifex wrong. I need to add the correct spelling to my spell checker so I don't slip up again :)

    Thank you Todd and Shelly I am lucky to have fresh oranges. I just recently received a lime tree for Valentine's day so in a year or so I can be baking with fresh lime zest and juice too :)

    Go for it Carl. I can only imagine what you would come up with! You can always go savory. I think that would be right up your alley. And yes, it's a healthy wash. Good way to look at it. But after eating two pieces of cake last night I think I have to knead for twice as long next time :P

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  8. Good for you for kneading by hand... I let me dough hook and mixer do the "heavy lifting" for me...! Your citrus filling sounds like a lot of fun with the gumdrops in it. Did they maintain their shape or did they melt a bit into the filling? I hope your neighbor encourages you to "borrow" from the tree - the results are amazing!

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  9. Hi Ruth,

    The gumdrops soften as they bake but hold their shape when they cool. I'm told technically, on any branches that overhang our property line the fruit is ours to take. But it's more fun to say we steal them. Under the cover of darkness :)

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  10. May I just say WOW? The orange zest, gumdrops and chocolate cake looks AWESOME, and I bet the texture was good too :-) You are so lucky to have those orange trees "available" :-D

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  11. Looks so nice, yep anything hanging over your fence is up for grabs.

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  12. Yum...they look absolutely delicious! Thanks for commenting on mine =)

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  13. Thank you ufrv, stitch1peta andthedaintyapron.

    Still eating the cake and think it tastes as good as the first day. I froze some too to see how it would thaw out :)

    And we're so lucky our neighbors don't trim their trees!

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  14. Both of your versions look great. How lucky that you can get fresh oranges right outside your door!
    Best, Sandie

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  15. Yum...they look absolutely delicious! Thanks for commenting on mine =)

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  16. The large slashes of your cake made it look even yummier!! And your flavor combination sounds delicious! Great job!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Your coffee cake looks so scrumptious that it could even motivate me to take up coffee itself. :-) And I guess the workout you get from kneading the dough offsets the caloric input created by all of this yummy goodness so it's a healthy wash.

    ReplyDelete
  18. It looks beautiful and the citrus combination sounds great. Wish I could get oranges off the tree here in Minnesota.

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