Do you know the Daring Kitchen website? If you like a challenge, and you love cooking, then this is the site for you. Go google it. (i’d put in a linky thing, but I seem to have lost the ability to do that).
Anyway, 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.
It was awesome. It was something I would NEVER have attempted, but in reality it was actually pretty straightforward to make. So, thank you Daring Kitchen for encouraging me to make this scrumptious cakey thing.
My instruction was to make two cakes, but I just made the one. This is the recipe for making the one cake, approx 10” in diameter. I have included the alternative filling ingredients at the end… and I think I might try this alternative version in the next couple of weeks. After I’ve moved flat.
FILLED MERINGUE COFFEE CAKE
Not sure why it’s called a coffee cake, there is no coffee in it. Perhaps it’s a technical term for a cake made with yeast? Any thoughts anyone?
For the yeast cake dough:
2 cups (300 g / 12oz) flour
1/8 cup (25 g / 1 oz.) sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ sachet (1 tsp) active dried yeast
3/8 cup (90 ml / 3 fl. oz.) whole milk
1/8 cup (30 ml / 1 fl. oz. water (doesn’t matter what temperature)
¼ cup (65 g / 2.5oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 large egg at room temperature
For the meringue:
2 egg whites at room temperature
pinch of salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup (55 g / 2 oz.) sugar
For the filling:
½ cup (55 g / 2 oz.) chopped pecans or walnuts
1 Tbsp (15 g / ½ oz.) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup (85 g / 3 oz.) dark chocolate, chopped roughly
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 1/3 cups of the flour with 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. Ria’s version: add the 10 saffron threads to the warmed liquid and allow to steep off of the heat for 10 minutes. This will give the mixture a distinct aroma and flavor and a yellowish-orange hue.
- 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 ½ 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 remaining flour) and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic, keeping the work surface floured, adding extra flour as needed.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk (probably about 45 – 60 minutes). The rising time will depend on the type of yeast used and the temperature of the room
Prepare your filling:
- In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar for the filling. Chop your chocolate and nuts, and keep them in separate bowls.
Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue:
- 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.
Assemble the Coffee Cakes:
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Punch down the dough and divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch (about 51 x 25 ½ cm) rectangle.
- Spread the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch (3/4 cm) from the edges.
- Sprinkle the filling 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.
- Cover the 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 top of the cake 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 baking sheet onto the table. Very gently loosen the cake from the paper with a large spatula and carefully slide the cake onto a cooling rack.
- Allow to cool.
- Just before serving, dust the top of the cake with icing sugar and cocoa powder if using chocolate in the filling. I forgot to do this and it didn’t seem to mar the enjoyment of the cake.
These cakes are best eaten fresh, the same day or the next day, although I quite liked it as it got slightly chewier after a day or two. But ok, best on the day it’s made. Warm with ice cream. Oh yes!
For the other version you will need 10 strands saffron for the dough. (Saffron might be hard to find and it’s expensive, so you can substitute with ½ – 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom or ground nutmeg.)
Ria’s version filling:
1 cup (130 g / 5 oz.) chopped cashew nuts
2 Tablespoons (30 g / 1 oz.) granulated sugar
½ teaspoon garam masala (You can make it at home – recipe below – or buy from any Asian/Indian grocery store)
1 cup (170g / 6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips ( I used Ghirardelli)
**Garam (means “hot”) masala (means “mixture”) is a blend of ground spices and is used in most Indian savory dishes. It is used in limited quantities while cooking vegetables, meats & eggs. There is no “one” recipe for it as every household has a recipe of their own. Below, I am going to share the recipe which I follow.
4 or 5 sticks (25 g) Cinnamon Sticks (break a stick and open the scroll)
3 ½ tablespoons (25 g / less than an ounce) Cloves, whole
100 g. (3.5 oz.) Fennel seeds
4 tablespoons (25 g / less than an ounce) Cumin seeds
1 ½ tablespoons (10 g / less than half an ounce) Peppercorns
25 g (less than half an ounce) Green Cardamom pods
In a small pan on medium heat, roast each spice individually (it hardly takes a minute) until you get a nice aroma. Make sure you stir it throughout so that it doesn’t burn. As soon as each spice is roasted, transfer it to a bowl to cool slightly. Once they are all roasted, grind into a fine powder by using a coffee grinder, or pestle & mortar. Store in an airtight container and use as needed.