I call this Coffee Cake my "Deal Breaker". Ever since the first of the year (over 3 months), I've been in a deal with myself and food. I've been eating in moderation, counting calories and exercising more, using the Weight Watcher's point system and monitoring to make sure I get plenty of water and NOT plenty of chocolate. Until now. Until this month's Daring Bakers Challenge. Until this...
This spongy bread roll of sweet meringue, Belgium Chocolate, toasted almonds and orange zest is a ring of break-apart, pull-apart handfuls of chewable irresistible temptation. Not to mention, it's hard to type with melted chocolate on your fingers.
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.
See this plate with a sensible serving size of Coffee Cake sitting so pretty on it? That was not the problem. The problem was the pan in the background, the one with only HALF of the whole circle left because the rest of it is on my thighs!
Okay, back to reality tomorrow. I'll be giving the rest of this away. I can't even express how good this Coffee Cake is, but it's a heart breaking deal breaking yeast-beast. It can take an adult female down a chocolate-induced coma alley and make her literally eat off the serving platter because getting another plate would just take too long.
If you dare -- bake this. If you have people who can help you eat it before you eat it all -- bake this.
I'm not sorry I baked it. I'm not sorry I ate it. I will get back to sanity within 24 hours, and I will remember that the next time... the next time... I want to really go nuts on a sweet addictive Coffee Cake -- I will bake this, AGAIN!RECIPE: (as given to us by Daring Bakers)
FILLED MERINGUE COFFEE CAKE [MY ALTERATIONS ARE IN BRACKETS]
Makes 2 round coffee cakes, each approximately 10 inches in diameter
[I cut this recipe in half and made one]
For the yeast coffee cake dough:
4 cups (600 g / 1.5 lbs.) flour 1
⁄4 cup (55 g / 2 oz.) sugar
3⁄4 teaspoon (5 g / 1⁄4 oz.) salt
1 package (2 1⁄4 teaspoons / 7 g / less than an ounce) active dried yeast
3⁄4 cup (180 ml / 6 fl. oz.) whole milk
1⁄4 cup (60 ml / 2 fl. oz. water (doesn’t matter what temperature)
1⁄2 cup (135 g / 4.75 oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature
[I used half of the above ingredients and added 1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg, and zest of one orange]
For the meringue:
3 large egg whites at room temperature
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla
1⁄2 cup (110 g / 4 oz.) sugar
For the filling:
[I used 2 egg whites, pinch of salt, 1/4 tsp. vanilla and 1/4 cup sugar]
1 cup (110 g / 4 oz.) chopped pecans or walnuts
2 Tablespoons (30 g / 1 oz.) granulated sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (170 g / 6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips or coarsely chopped chocolate
[I used toasted almonds, and belgium chocolate disks the cinnamon, sugar and a pinch of dried orange zest]
Prepare the dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 1⁄2 cups (230 g) of the flour [3/4 cup], 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 (150 g) flour [ 1/2 cup] 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 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 1⁄2 cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.Assemble the Coffee Cakes: Line 2 baking/cookie sheets [I used 1] with parchment paper.
Punch down the dough. On a lightly floured surface, working one piece of the dough at a time, roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch (about 51 x 25 1⁄2 cm) rectangle. Spread meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch (3/4 cm) from the edges. Sprinkle 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. [I used a mold to keep the center in a circle].Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife (although scissors are easier), 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 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.