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.
And, in case you get confused like me - no, there is no coffee in this cake. I scoured the ingredients time and time again thinking I was missing something but apparently a coffee cake in this sense is one to be eaten alongside a cup rather than flavoured with coffee.
I was intrigued by the meringue in the cake. It turns out that it cooks into a chewy meringue in the bits that are exposed by the cuts in the dough whereas elsewhere it simply disappears leaving a sweet moisture within the cake.
I made my one with Jamie's version which included pecans, cinnamon and chocolate although I changed the pecans to almonds as that is what I had in the house.
I ended up with something which very reminded me of something from a French patisserie - a bit pain au chocolate and a little bit Danish.
I think I should have put a little more chocolate in my one as I found it a little bit dry but Steve enjoyed it. I was also inspired by other Bakers versions and would like to try a savoury version. According to Audax (who made many versions - some rather surprising - check out the one made with sweeties!) the cheese and meringue mix to make a lovely gooey, oozy sauce. I also liked versions made with apples and sultanas - yum. Definitely one to try again with different fillings.
Makes 2 cakes.
For the dough -
600g plain flour
3/4 tsp salt
7g active dried yeast (I just bunged in a lump of fresh yeast)
180ml whole milk
135g unsalted butter at room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature
For the meringue -
3 large egg whites at room temperature
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the filling -
110g flaked almonds
2 tbs granulated sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (I used more)
170g plain chocolate chips (I just used what I had which probably wasn't as much as this and I think it really needed the full amount)
Egg wash - 1 beaten egg.
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 230g of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast.
2. In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter and heat over a medium heat until warm and the butter is just melted.
3. With an electric mixer on low speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended.
4. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 mins. Add the eggs and 150g flour and beat for 2 more mins.
5. Using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together.
6. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead the dough for 8-10 mins until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic.
7. Place the dough in a lightly greased 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 mins.
8. Prepare your filling. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon.
9. Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue. In a clean mixing bowl (ideally plastic or metal so the egg whites adhere to the side), beat the egg whites with the salt, first on low speed for 30s then increase to high and continue beating until foamy and opaque.
10. Add the vanilla then start adding the sugar a tbsp at a time as you beat until very stiff, glossy peaks form.
11. Assemble the cake. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
12. Punch down the dough and divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, working one piece of dough at a time, rollout the dough into a 20"X10" rectangle.
13. Spread half of the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2" from the edges. Sprinkle half the sugar/cinnamon mixture over the meringue followed by half the nuts and half the chocolate.
14. Now roll up the dough from the long side. Pinch the seam closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to one of the lined baking 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.
15. Using kitchen scissors, make cuts along the outside edge at 1" intervals. Make them as shallow or deep as desired.
16. Repeat with the remaining dough, meringue and fillings.
17. Cover the cakes with plastic wrap and allow them to rise again for 45 to 60 mins.
18. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
19. Brush the tops of the cakes with egg wash.
20. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 mins until risen and golden brown.
21. Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper off the cookie sheets onto the table. Very gently loosen from the paper and slide onto cooling racks. Allow to cool.
22. Just before serving, dust the tops with icing sugar and cocoa powder. Best eaten fresh the same day or the next day.