Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Daring Baker's Challenge March 2011 - Yeasted Meringue 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.

This month The Daring Baker's had fun with yeast and a very unusual recipe. 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! After a bit of googling I seemed to get the idea that this is a typical coffee cake of Eastern Europe which is filled with a whipped meringue and usually nuts, chocolate and spice. The meringue melts into the yeasted, brioche-like dough and cannot be detected after baking apart from a little around the cut edges.

The dough has an absolutely, wonderful silky texture which is a dream to work with and I know I will use it again and again for many sweet breads. For our family we found the result was bit on the dry side not unlike panettone (not necessarily a bad thing - we love panettone). Maybe I beat the meringue until it was too dry. I tried the recipe again leaving out the meringue and we all thought it was much more moist. Also in the second meringue-less version I increased the filling to 1 cup chocolate, 1 cup nuts and 1 teaspoon cinnamon for each cake. All in all this is a wonderful recipe and many Daring Bakers found it very moist - I'm not sure what I did wrong. Regardless this dough recipe is one to be treasured and shared.

Thank you Jamie for giving us this wonderful gift.


Makes 2 round coffee cakes, each approximately 10 inches in diameter

The recipe can easily be halved to make one round coffee cake

For the yeast coffee cake dough:

4 cups (600 g / 1.5 lbs.) flour
¼ cup (55 g / 2 oz.) sugar
¾ teaspoon (5 g / ¼ oz.) salt
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons / 7 g / less than an ounce) active dried 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

For the meringue:
3 large egg whites at room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup (110 g / 4 oz.) sugar

For the filling:
1 cup (110 g / 4 oz.) chopped pecans or walnuts
2 Tablespoons (30 g / 1 oz.) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (170 g / 6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips or coarsely chopped chocolate

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 ½ cups (230 g) of the flour, 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 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 1 ½ cups of flour remaining) 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 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.

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 ½ 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 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 (ex: half of the cinnamon-sugar followed by half the chopped nuts and half of the chocolate chips/chopped chocolate).

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.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Cover the 2 coffee cakes with plastic wrap and allow them to rise again for 45 to 60 minutes.

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. These are best eaten fresh, the same day or the next day.


Again thank you to Jamie and Ria for hosting this months Daring Baker's Challenge. Many Daring Bakers were very creative in their choices of fillings even daring to try savoury fillings. Ria's Indian-inspired version can be found here along with the original recipe and more hints and tips.


  1. io non conosco l'inglese ,qualche parolina ma dalle foto questo dolce e meraviglioso...complimenti!!!Un abbraccio

  2. Great job Marcellina. I agree that the dough was a dream to work with.

  3. As everything you do, it's perfection! Delicious looking, so fluffy! Wonderful job, Marcellina!
    I don't know if it was only with me, but I couldn't see your photos on the page, had to click them and view on a different page...(?)

  4. Ciao Marcellina ! Magnifico lavoro ! I wish I lived closer to get to taste it !!

  5. I've never made a yeasted cake - I suppose that is why you are the "daring bakers" - kudos to you. And could use a slice of that delectable.

  6. Sorry about the problem with photos. I hope you get it resolved. Nice job! This was indeed a fun challenge.

  7. I loved this dough too! You did a great job - wish I could give advice about the photo situation...
    Best, Sandie

  8. Che meraviglia!Dev'essere di un buono!Un abbraccio e buonissima serata

  9. Che meraviglia!Dev'essere di un buono!Un abbraccio e buonissima serata

  10. Well done Marcellina, another great effort!

  11. lovelly cakes! it was a great challenge

  12. Marcellina, so sorry about your photo problems, but getting to see the photo of your beautiful coffee cake in full pixels, was well worth the click :) I totally agree that this dough was amazing, probably the best I've ever worked with as far as rolling and stretching went - so silky! Fantastic job on your lovely and delicious looking coffee cake!

  13. Thank you all for your wonderful comments. I have now fixed the problem with the photo's - it must have been a glitch in the system.

  14. Marcellina, your coffee cake is absolutely stunning! I love how airy it looks from the baked picture! And you just cant go wrong with that filling! Love it!!

  15. I have to say the cake looks so beautiful and yes the dough is outstanding dare I say 'sexy' great job and stunning work on this challenge.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  16. Your cake is perfectly risen! This is one of my favorite challenges because the dough was so easy to work with. Great job on this challenge!

  17. It's wonderful!!!!!!!!
    Marcellina sei sempre bravissma!
    Se prendo ora l'aereo ce la faccio ancora per una fetta?
    Me lo rifai quando vemgo in viaggio di nozze?
    BACI Kisses

  18. It's wonderful!!!!!!!!
    Marcellina sei sempre bravissma!
    Se prendo ora l'aereo ce la faccio ancora per una fetta?
    Me lo rifai quando vemgo in viaggio di nozze?
    BACI Kisses

  19. Great job!!! Love the beautiful photos, especially the one with all of your fillings sprinkled over the dough. :)

  20. Beautiful job - your finished coffee cake looks absolutely delicious. I love the shot of the dough rolled out with all of the filling on top, just waiting to be rolled up - it looks so full and flavorful and almost decadent! Really great job on the challenge.

  21. Oh, my that sculpted coffee cake looks simply divine. I love streusel filling, this one's buonissima! The ring shape with the incisions is so unusual!

    Thank you for your kinds words and for visiting over at my little Italian kitchen. I'm happy you enjoyed the Pastiera recipe. You know you can find "grano cotto" in my amazon store. Here's the product link in case you have a hard time finding it in your neck of the woods. I also sell candied citron and orange blossom water!

    Eleonora xx

  22. Wow! Yours really raised well - it looks beautiful. I felt mine fell flat a bit (since I overstuffed). Next time, I'll make it with this filling, since I really do love coffee cake of all kinds.

  23. Your coffee wreath looks lovely. I personally don't like yeasted coffeecakes but it was a hit here! Must agree that dough has a lot of possibilities. :)

  24. You did such a wonderful job there! I really want to give this a go. After all it's getting cooler here and nothing warms the house better than the oven!

  25. Simply gorgeous! And nothing else to say...


  26. Your cake looks great! I'm sorry to hear it's dray. Mine wasn't, but I think that's because I overfilled it and there was maybe even more filling than dough :D Btw, pannettone is one of my most favourite Christmas breads/cakes!

  27. Mamma mia che spettacolo divino!!!!

    See you soon!

    PS: Puoi scrivermi il tuo indirizzo e-mail? Così ti posso inviare la tua "Ricetta della Porta Accanto"!
    La mia mail è:

    Grazie Mille!
    A presto e buon week-end!

  28. Such a beautiful bread wreath! I love that you didn't skimp on the filling. YUM!

  29. That looks scrumptious - like something you'd see in a fancy bakery.

  30. I noticed your beautiful picture of coconut cherry bon bons posted on and no credit or link was given for the picture or the recipe. This is against rules but the owner of the recipe/picture must ask that it be removed.


Thank you for taking the time to comment and for letting me know what you think!