VCU Men's Basketball WON against Kansas! We are going to the final four! I am so excited. Please join me and cheer us on next Saturday night. Now to something else delightful...
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. Their full instructions can be found here. Inspired by Ria's use of saffron to flavor the dough and some tea bags I had I came up with Chai Coconut for my flavoring.
As you can see it got a little too brown while I watched VCU beat Purdue last Sunday, the ring didn't match up perfectly and the meringue oozed a little during the second rise, which bothered me wasn't really bad as the ooze was chewy and delicious once baked. I also forgot to put the granulated sugar/cayenne inside so I brushed the outside with the egg wash, sprinkled some on and then brushed with more egg wash. It worked though I will try it the regular way to see what difference it makes to the texture.
Regardless of these little imperfections, I loved the end result. This cake is just sweet enough for a slightly indulgent breakfast and has a fun crunch thanks to the coconut and a kick from the ginger and cayenne. I highly recommend that you make some version of it, if you haven't already. This bread really reminded me of stollen and that is a high compliment as it was one of my favorite Daring Kitchen challenges to date.
Filled Meringue Coffee Cake
Halved to make 1 round coffee cake, approximately 10 inches in diameter.
For the yeast coffee cake dough
2 cups flour
1/8 cup sugar
1/4 and 1/8 teaspoons salt
1 1/8 teaspoons active dried yeast
1/3 cup whole milk
1/8 cup water
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1 Celestial Seasonings' Decaf Sweet Coconut Chai tea bag
For the meringue
1.5 large egg whites at room temperature (made that happen with Just Whites)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 scant teaspoon vanilla
2 drops coconut extract
1/4 cup sugar
For the filling
1/2 cup Unsweetened Coconut, shredded
1/2 cup Semisweet Chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 HEAPING tablespoon Candied Ginger, Chopped (need to find a better way
1 beaten egg
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Prepare the dough
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 3/4 cups of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast.
2. In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter and heat over medium heat until warm and the butter is just melted. Add the Decaf Sweet Coconut Chai tea bag and steep off of the heat for 10 minutes.
3. 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 1/2 cup flour and beat for 2 more minutes.
4. Add enough of the remaining flour to the mixer and run until the dough holds together (this required almost an additional full cup of flour for me). Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough for approximately 5 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic, adding extra flour as needed.
5. 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. The rising time will depend on the type of yeast you use.
Prepare your filling:
1. In a small bowl, combine the cayenne and sugar for the filling if using. Chop chocolate and ginger. Measure out coconut.
Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue:
1. In a clean mixing bowl (plastic or glass) 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.
2. Add the vanilla and coconut then start adding the 1/4 cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.
Assemble the Coffee Cake:
1. Line baking/cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. Punch down the dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch 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.
3. Roll up the dough jellyroll style, from the long side. Pinch the seam closed to seal.
4. Very carefully transfer the filled log to 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.
5. Using kitchen scissors , make cuts along the outside edge at 1-inch intervals. Make them as shallow or as deep as desired but don’t be afraid to cut deep into the ring.
6. Cover the coffee cake with plastic wrap and allow it to rise again for 45 to 60 minutes.
7. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
8. Brush the top of the coffee 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.
9. Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper off the cookie sheet onto the table. Very gently loosen the coffee cake from the paper with a large spatula and carefully slide it onto cooling racks. Allow to cool.
10. Enjoy! These are best eaten fresh, the same day or the next day.
I like to hold the bowl upside down to prove I have reached stiff peaks. It makes for a nice little thrill.