Girls’ night out. We are heading to the cinema and, as every time, we are sharing the car. This is my turn to drive to the nearby town to go to the movies, so is Laura to enter my car. As soon as she opens the door she is overwhelmed by a sweet and tropical smell, mixed with the fairy icing sugar lingering in the air. Right on the dashboard there’s a parcel wrapped in aluminium foil, reflecting the night lights. She looks at me, than at the parcel, then stares back at me: what’s that?
It was her part of my Yeasted Meringue Coffee cake.
Would you rather cook or eat? If you had to choose, in an hypothetical and apocalyptic end of the world as we know it today, just one thing to do, cook for someone or eat what someone else has cooked for you, what would you choose? The voluptuous and satisfying eating or the mind-blowing and rewarding cooking? Despite my sweet tooth, I assume I would choose cook for someone, because when I’m not able to throw myself into the kitchen even for a short period of time, I start to feel a physical urge pushing me toward the stove. Are you a cooking or an eating person? Quite hard to single out, I admit.
For the moment, since there’s no need to pick from cook and eat, every time I can, I cook or bake a double portion. A helping is to be eaten by my family and me, a helping is for my friend. How to kill two birds with one stone!
Here the 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!
FILLED MERINGUE COFFEE CAKE
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) flour
- ¼ cup (55 g) sugar
- ¾ teaspoon (5 g) salt
- 1 package (7 g) active dried yeast
- ¾ cup (180 ml) whole milk
- ¼ cup (60 ml) water
- ½ cup (135 g) 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) sugar
For the filling, my version:
- 2 Tablespoons (30 g) granulated sugar
- 8 Tablespoons desiccated coconut
- 1 cup (170 g) coarsely chopped dark chocolate
Egg wash: 1 beaten egg
Cocoa powder (optional) and confectioner’s sugar (powdered/icing sugar) for dusting cakes.
- 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. The rising time will depend on the type of yeast you use.
Prepare your filling
- In a small bowl, combine the sugar and the desiccated coconut.
- Add the chopped chocolate.
Make the meringue
- 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 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.
- Now, roll up the dough jelly roll 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.
- Cover the 2 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.
- 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 if using chocolate in the filling. These are best eaten fresh, the same day or the next day.