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.
Our hostesses instructed us to roll up our sleeves, put our hands wrist-deep in some smooth, silky dough, and create a yeast-risen coffee cake - a brioche-like dough, rolled jellyroll style around a layer of whipped meringue and our chosen filling, shaped into a wreath, and baked.
"Beautiful to put together, and gorgeous out of the oven, the cake is light and fluffy,
barely sweet, and the meringue miraculously melts into the dough as it bakes,
leaving behind just a hint of sweetness and adding to the perfect moistness of the cake."
Jamie provided us with her all-American version (cinnamon, chopped pecans and chopped chocolate) and Ria's version incorporated Indian flavors (saffron added to the sweet yeast bread dough, and garam masala, cashews, and semi-sweet chocolate chips in the filling). We were free to try one of their versions, or get creative and create our own personal flavor variation. They suggested we let our own national cuisine inspire us.
My inspiration for our coffee cake came from the amazingly decadent Apple Pie Caramel Apples at Fuzziwigs Candy Factory in Coronado. A crunchy, juicy, sweet apple, dipped in gooey caramel, dipped in melted white chocolate, and then rolled in cinnamon sugar, best cut with one of those apple corer/slicer doohickeys, and eaten by the slice.
With a squeeze bottle of John's Bourbon Street Madness caramel sauce still in the refrigerator, the filling for our Saturday morning coffee cake was a no-brainer: Apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, white chocolate, and bourbon-caramel sauce. I didn't shape mine into a wreath - too much like the Stollen we made at Christmas-time.
Bourbon Street Madness Caramel Apple Filled Meringue Coffee Cake
Adapted from Filled Meringue Coffee Cake
Makes one coffee cake and serves 8
For the yeast coffee cake dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 package active dried yeast (3.5 grams)
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg at room temperature
For the meringue:
2 large egg whites at room temperature
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
1/4 cup sugar
For the filling:
2 large apples (peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup caramel sauce
Egg wash: 1 beaten egg
Extra caramel sauce and/or powdered sugar for serving.
Prepare the dough:
In a large mixing bowl, combine 3/4 cup of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast.
In a saucepan, combine the milk 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 egg and 1/2 cup flour and beat for 2 more minutes.
Using a wooden spoon, stir in about 1/2 cup of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together. Turn out onto a floured surface (using the remaining 1/4 cup of flour) 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 oiled bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 45 – 60 minutes.
Prepare your filling:
Place the chopped apples in medium bowl, add the lemon juice and stir to coat the apples with juice. In a small bowl, stir together the cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar, and sprinkle over the apples. Toss together to incorporate.
Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue:
In the clean mixing bowl of your electric mixer, 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 sugar, a little bit at at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.
Assemble the Coffee Cake:
Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
Punch down the dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch rectangle. Spread the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch from the edges. Distribute the apple mixture and chopped white chocolate evenly over the meringue. Squeeze caramel sauce all over (that's John's hairy arm).
Roll up the dough jellyroll style, from the long side. Pinch the ends closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to the lined cookie sheet, seam side down.
Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife (although scissors are easier), make cuts along both outside edges of the roll, at about 2-inch intervals. Make the cuts about 1-inch deep.
Cover the coffee cake with plastic wrap and allow it to rise again for 45 to 60 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
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.
Transfer baking sheet to cooling rack and allow to cool.
For the complete challenge recipes, please visit The Daring Kitchen Recipe Archive, and take a browse-through the Daring Bakers' Blogroll to see what some of the other members created this month. There are some fabulous savory versions also.
Thank you, Ria and Jamie! Although I procrastinated until the last minute and almost skipped this one, we were rewarded with a lovely Saturday morning coffee cake.