This month’s challenge was an adventure in yeasted dough. For this yeasted meringue coffee cake, a brioche-like dough is rolled jellyroll style around a whipped meringue and flavorful filling. The dough is then carefully shaped into a wreath and baked. While baking, the true magic happens – the meringue melts into the dough and creates a perfectly tender and superbly moist cake.
The only mandatory item was that we make the sweet yeast dough for the coffee cake and the meringue. The additional filling ingredients were left open to the creativity of each individual baker.
I’ve really tried to make a commitment to baking with only whole grains this year, so I altered the recipe to reflect this choice. I’ve also been challenging myself to use up ingredients I already have on hand rather than going out and buying all new stuff, so after going through the pantry, freezer, and fridge I decided on a dough made with a mixture of spelt flour and almond meal and a filling comprised of chopped almonds, dates, cinnamon, and dark chocolate chunks.
With ingredients in hand, I set to work on the coffee cake and everything was going great up until the rolling of the dough. As I rolled the dough, meringue began oozing out all over my workspace. I tried wiping and cleaning up as much meringue as I could so that I could properly seal the jelly roll, but it was quite a mess! Then I started to try and shape the wreath but with all the meringue everywhere and a lumpy jellyroll of dough I decided the wreath was a lost cause, so I just shaped the jellyroll into a loaf by pinching up the ends of the dough. I also didn’t really get much rise out of the second rise time, and that could be due to any number of reasons (not giving it enough time, a really humid kitchen, the whole grains, other substitutions, plain ol’ bad mojo…) – so basically, my loaf was a bit flat and squatty. I was feeling really disheartened as I put the misshapen loaf in the oven and even considered just throwing it out in frustration, but I figured I had already come to far to throw in the towel. With that, I put the loaf in the oven and crossed my fingers that it would at least be edible.
Well, I’m happy to report that this recipe did not disappoint. Even with all my various snafus, the coffee cake emerged from the oven tender, moist, and utterly delicious. I was actually a little embarrassed to serve it, so I sliced it up before putting it on the table and then grudgingly showed my husband a picture of what it was supposed to look like. After tasting it he declared that he would rather it taste as good as it did then it be the perfect shape, so my confidence was restored and we proceeded to eat half the loaf! This is some seriously good stuff! I definitely want to try the recipe again and try to correct the mistakes I made this time.
You can download a printable PDF of the challenge recipe right here.