Sunday, March 27, 2011

Chocolate & Meringue Coffee Cake

After spending the week in Philly for business, I took the train early Friday morning back home to spend some much needed quality time with my girlfriends.

Few people can say they still have close relationships with their friends from high school, but I’m lucky enough to not only have a fabulous group of girlfriends from my glory days, but a wonderful group of girls from college as well.

Because of this, time spent at home can be stressful at times, as I try to make sure to see as many as possible when the trips are few and far between.

This weekend however, as short as it was, was perfect.

Friday I spent the evening preparing dinner and chatting the night away with my girlfriends from high school, while Saturday would be dedicated to my ladies from college.

I woke up early Saturday morning anticipating that with the arrival of the girls, something sweet would be necessary.

I knew exactly what would be made…

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.

Chocolate & Meringue Coffee Cake
Ria’s original recipe yielded 2 cakes, but this is the recipe for 1.

Yeast cake:
 2 cups flour, plus a little more for kneading
3 TBS sugar
¼ tsp salt
½ package active dried yeast
6 TBS milk
3 TBS water
¼ cup butter
1 egg, room temperature

2 large egg whites
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla
¼ cup sugar

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 TBS sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Preparing the dough
In a large bowl, mix 1/2 cup flour, sugar, salt and yeast.
In a saucepan, combine milk, butter, and water and heat over medium heat until warm and butter has completely melted.
With an electric mixer, gradually add warm liquid to flour/yeast mixture, beating until blended. Increase mixer speed and add egg and 1/2 cup flour, beating for about 2 minutes.
Using a wooden spoon, stir remaining flour to make a dough that holds together- you may end up using more than 2 cups. 
Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead dough for about 8-10 minutes until dough is soft, smooth and elastic, adding as much flour as needed.
Place dough in lightly greases bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover bowl with saran wrap and place in empty oven with light on to double in size (about 45-60 minutes).

After an hour, make meringue
In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites and salt until frothy. Increase speed to high and continue to beat until foamy and opaque. Add vanilla and sugar, one tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.

Assembling the coffee cake
Turn dough out on lightly floured surface. Beat down and roll out dough into a 20x10 inch rectangle. Spread meringue evenly over top the rolled out dough and sprinkle cinnamon, sugar and chocolate evenly over meringue. 

Roll up dough, jellyroll or cinnamon roll style, starting on long side forming a log. 
Very carefully transfer filled log onto baking sheet or pizza stone and bring ends of log around, sealing ends together, forming a ring, tucking one end into the other and pinching to seal.
Using kitchen scissors, make cuts on the outside edge at about 1 or 2 inch intervals.

Cover coffee cake with plastic wrap and return to empty oven to allow to rise again for 45-60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350. Brush tops of coffee cake with egg wash and bake for 25-30 minutes until risen and golden brown. The dough should sound hollow when tapped.

When I originally read this recipe I was intrigued as to how the meringue would fit with a coffee cake, but I must say, this is one of the most delicious breakfast treats I’ve made to date. Light, fluffy, and perfectly sweet this yeasty cake was a great companion to a morning cup of coffee.

Happy Baking!