Thursday, October 1, 2009

Killer Cake

Dude. This recipe is a killer. But it's not a killer because it's difficult. It's a killer because it takes almost TWO DAYS to make! And it's literally taken me two days to write this post. I deliberated just skipping this altogether, because, really, who has this much time on their hands? But I did never know.

I remember making this about 8 years ago while visiting my good friends Katie and Jon in Philly. I honestly don't remember it taking us two days to make, but I do remember having breakfast then suddenly having drinks and dinner and the cakes still weren't done. We must have baked them the next day. But then again, it was one of those food coma holiday weekends where each meal just blurred with the next. My memory is a little foggy.

Anyway, since I was feeling confident with the little rolls that I had made this week, I decided to tackle this monster.
Here are my tips:

1. Make the dough the day before you plan to bake and serve the cakes (since it needs to rise TWICE).
2. Make all of the toppings the morning of (or even the night before) you plan to bake.
3. Be very organized and just follow the directions!

I think I did a pretty good job and my apartment even smelled like a bakery. But, sadly, there was no one waiting to buy my delicacies so they have been retired to my freezer. So, if you see me bringing a coffee cake to your brunch eight months from now, you'll know where it came from.

Coffee Cake With Sweet Cheese or Berry Filling
(from Cook's Illustrated)

1 recipe Coffee Cake Dough (Make this first!!!)
1 recipe Berry or Sweet Cheese Filling (see below)
1 recipe Egg Wash (see below)
1 recipe Streusel Topping (see below)
1 recipe Coffee Cake Icing (see below)

1. Turn the prepared chilled dough, scraping the container sides with a rubber spatula if necessary, onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in half and cover one half in plastic wrap and set aside. Using the remaining half recipe of chilled dough, roll into an 8 by 12-inch rectangle (the dough should be about 1/4-inch thick).

2. Place the dough on a parchment lined baking sheet and spread a 3-inch wide strip of filling down the center of the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border at each short end.

3. Using a knife, cut a 1 1/2-inch square out of each corner of the dough.

4. Using scissors, cut a triangle in the center of the long side of the dough. Cut two more triangles to the right and two to the left of the center triangle. Repeat with the second long side.

5. Fold the short ends over the filling, pinching the corner edges together to seal.

6. Bring the sections of dough from the long sides together in the center, overlapping the ends and pinching tightly to secure.
Repeat the above steps with the reserved dough.

7. Cover loosely with plastic wrap on the baking sheets and let the cakes rise until slightly puffed, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (After this final rise, the unbaked cakes can be refrigerated overnight and baked the next morning.)

8. Brush the proofed cakes with the egg wash and sprinkle the streusel topping down the center, leaving a 1-inch border down each side.

9. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Bake the cakes for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through baking, until the coffee cakes are a deep golden brown. Slide the parchment with coffee cakes onto a rack and cool at least 20 minutes. Drizzle with icing and serve. Makes two coffee cakes. Each cake serves 10.

Coffee Cake Dough

2 (1/4 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110 to 115˚F)
1/2 cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, slightly softened

1. Sprinkle yeast over warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. Stir to dissolve. Set the mixer on the lowest speed and mix in the sugar, eggs, milk, and vanilla until well combined. Add 3 1/4 cups flour and the salt, mixing at low speed until the flour is incorporated, about 1 minute. Increase the mixer speed to medium-low and add the butter pieces one at a time, beating until incorporated, about 20 seconds after each addition. Replace the paddle with a dough hook and add the remaining 1 cup flour. Beat at medium-low speed until soft and smooth, about 5 minutes longer. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the dough tightens up slightly, about 2 minutes longer.

2. Scrape the dough (which will be very soft) into a straight sided plastic container or bowl. Cover the container tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at warm room temperature until doubled in size, 3 to 4 hours. Punch the dough down, replace the plastic, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 4 or up to 24 hours. Alternatively, for a quick chill, spread the dough about 1-inch thick on a baking sheet, cover with plastic and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled about 2 hours.

Coffee Cake Toppings

Egg Wash

1 large egg
1 teaspoon heavy cream or whole milk

Beat the egg and cream in a small bowl until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

Streusel Topping

1/3 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Mix the sugars, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Add butter and toss to coat. Pinch the butter chunks and the dry mixture between fingertips until the mixture is crumbly. Chill thoroughly before using. (Can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.)


3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
3 1/2 teaspoons milk
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whisk all ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth. (Can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 week. Thin with a few drops of milk before using, if necessary.)

Berry Filling

12 ounces fresh or frozen raspberries (about 2 1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Pinch salt
Pinch cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water

Bring berries, sugar, lemon juice, salt, cinnamon, and cornstarch mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue boiling, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick and shiny, 2 - 3 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a small bowl, cover, and chill thoroughly before using. (Can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days.)

Sweet Cheese Filling

8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt with hand held electric mixer or in the work bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle at high speed until smooth, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the lemon zest, egg, and vanilla. Reduce the beater speed to medium and continue beating, scraping down sides of bowl at least once, until incorporated, about 1 minute. Scrape the mixture into a small bowl and chill thoroughly before using. (Can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days.)


Liseyj said...

Why am I at work right now instead of at your apt enjoying this?!

thecatskillkiwi said...

holy crap that is a marathon of a cake!