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.
For this challenge, I decided to incorporate chucks of quality, bittersweet chocolate, resulting in a decadent slice of coffee cake. The thin layer of meringue melts seamlessly into the cake, leaving only a trace of fluffiness where it once covered. While a slice of this sweet treat would be delicious at any point during the day, I most enjoy it with an afternoon cup of coffee.
Yeasted Meringue Chocolate Coffee Cake
adapted from Martha Stewart Living, March 2011
active time 30 minutes
total time 4 hours 40 minutes
makes 1 loaf, about 10-12 servings
2¼ teaspoons (one ¼-ounce envelope) active dry yeast
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons plus a pinch of granulated sugar
¾ cup warm whole milk (110°F)
1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk (reserve egg white for meringue)
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon heavy cream, for egg wash
1 egg white, room temperature
3 teaspoons granulated sugar
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (1¼ cups)
½ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
Make the cake: Sprinkle yeast and a pinch of granulated sugar over milk in a medium bowl. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Whisk together remaining ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, the egg, and yolk. Whisk into yeast mixture.
Combine flour and ½ teaspoon salt in the bowl of a mixer. Add egg mixture. Beat on low speed until almost fully combined, about 30 seconds. Switch to the dough-hook attachment. Add butter. Beat until smooth, soft, and slightly sticky, about 10 minutes.
Prepare a large bowl with non-stick spray. Turn out dough onto a floured surface; knead a few times until smooth. Place in bowl, turn to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until doubled in volume, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Make the meringue: In a clean mixing bowl beat the egg white with the salt, until foamy and opaque. Start adding the sugar, a teaspoon at a time, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.
Make the filling: Combine chocolate, granulated sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers until combined.
Punch down dough. Transfer to a floured work surface. Let stand for 5 minutes. Roll out to an 18-inch square (about 1/8 inch thick). Brush edges with egg wash. Spread the meringue evenly over the dough up to about ½-inch from the edges. Spread filling over meringue. Tightly roll dough like a jelly roll. Pinch seam to seal, and fold in half to bring ends together to form a U. Twist 2 or 3 times to "braid." Prepare a 5-by-10-inch loaf pan with non-stick spray, and line with parchment, leaving 1-inch overhangs; spray parchment with non-stick spray. Transfer dough to pan. Brush top with egg wash.
Make the crumb topping: Combine confectioners' sugar, flour, and butter. Sprinkle topping over cake.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Drape plastic wrap over dough. Let stand in a warm place until risen by half, 20 to 30 minutes.
Remove plastic wrap, and bake, rotating halfway through, until golden, about 55 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Bake until deeply golden, 15 to 20 minutes more (cover with foil if top gets too dark). Transfer pan to a wire rack. Let cake cool.