Cinnamon and Allspice Swirl Yeasted Coffee Cake

Great news! I decided that there was nothing I could do to hurt my camera worse than Helen Mae had already hurt it so I shoved the lens with all of my might... and the camera magically started working again! In other news, I decided that I was going to force Fall to come to New Orleans by baking Autumnal treats non-stop until the cool, dry weather appeared- and it worked!! Last night I decided to jump on a little project that I've wanted to start for a long time: yeasted coffee cake. I want to make something like this for Christmas morning this year, but I want to make sure I do a few dry runs first.

This Christmas will be the first one that I have not awakened Christmas morning at my parents' house. Unbelievable, huh? Well, I went away to college in Tennessee when I was eighteen but I always came home for Christmas break. Then the first year I was out of college my husband was still in school so we came home again and spent Christmas at my parents' house. Then last year we were living with my parents while we looked for an apartment. Now here we are in our own little townhouse, and I feel like it will be so strange to wake up on Christmas morning without my sister, brother, mom and dad. Never mind the fact that we'll be heading over there for lunch with the rest of the extended family or that my parents live about 4 minutes away from us. It will just feel strange being on the other side of Christmas- Derrick and I will be playing Santa and our girls will be where I was only a couple of years ago! This is especially apparent for Derrick and me because we are both the oldest kids in our families- all of our siblings are still living at home!

Anyway, I thought it might be nice to make a little coffee cake to bring over to my parents' house so that we could have a little family breakfast before the aunts and uncles and cousins etc. start rolling in. This recipe comes from none other than my old, trusty Joy of Cooking book. Whenever I want a good bare-bones, basic recipe I turn to Joy because it usually gives me an easy base to start with. I think this is the right jumping off point, but I'm not positive that this is the exact way I want my coffee cake to end up for Christmas- I mean it's Christmas, it has to be really special! The cake's texture is a lot like cinnamon raisin bread- in fact, I'm definitely going to put some dried fruit and nuts in this cake next time. The major problem I had with this cake was that I tested it with a knife after the timer went off and it was still completely unbaked in the middle- so I gave it a little extra time and then I think I over-baked it! It was a little dry, especially along the edges- so I'll have to pull it out right on time next time and see if the middle sets once it is out of the oven.

Did I mention that Helen loved this cake? I found that the flavor was much more delicious after the cake cooled completely, which is fairly common for yeasty treats like this one. However, also like most yeasted cakes, this one got stale by the next day- it is not much of a keeper!

Yeasted Coffee Cake

pg. 621 of Joy of Cooking
1 loaf
Combine in a large bowl or the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and let stand until the yeast is dissolved, about 5 minutes:
1/4 cup warm (105 to 115 F) water
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/2 cup ap flour or bread flour (confession: I ran out of ap and used some cake flour!)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
Mix by hand or on low speed until blended. Gradually stir in:
2 to 2 1/4 cup ap or bread flour
Mix for 1 minute, or until the dough comes together. Knead by hand for about 10 minutes or with the dough hook on low to medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic and no longer sticks to your hands or the bowl (mine was still pretty sticky). Add:
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, very soft
Vigorously knead in the butter until completely incorporated and the dough is once again smooth.
Place the dough in a large buttered bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place (75-85 F) until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down the dough, knead briefly, and refrigerate, covered, until doubled again, 4 to 12 hours (I left mine for about 7 hours).
Butter a 9x4 inch loaf pan. Punch down dough and roll out to a 16x9 inch rectangle, about 1/3 inch thick. Brush the surface with
1 1//2 tsp melted butter
Sprinkle evenly with half the streusel topping, nuts, dried fruit, or filling of your choice. Starting from one short side, roll the dough as you would a jelly roll. Place seam side down in a loaf pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume about 1 1/2 hours. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Whisk together and brush over the top of the loaf:
1 egg
a pinch of salt
Sprinkle the remaining streusel topping over the dough. Bake the loaf until golden brown and a knife comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Unmold the loaf onto a rack and let cool.


Kerstin said...

Oh, this looks amazing! Very cute blog and your kids are absolutely adorable!

pinkstripes said...

Cinnamon/allspice sound delicious. I'm glad you got your camera working again.

Lauryn said...

oh wow!!! This looks unbelievable! I can only imagine how great it tasted!

Karine said...

You did an amazing job with this yeasted coffee cake! Thanks for sharing :)

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