This loaf-like dessert with a long name of “Lemon Scented Pull Apart Coffee Cake” is my sister’s favorite. We always make it when she is in town. For some reason, it comes out twice as good with her involvement. I say, she has her own ways with this cake :P This particular dessert is soooo fluffy, so lemony (at time orangy) and with the cheese icing, it is hard to find a substitution for it! Irresistible!
We keep ourselves very busy during the day! When Kamola comes over for a week, I sure try to make the best of our time together. So, cooking and baking ends up occupying our late nights and way past midnights. As long as we both do not want to sleep, and have much to talk about, we are set to go! I CONFESS, we had much to talk about, but not much to cook! But we made sure we had our Lemon Scented Coffee Cake for late night chats :D
Just remember gals, things are good in moderation. NO EATING this cake in one session. Although it is very tempting.
It took me 4 tries before I perfected the alignments of this cake. While I love Flo Braker recipes, deep down inside, I wish the recipes came with step-by-step directions and photos. Well, we can fix that part :) Let’s get down to business!
Yield: Makes one 9-by-5-inch coffee cake, about 14 servings
Sweet Yeast Dough:
- About 2 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) instant yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup (2 1/2 fluid ounces) whole milk
- 2 ounces (1/2 stick/55 grams) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
Lemon Paste Filling:
- 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces/100 grams) granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (3 lemons in the original recipe, I reduced it to 2)
- 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest (a used a little more for this)
- 2 ounces (1/2 stick/55 grams) unsalted butter, melted
Tangy (pretty Tangy) Cream Cheese Icing:
- 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/3 cup (1 1/4 ounces) powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Directions for the sweet yeast dough:
Stir together 2 cups (9 ounces) of the flour, the sugar, the yeast, and the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer; set aside. Original recipe calls for the standing mixer. I used my hand held mixer. You can use either one of them.
In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter over low heat just until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat, add the water, and set aside until warm (120 to 130°F [49 to 54°C]), about 1 minute. Add the vanilla extract.
Pour the milk mixture over the flour-yeast mixture and, using a rubber spatula, mix until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Or you can use a simple spoon. Works quite well :) Attach the bowl to the mixer, and fit the mixer with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition just until incorporated. If you are using a hand-held mixer, follow the same procedure.
Stop the mixer, add 1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) of the remaining flour, and resume mixing on low speed until the dough is smooth, 30 to 45 seconds.
If you are using the standing mixer, add 2 more tablespoons flour and mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth, soft, and slightly sticky, about 45 seconds. If you are using a hand-held mixer add 2 more Tbsp flour and start gently kneading the dough by hand, right in the container you are using. Hand-held mixer will not do a such a good job during this process. The dough gets rolled in to the paddle attachments of the hand mixer. That was my mistake :D The dough should be nicely soft but not sticky to the touch. If it is add 1 more TBSP of flour.
For the standing mixer: Sprinkle a work surface with 1 tablespoon flour and center the dough on the flour. Knead gently until smooth and no longer sticky, about 1 minute, adding an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons flour only if necessary to lessen the stickiness.
Place the dough in a large bowl, cover the bowl securely with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in a warm place (about 70°F [21°C]) until doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes. Press the dough gently with a fingertip. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready for the next step.
Lemon Paste Filling:
In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and the lemon and orange zests. Set the sandy-wet mixture nearby (the sugar draws out moisture from the zests to create the consistency).
*Lightly butter a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan. Or, lightly coat the pan with nonstick spray. *Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
Making the Coffee Cake:
Gently deflate the dough.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 20-by-12-inch rectangle. The importance of rolling out the exact measurements will ensure you to have a perfectly shaped coffee cake. If you take the measurements slightly different, the shape of the coffee cake might come out different. That’s what happened in my experience. Oh well, even if the shape is not the exact rectangle needed, the taste is not going to suffer!!
Using a pastry brush spread the melted butter generously over the dough. Let is “dry” tiny bit. Cut the dough crosswise into 5 strips, each about 12 by 4 inches. (A pizza cutter is helpful here but a sharp knife will do).
Sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons of the zest-sugar mixture over one of the buttered rectangles. Top with a second rectangle and sprinkle it with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the zest-sugar mixture. Repeat with the remaining dough rectangles and zest-sugar mixture, ending with a stack of 5 rectangles.
*Lifting the strips from the rolling surface might be a little hard. While pulling the shape of the strip will change. To avoid this problem I gently (without pressing) rolled the strips and unrolled them on top of the previously “lemon-zested” layer. Work carefully when adding the crumbly zest filling, or it will fall off when you have to lift the stacked pastry later.
Slice the stack crosswise through the 5 layers to create 6 equal strips, each about 4 by 2 inches. Fit these layered strips into the prepared loaf pan, cut edges up and side by side, right in the center of the pan. (While there is plenty of space on either side of the 6 strips widthwise in the pan, fitting the strips lengthwise is tight. But that’s fine because the spaces between the dough and the sides of the pan fill in during baking). That lemon zest is making me drool as I type!!
Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place (70 °F [21°C]) until puffy and almost doubled in size, 30 to 50 minutes. Press the dough gently with a fingertip. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready for baking. Bake the coffee cake until the top is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes.
Directions for cream cheese icing:
In a medium bowl, using a rubber spatula, vigorously mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the milk and lemon juice until the mixture is creamy and smooth.
Decorating the Cake:
Once the Cake is done baking, transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes. To remove the coffee cake from the pan, tilt and rotate the pan while gently tapping it on a counter to release the cake sides. Invert a wire rack on top of the coffee cake, invert the cake onto the rack, and carefully lift off the pan. Invert another rack on top, invert the cake so it is right side up, and remove the original rack.
Using a pastry brush, coat the top of the warm cake with the icing to glaze it. (Cover and refrigerate the leftover icing for another use. It will keep for up to 2 days.)
Serve the coffee cake warm or at room temperature. To serve, you can pull apart the layers, or you can cut the cake into 1-inch-thick slices on a slight diagonal with a long, serrated knife. If you decide to cut the cake, don’t attempt to cut it until it is almost completely cool.
Bon Appetit! :)
P.S. you can click on the images for a larger view. Please leave your comments or questions in the comment section below and I will do my best to respond promptly.