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Easter — Coffee Cakes Plain and Fancy

Posted: April 4, 2012 - 9:22am
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Easter morning is the perfect time to set the breakfast table with fresh-baked homemade coffee cakes. From the same basic sweet dough recipe, you can make, clockwise from upper left, plain coffee cake, coffee cake filled with cream cheese and raspberry preserves coffee cake filled with cream cheese only. For those in search of a quick coffee cake idea, try baking individual size coffee cakes, bottom left, in Nordic Ware’s Bundtlette Pan made with pre-made cinnamon roll dough.

Whether you are planning a breakfast, a full-on brunch or just coffee for your family’s Easter morning gathering, coffee cake has its place. By adding different fillings to your coffee cake, a single sweet dough recipe can be made into a number of different tasting and looking cakes. A plain coffee cake is, of course, the easiest to prepare and leftover coffee cake cubes can be turned into a tasty bread pudding, if you like. My favorite coffee cakes  are ones filled with lemon or vanilla cream cheese filling. Tasting like the best cheesecake you’ve ever eaten, King Arthur Flour’s recipe  for cream cheese filling is luscious, and if you like the taste of lemon, feel free to flavor it with lemon extact or lemon powder, a new product from King Arthur Flour. Individual coffee cakes are fun, too, especially when baked in a Nordic Ware Bundlette pan using nothing more than a can of pre-made cinnamon roll dough. Once baked, the cakes look a bit like puffed-up donuts or cruellers, particularly irrisistible to children whose eyes are usually bigger than their stomachs. You can purchase a wide variety of coffee cakes at the supermarket and most of them are good, including some of the ones that come from the freezer. But, it’s also nice to offer family and friends something we’ve baked ourselves and bake it plain, or fancy, they’ll love it all the same.  

Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at kitchenade@yahoo.com.

Easy Bundtlette Coffee Cakes

All you need to bake delightful Easy Bundtlette Coffee Cakes is some non-stick cooking spray, a (12.4) ounce can of Pillsbury's Cinnamon Rolls with Icing and a Nordic Ware six-compartment Bundtlette Pan (purchase information appears at the end of this column).
Lightly grease the wells of the pan with non-stick baking spray, like Baker's Joy. (Even if your pan is non-stick, apply a light coating to the pan). Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place dough rounds into each of the wells. You will have two extra rounds -- just cut them in thirds and place each third on top of the dough already in the pan. Press rounds down lightly for a good fit into the wells.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove pan and allow to cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes. Invert bundtlettes onto rack, then ice with icing provided. Makes 6 bundtlettes.

Basic Bread Machine Sweet Dough

A bread machine's "dough" cycle can be implemented for a variety of yeast bread recipes, even traditional recipe not usually made in a bread machine.  Once the dough completes the cycle, the dough can be removed from the pan and used according to almost any recipe up to the first rising.

For the cake
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 (1/4-ounce) package Fleischmann's Rapid Rise Highly Active Yeast
1/3  cup warm (110 degrees) water
1 large egg, room temperature, lightly beaten
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
 For the fillings and glaze

Pecan Praline Filling
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Pinch salt

Cream Cheese Filling
Recipe source: King Arthur Flour
1 package (8-ounces) cream cheese, softened*
2 tablespoons soft butter  
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract, or 1 teaspoon King Arthur Flour Lemon Powder,* optional
*Kitchen Ade Note: For lemon-flavored cream cheese filling, add 1 teaspoon lemon powder, available via the King Arthur Flour website, www.kingarthurflour.com, or by calling 800-333-9325.

Raspberry Filling
1/2 cup raspberry preserves*
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Confectioners' Sugar Glaze
1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons water
Pastel colored sprinkles, or nuts for garnish, optional

In a small saucepan, scald the milk, remove from heat then stir in the butter, mixing until the butter is melted. Cool to lukewarm. Place the water, milk/butter mixture, egg, sugar, salt, nutmeg and flour into the canister of the bread machine in the order given. Make an indentation with your finger into the flour and pour in the yeast. (Do not allow yeast to come into contact with the liquid.) Select the dough cycle, and start the machine. While the dough is forming in the machine, line a large baking sheet (or pizza pan) with parchment paper and set aside*. Prepare the filling by mixing the ingredients in medium-size mixing bowl. When the dough cycle is finished, remove the dough and roll it out on a lightly floured surface into 28 x 8-inch rectangle. (The dough will be easy to work with and very elastic.) Spread the filling (whichever kind you are using) mixture over the dough, and spread it in an even layer over the dough, stopping short about 1/2-inch from the sides of the dough. Note: If you are using both the cream cheese and raspberry fillings, carefully layer them one on top of the other over the dough, do not stir or mix the fillings into one another.) Starting with the long end, roll the dough, jellyroll style into a log. Place the log onto the baking sheet or pizza pan, seam side down, forming the dough into a ring. Moisten the ends of the dough and pinch to seal. (Do not worry if it does not look perfect. The seam will be covered with icing later.) Place 2 small greased ovenproof ramekins in the center of the ring.* (The ramekins are placed in the center of the dough to help prevent the dough from falling over itself and enclosing the space in the center of the ring.) Cover the dough with a tea towel and allow it to rise in a warm place, free of drafts, until it becomes puffed and doubles in size, about 30 minutes. (Expect some rising, but don't be alarmed if your dough doesn't double in size. In addition, if you are making a coffee cake with a filling and wish for the filling to poke through the coffee cake, you can make openings in the dough by using a scissor to cut from the outside edge to two-thirds of the way towards the center of the ring at 1 1/2-inch intervals. Once you have made the cuts, separate the pieces with a slight twist to show the filling -- now cover the dough with the towel, as just described). Once the dough has risen, place the pan, with ramekins still in place, in  preheated 375 degree oven and bake for 25 to  30 minutes, or until lightly browned, turning pan after 15 minutes to ensure even browning. Once cake is finished baking, allow cake to rest on pan for 10 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely. Once the cake is cool, pour the glaze over all, allowing glaze to drip down the sides. If desired, top coffee cake with pastel sprinkles, or nuts such as walnuts, pecans, or slivered almonds, as desired.    In place of the baking pan and ramekins, King Arthur Flour's 10-inch stoneware ring mold may be used. Also, Harry & David's Cream Cheese and Raspberry Preserves were used for making the fillings.

Leftover Coffee Cake Bread Pudding

Adapted from a recipe by King Arthur Flour
3 quarts stale, leftover plain coffee cake, cubed*
9 large eggs, slightly beaten
5 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Spread the coffee cake cubes onto the bottom of a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch  baking pan; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients, blending well. Pour mixture over cubes in pan, pressing down with a spatula to keep as many cubes from floating as possible. Cover pan with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours, or overnight. The next day, preheat oven to 350, baking for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the casserole comes out clean and the top is golden brown. (If casserole is browning too much before it is done, cover lightly with foil.) Remove from oven and allow to set for 10 minutes before cutting into squares to serve. Serve with warm pancake syrup or a dusting of confectioners' sugar. Makes 12 servings.

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