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Filled Meringue Coffee Cake - Daring Bakers March Challenge

It has been months since I have participated.  Now that I am back in my kitchen, I hope to return to the fun of making something new with this group each month.

Because I want to be more cost conscious and also quit being a food hoarder, I made this with what I had on hand.  I had cashew nuts rather than pecans or walnuts so that led me to Ria's version of this.  It also gave me the opportunity to make garam masala.  Now I have it in my pantry for future uses.

This is so good.  It is bread-like and not even sweet.  I think it could be used as one would use a brioche.  I look forward to toasting it and slathering in butter for a quick breakfast.  I made a whole batch and froze the second round for use later.

The following recipe is from The Daring Bakers.

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.

Makes 2 round coffee cakes, each approximately 10 inches in diameter
The recipe can easily be halved to make one round coffee cake

For the yeast coffee cake dough:
4 cups (600 g / 1.5 lbs.) flour
¼ cup (55 g / 2 oz.) sugar
¾ teaspoon (5 g / ¼ oz.) salt
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons / 7 g / less than an ounce) active dried yeast
¾ cup (180 ml / 6 fl. oz.) whole milk
¼ cup (60 ml / 2 fl. oz. water (doesn’t matter what temperature)
½ cup (135 g / 4.75 oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature
10 strands saffron for Ria’s version (Saffron might be hard to find and it’s expensive, so you can substitute with ½ - 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom or ground nutmeg. Or simply leave it plain like Jamie’s version)

For the meringue:
3 large egg whites at room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup (110 g / 4 oz.) sugar

For the filling:
Jamie’s version:
1 cup (110 g / 4 oz.) chopped pecans or walnuts
2 Tablespoons (30 g / 1 oz.) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (170 g / 6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips or coarsely chopped chocolate

Ria’s version:
1 cup (130 g / 5 oz.) chopped cashew nuts
2 Tablespoons (30 g / 1 oz.) granulated sugar
½ teaspoon garam masala (You can make it at home – recipe below - or buy from any Asian/Indian grocery store)
1 cup (170g / 6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips ( I used Ghirardelli)
Egg wash: 1 beaten egg
Cocoa powder (optional) and confectioner’s sugar (powdered/icing sugar) for dusting cakes

**Garam (means “hot”) masala (means “mixture”) is a blend of ground spices and is used in most Indian savory dishes. It is used in limited quantities while cooking vegetables, meats & eggs. There is no “one” recipe for it as every household has a recipe of their own.

4 or 5 sticks (25 g) Cinnamon Sticks (break a stick and open the scroll)
3 ½ tablespoons (25 g / less than an ounce) Cloves, whole
100 g. (3.5 oz.) Fennel seeds
4 tablespoons (25 g / less than an ounce) Cumin seeds
1 ½ tablespoons (10 g / less than half an ounce) Peppercorns
25 g (less than half an ounce) Green Cardamom pods

In a small pan on medium heat, roast each spice individually (it hardly takes a minute) until you get a nice aroma. Make sure you stir it throughout so that it doesn’t burn. As soon as each spice is roasted, transfer it to a bowl to cool slightly. Once they are all roasted, grind into a fine powder by using a coffee grinder, or pestle & mortar. Store in an airtight container and use as needed.

Prepare the dough:
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 ½ cups (230 g) of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast.
In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter and heat over medium heat until warm and the butter is just melted. Ria’s version: add the 10 saffron threads to the warmed liquid and allow to steep off of the heat for 10 minutes. This will give the mixture a distinct aroma and flavor and a yellowish-orange hue.

With an electric mixer on low speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes. Add the eggs and 1 cup (150 g) flour and beat for 2 more minutes.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together. Turn out onto a floured surface (use any of the 1 ½ cups of flour remaining) and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic, keeping the work surface floured and adding extra flour as needed.

Place the dough in a lightly greased (I use vegetable oil) bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise until double in bulk, 45 – 60 minutes. The rising time will depend on the type of yeast you use.

Prepare your filling:In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar for the filling if using. You can add the chopped nuts to this if you like, but I find it easier to sprinkle on both the nuts and the chocolate separately.

Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue:
In a clean mixing bowl – ideally a plastic or metal bowl so the egg whites adhere to the side (they slip on glass) and you don’t end up with liquid remaining in the bottom – beat the egg whites with the salt, first on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high and continue beating until foamy and opaque. Add the vanilla then start adding the ½ cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.

Assemble the Coffee Cakes:
Line 2 baking/cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Punch down the dough and divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, working one piece of the dough at a time (keep the other half of the dough wrapped in plastic), roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch (about 51 x 25 ½ cm) rectangle. Spread half of the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch (3/4 cm) from the edges.

Sprinkle half of your filling of choice evenly over the meringue (ex: half of the cinnamon-sugar followed by half the chopped nuts and half of the chocolate chips/chopped chocolate).

Now, roll up the dough jellyroll style, from the long side. Pinch the seam closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to one of the lined cookie sheets, seam side down. Bring the ends of the log around and seal the ends together, forming a ring, tucking one end into the other and pinching to seal.

Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife, make cuts along the outside edge at 1-inch (2 ½ cm) intervals. Make them as shallow or as deep as desired but don’t be afraid to cut deep into the ring.

Repeat with the remaining dough, meringue and fillings.

Cover the 2 coffee cakes with plastic wrap and allow them to rise again for 45 to 60 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
Brush the tops of the coffee cakes with the egg wash. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until risen and golden brown. The dough should sound hollow when tapped.

Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper off the cookie sheets onto the table. Very gently loosen the coffee cakes from the paper with a large spatula and carefully slide the cakes off onto cooling racks. Allow to cool.

Just before serving, dust the tops of the coffee cakes with confectioner’s sugar as well as cocoa powder if using chocolate in the filling. These are best eaten fresh, the same day or the next day.

 Leftover coffee cake was wonderful when made into Pain Perdu or French Toast.


  1. Sarah, the cake looks perfect... is that your oven? I am with you about cleaning out the pantry and trying to be more frugal. I think I stuff the larder so I feel I won't be left short if I want to make something... crazy, right? Although it is a pain to go get something, it's not like I live in the Antarctic. I am so in the mood for something sweet... this looks like a winner.

  2. I'm so pleased you have your kitchen back, Sarah, especially if you are going to make gems like this!

    Absolutely perfect and I love that it's not too sweet. AND the fact that you froze the second batch. Perfect for when guests have arrived!

  3. Une brioche des plus originales. Cette farce est un plaisir. je note ta recette.
    A très bientôt.

  4. Yes I understand about hoarding LOL LOL. I have to say the cake looks smashing the colour is stunning and great to hear that you used ingredients to hand. Well done on this challenge. Lovely photos.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  5. Beautiful cake! I think I should have made extra of this like you and froze it too!

  6. Oh wow - you can tell from your pictures just how smooth that dough was. Your coffee cake looks fantastic and delicious. Really well done!!

  7. love your pain perdu! i wish i had some leftover cake to make some right now.

  8. The dough looks so smooth and perfect! I must give this recipe a try, it looks so delicious! I will be back to print the recipe and re-read the post. Have a nice day!

  9. This is absolutely beautiful Sarah! I love the shot of the uncooked ring with the cuts in the side, delicate fillings peeking out. Tres Bien!

  10. yummy yummy..How nice tutorial..with awesome pics,i think now you must add a sign on these,be careful Honey :)

  11. Wow - that looks divine! Fabulous photos too - YUM:)

  12. You did a fantastic job. And the leftovers ... yumm-ee!

  13. Simply Amazing, Sarah! It looks and sounds delicious! The "special" French Toast must have been divine!

  14. I have seen many of these beauties browsing today. This is a great way to rekindle your love for the Daring Bakers.

  15. Beautifully done on the challenge. Love how neat and lovely your coffee cake is. Stunning!

  16. Glad you are enjoying your new kitchen! This looks fabulous! :)

  17. Just beautiful! I am so glad you made my challenge recipe and that you loved it! It is a great brioche-type cake and with so many possibilities. I too want to try Ria's version now. Beautiful!

  18. I keep Garam Masala on hand because it's good in nearly anything.}:P

  19. This looks like more work then I am willing to do, so I'll just have to admire your fantastic pictures! Also, thank you for your kind words about Scrappycat.

  20. I could do something like that! It looks wonderful, and you know my hungry hordes would love it. Of course, it would only last one day around here...

    Thank you again for the CSN gift certificate. I finally felt up to "shopping" today, and have a couple of wonderful toys coming!

  21. Welcome back, Sarah! Your results look great and your comments about hoarding have reminded me to go eat the fresh raspberries wasting away in the fridge right now before they go bad!

  22. Looks yummy, I love the way you cutted it in, and it's so smooth!

  23. Your dough has risen perfectly!


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