Sunday, March 27, 2011

Daring Bakers-Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake

This post is dedicated to all the people of Japan, struggling to rebuilt after the terrible disaster caused by the tsunami. I have been amazed at their courage and grace in the face of such immense tragedy. I hope that nature will spare this country from another such disaster.

Saffron, garam masala, pistachio cake

This months I am prepared and finished a day early, unbelievable! helps that the 27th is on a Sunday, doesn't it?

Amazing considering the distraction caused by my two new babies, aren't they irresistible?

Baby chicks, two days old

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.

I have to confess that I was a little hesitant about this challenge. I love making bread, and I love brioche type doughs, don't get me wrong, but the use of a meringue inside the cake? I didn't think it would be a good thing. Boy was I wrong, the meringue dissolves into the dough and the filling, creating a super moist interior that is just perfect.

Cinnamon apple cake

I made three versions of this cake, the two suggested by the hosts, and one with apples and cinnamon since I had some leftover cooked apples in the fridge. I only tasted the one with the apples, and the one with the saffron and the garam masala. I really preferred the one with the apples, I don't think that saffron and chocolate really work together. Next time I will omit the chocolate and only use nuts. Other very picky (cough) discerning tasters declared the chocolate cake perfect! I was really happy with this recipe, and it would be great to make a savory version like many other daring bakers did. To check out their creations check the daring bakers website.

If you want to download the recipe in a pdf file click here, and for the original posts by the two hosts click here and here.

Chocolate cinnamon cake

Here are my notes...
* I made a sponge with the yeast, the milk, the water, and a little of the sugar. I left the sponge develop for 30 minutes covered with the rest of the flour, the rest of the sugar and the salt.
* I then added the eggs, adjusted the dough by adding some milk, and mixed until I got a good gluten development.
* Four cups of flour are too much for the amount of liquid. Since I normally dump all the ingredients together, I ended up adding more milk to get a softer dough. Either add less flour or be careful, and when the dough start getting together add a little bit of milk.
* I didn't add the butter until I got a good gluten development. Fat inhibits gluten development so by adding it later the dough develops better.
* The amount of saffron is not enough to give the dough a yellow tint, I ended up adding at least twice the amount.
* Because of the high fat content, the dough gets really sticky and soft. After mixing the dough I left it rise in the refrigerator for few hours, or overnight in the case of the saffron dough. The dough that rested overnight was so much easier to handle, I was able to roll it thinner and resulted in a tighter roll and in a visually better cake as well.

The first one to emerge, still working on a name

The second chick, adorable with white spot on her wings

This is off topic, unless you consider that I used the eggs from my own chickens for this cake. Last year one of our chickens became broody, meaning she wanted to be a mommy and kept sitting on the eggs. Sadly, of the four chicks that hatched only one remains, we named her Zorra because she is completely black (onedisappeared when very young, one was a rooster, and one was killed by a dog). About a month ago, Zorra, a bantam black cochin who is just seven months old, became broody too. Broody chickens sit on eggs to no end, get pecked and don't eat well, so we got 6 fertile eggs for her and last Friday two furry babies emerged. I have seen this miracle twice, and three times we had baby chickens in the house but I can't stop looking at them, they are so adorable.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Those baby chicks are sooooo cute!

Very well done! Your coffee cake looks beautiful and really scrumptious.



Simona said...

Adorable! I love the color. Wow, you made three of them. I also finished early this month, for a change. Next time I will add more saffron too.

Namratha said...

The coffee cake looks so good, very nicely done! And those chicks, omg..very very cute! :))

Lisa said...

Laura, you so rocked this challenge! I love the addition of pistachios in lieu of cashews, but REALLY love the apple cinnamon version. BTW, your photos look gorgeous, and those little chickadees are soo, darn cute :)

Audax said...

WOW those chicks are adorable!

The cake looks so cute and it worked out so well for you great results on this challenge. Bravo to you!

Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

Laura said...

Thank you Rosa! It was fun.

Simona, yes adorable. Simona, I wanted to give the rolls to a friend who did me a big favor, and I can always find someone who will take some cake, in this case my brother in law and his family.

Namratha, thanks for stopping by.

Lisa, I love pistachios, especially for the color. And I am with you, the apples totally did it for this cake. I am using a brand new camera and I am very happy with the photos. I need to start using a tripod though, many photos were not good because of my hand movements. The chicks, OMG, insanely cute, especially when they start grooming and fall over because they are still working on their balance.

Laura said...

Audax, you outdid yourself! Thanks for stopping by and for all the contributions to this challenge.

Anonymous said...

chocolate cinamon - yum! chicks - extremely cute!

Anonymous said...

All three of your version look scrumptious. Very well done indeed. Good luck with your chicks!Best, Sandie

Gaia said...

sono davvero meravigliosi quei pulcini!!

Ben said...

Hmm that looks delicious. I need to try this soon.

Elra's cooking and baking said...

Oh, those babies are so cute! And, your coffee cake look marvelous.

Laura said...

Gaia, sono deliziosi e stanno crescendo velocemente.

Ben, thanks for stopping by.

Sandie, thanks for your comment, I had fun doing this challenge!

Elra, I think I will pass on the bread, I have no time! I bought some potatoes though, maybe this week...

Teafactory, yes, the chicks are super cute, they are now getting some feathers and a tail, even more adorable.

Jean said...

The coffee cake looks delicious - the fresh eggs make a huge difference! And of course I can't help but comment on the adorable peepers - enjoy the little bundles!

Lien said...

Oh, those little chicks are just too adorable. Hope there won't be to many roosters! That's always a problem.


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