Cue the blog-checking lines:
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.
When I first saw the challenge recipe, I was very intrigued and not a little sceptical. How was this going to work? The recipe called for a brioche like dough to be wrapped around a meringue layer that had been scattered with a nutty chocolate filling.
But I should have known better than to doubt the Jamie/ Ria team. They are both accomplished bloggers who produce mouthwatering creations. And this one was no exception.
Apart form my initial mistake of overfilling the dough with the meringue and making a huge mess, the steps were easy to follow and the end result was super, super tasty. So tasty it even impressed Mr. Kitchen Hand who doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth. He even went back for seconds. The first messy coffee-cake all but disappeared within 6 hours of coming out of the oven.
Look! I made a dog's breakfast (in case you're confused, it's a colloquial Australian/ English saying)
But it looked sort of better when baked
I wasn’t too surprised because the combination of wattleseed in the dough, and chocolate and pecans in the filling, worked perfectly together. It was sheer indulgence to bite into the outer brioche layer scented with a coffee-ish aroma*, then sink through the pillowy sweet meringue, to arrive at the crunch of smoky pecans and gooey, dark chocolate.
* (wattleseed has a smell very like coffee, with hazelnut undertones, almost like a liquer)
The recipe makes two coffee cakes but I actually used the other half of the dough to make two smaller coffee cakes which were easier to handle. I’d definitely make this again but will divide the dough to make four smaller cakes.
Much better second try. I found that leaving the cake to rise whole before snipping ensured the neatest result. (Cake in back).
As for the filling, the meringue remained visible on the larger cake, but I actually liked it this way (because I like meringue). I also experimented with filling one of the cakes with sunflower seeds and crystallised ginger to get around the no-nut (MC Senior) and no-chocolate (MC Junior) policy of school and pre-school. (Really! No chocolate. I couldn’t quite believe it at first). Although it worked and tasted pretty good, I really think this is one recipe which doesn’t benefit from too much experimentation. The chocolate and nut combination really work together for a greater whole, and changing the balance just sends the end result off kilter. (That’s just my opinion, obviously).
Crystallised ginger and sunflower seeds
Oh, and before I go, check out this clip of a very dishy baker kneading dough/ air kneading. I wanted to try this method, and only got up to about 200 “slams” unlike the 600 recommended by the baker in the video. It was great fun though, and I’m going to knead this way from now on :)
Wattleseed flecked dough. I added 2 teaspoons of ground wattleseed to the flour. The little dough ball in the background was made by my helper.
For the recipe, check out the Daring Kitchen, and don’t forget to visit the other Daring Bakers for their take on the challenge.