Joy the Baker

Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

October 12, 2011

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Now is not the time to be thinking about New Year’s Resolutions.  Ignore the plastic Christmas trees at Costco… we still have time.  We have months.  The year is not over yet.  We can totally take it easy.

I don’t like New Year’s Resolutions.  They’re totally unrealistic, right?  I feel like my best intentions of dieting, cleaning, saving money, and being a better human in the world are all flushed down the toilet when I cut people off in traffic while eating doughnuts and throwing money out the window on January 2nd.  (Was that a run-on sentence?) ((Don’t answer that.))

Ok.  So I don’t throw money out the window.  Come on…

Let me get to the point.

I like to make mini resolutions.  I make a little resolution, in my crazybrain, each season.  Here we are in Autumn… and it’s time to rearrange my goals.  I totally nailed my summer goals of wearing bikini tops as bras and keeping my nails done-did.  Now it’s time to rearrange.

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This Autumn is all about loving hard, giving quality time to others, not texting at dinner, and wearing these friendship bracelets until they fall off my wrist.  I keep it simple.  It’s usually the simple intentions that influence the larger movements in my life.  Trust.  I’m not completely superficial.

Do you have some goals you’re going to make this Autumn?  Do they have anything to do with living right and making this awesome, yeasty coffee cake!?  Say yes!  Live right!

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As with most good things, this coffee cake starts with a yeasted dough base.

The dough is full of eggs and butter, which make if really easy to work with and knead.  It reminds me of a cake/bread hybrid.

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Oh… did I mention that we’re making not one, but TWO coffee cakes!?  True.  It’s we’re going to take the time to work with yeast, let’s just make two cakes and freeze one!  Good thinking.

apple cinnamon coffee cake

Does this look like the makings of a cinnamon roll with apples?  You’re not far off!  This coffee cake is like a series of cinnamon rolls that are connected.

apple cinnamon coffee cake

Cinnamon apples and streusel fill this cake.

Apple pie meets coffee cake meets cinnamon roll.

Yea.  I love you.

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Rolled up like a cinnamon roll.  Snipped into connected pieces.  Shaped like a crooked horseshoe.

Juicy and a little messy.  Whatevs.

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Even if just a little messy, this cake bakes up like a dream come true.

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This spiced, sweet, breakfast cake is a soft and tender play on traditional coffee cake.  It’s a bit more time consuming, but it’s pretty simple to roll up two cake rolls, place one on a parchment lined baking sheet to bake, and place the other in the freezer for a breakfast emergency.

This cake screams Autumn comfort.  Screams it!  Happy screams.  From the rooftop!

Oh!

Other yeasty items I want you to be obsessed with:

Lemon Raspberry Breakfast Rolls

Cinnamon-Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

Strawberry Balsamic Flatbread

Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

makes two loaves

Print this Recipe!

For the Dough:

2 1/4 teaspoon (1 package) active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water, about 105 to 155 degrees F.

big pinch of sugar

6 tablespoons granulated sugar

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup warm whole milk, 105 to 115 degrees F.

For the Filling:

3 large apples, peeled and cut into small cubes (I used Fuji apples)

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

pinch of salt

For the Streusel:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of salt

pinch of cardamom

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 egg and sugar for brushing and topping the dough before baking

To Make the Dough:  In a small bowl, mix together yeast, warm water and pinch of sugar.  Stir together until yeast is dissolved and set aside for 10 minutes.  Yeast will foam up.  That’s how you know it’s alive!

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, add the sugar, butter, cardamom, and salt.  Blend on medium speed until pale in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Stop the mixer, scrape down the bowl, and add eggs and 1 cup of flour.  Blend on medium speed until thoroughly incorporated and creamy, about 1 minute.  Stop the mixer and add 2 cups more cups of flour, foamy yeast mixture, and warm milk.  Blend in medium speed until the flour disappears.  Mixture will be very wet.

Add 1 1/2 to 2 more cups of flour.  Blend until the flour is almost incorporated.

Dump the dough onto a lightly floured work surface.  Knead for 5 to 8 minutes by hand.  Dough will be glossy and just slightly sticky.  Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rest in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.

While the dough rises, make the apple filling and the streusel.

To make the Apple Filling, toss together diced apples, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch, nutmeg and salt.  Leave at room temperature and set aside until ready to use.

To make the Streusel Filling:

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and cardamom.  Add butter and, using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture.  Break up the butter into the mixture, until thoroughly incorporated and crumbly.  Set aside.

Continue on with the Dough:

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

When the dough has doubled in size, dump it out onto a lightly floured work surface.   Use a large knife or a bench knife to divide the dough in two.  Roll each dough piece into about a 10×14-inch rectangle.  Sprinkle with half of the streusel mixture.  Add half of the apple mixture over the apples.  Add a bit of the apple juices too.  That’s fine.

Starting from the longest side, begin to roll the dough.  This isn’t like a cinnamon roll, you don’t have to roll it into a super tight swirl.  Fold in about 1 1/2 to 1-inch folds.  Keep the seam on the bottom.

Repeat the same steps for the second piece of dough.

Carefully lift roll onto the prepared baking sheet. **Now is a great time to freeze or refrigerate the coffee cake  dough for later baking.**  Take a pair of clean scissors and slice into the dough leaving about 3/4-inch of dough still attached.  Slice at 1-inch intervals.  Carefully begin to curve the sliced dough into a semi-circle/horseshoe shape.  If some of the apple juices escape, that’s ok    Cover with a towel and let rest in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Brush dough with egg wash and sprinkle with raw or granulated sugar.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.

Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.  Best served warm with hot coffee.  Coffee cake will last, well wrapped at room temperature, for up to 3 days… or 3 hours.

**  If you decide to freeze the dough, place it in the fridge to thaw the evening before you’d like to bake it.  Once it’s thawed, slice it according to the above directions.  Allow to come to room temperature, and allow to rise for another 30 minutes beyond that.  Wash with egg and sugar, then bake.

**  If you decide to refrigerate the dough, simple take it out of the fridge, slice according to the above directions.  Let come to room temperature, then allow to rise for 30 minutes beyond that.  Brush with egg and sugar, then bake.


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