Cranberry Orange Meringue Coffee Cake

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.

They described it as: “A gorgeous brioche-like dough rolled jellyroll style around a whipped meringue and whatever filling you choose, shaped into a wreath and baked…Beautiful to put together and gorgeous out of the oven, the cake is light and fluffy, barely sweet, the meringue miraculously melts into the dough as it bakes leaving behind just a hint of sweetness and adding to the perfect moistness of the cake.”

I would consider this more of a sweet roll than a coffee cake, but what ever you call it, you’ll call it delicious. The dough was silky smooth and so easy to work with, but rolling the meringue without it oozing out all over was definitely a challenge.

Instead of the chocolate and nut version, I opted to flavored the meringue with orange extract and filled it with dried cranberries. After shaping the roll, I sprinkled it with citrus infused sugar. I drizzled the baked coffeecake with a lemon glaze after it had cooled slightly.

White chocolate chips would have been a fabulous addition to the filling of this coffee cake as well. I definitely intend to make this dough again. I think it would be perfect for any sweet roll recipe.

Yield: 2 cakes

Cranberry Orange Meringue Coffee Cake

Cranberry Orange Meringue Coffee Cake
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

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

For the meringue:

  • 3 large egg whites at room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon orange extract
  • ½ cup (110 g / 4 oz.) sugar

Filling, Topping and Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 5 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Instructions

Prepare the dough:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups (230 g) of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter and heat over medium heat until warm and the butter is just melted.
  3. 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.
  4. Switch to a dough hook and stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a smooth dough (I only used 1 cup) and knead the dough for 5 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic, and adding extra flour if needed.
  5. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until double in bulk, 45–60 minutes. The rising time will depend on the type of yeast you use.

Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue:

  1. In a clean mixing bowl 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.
  2. Add the vanilla and orange extracts 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:

  1. Line 2 baking/cookie sheets with parchment paper. Punch down the dough and divide in half.
  2. 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 dried cranberries over meringue.
  3. 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.
  4. Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife (although scissors are easier), 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Brush the tops of the coffee cakes with the egg wash. Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar and rinds. Sprinkle evenly over rolls.
  7. 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 gently loosen the coffee cakes from the paper with a large spatula and carefully slide the cakes off onto cooling racks. Allow to cool 15 minutes.
  8. Combine powdered sugar and lemon juice. Drizzle over rolls.These are best eaten fresh, the same day or the next day.

Thanks Jamie and Ria for a fabulous challenge! Please visit the Daring Kitchen to see a slideshow of the fabulous Coffee Cakes the Daring Bakers created for this challenge and additional tips and recipes.