Daring Baker’s March-Meringue Yeasted Coffee Cake

The March 2011 Daring Baker’sChallenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s aFeast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeastedMeringue Coffee Cake.

This coffee cake is absolutely fantastic and super easy to make.  I have never make a coffee cake with meringue on the inside.  The pastry is light and fluffy and the filling rich and nutty.  It goes great with a hot bitter cup of coffee.  I had to make a few changes in the recipe based on my pantry ingredients.  I swapped instant yeast for the active dried yeast and 2 percent milk for whole.

For the yeast coffee cake dough:
4 cups all purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons yeast
¾ cup 2 percent milk
¼ cup water
½ cup unsalted butter
2 large eggs at room temperature

Heat the water, milk, and butter together over medium heat.  Remove from heat when the butter is melted.  Mix together 1 cup flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.  Pour warm mixture over the flour/sugar mixture.  Stir together.  Add eggs in one at a time and stir together.  Gradually add in the remaining flour until the dough is tacky but not sticky.  Knead until fully developed.  I kneaded in my KA mixer for about 5-6 minutes.  Allow to raise for 45-60 minutes or until the dough is about doubled.

For the meringue:
3 large egg whites at room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup sugar

Beat the egg whites until frothy.  Add sugar slowly, one tablespoon at a time.  Beat until stiff peaks form.  Add the vanilla and beat to combine.

For the filling:
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

After the dough is done with its first raise, divide in half and roll each half into a rectangle (I did this on the baking sheet that I was going to use to bake the coffee cake)  Spread the meringue filling onto the dough.  Sprinkle the nut and chocolate filling mixture onto the meringue.  Roll up like a jelly roll and turn dough into a circle.  Pinch together the ends of the dough.  Take a sharp knife and cut small slashes every 6 inches or so into the sides of the ring.  Cover with a clean towel and allow to raise another 45-60 minutes.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Take your egg yolks left over from the meringue and beat until foamy.  Brush egg yolks over the top of the coffee cake ring.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.