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Individual Cinnamon Coffee Cakes with Chocolate-Cherry-Almond Swirl

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Yields 8 individual coffee cakes

  • To learn more, read:
    A Sweet Challenge
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 55

This treat is great out of the oven, stores well, and freezes like a dream.

For the dough:
  • 1/2 cup warm whole milk (about 105 degrees F)
  • 1-1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 9 oz. (2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 5 oz. (10 Tbs.) very soft unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
For the filling:
  • 4 oz. semisweet chocolate
  • 6 oz. (about 1 cup) dried cherries
  • 1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 1/2 tsp. whole milk
For the glaze:
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 to 5 tsp. strong brewed coffee
A day before baking, make the dough:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, gently whisk the warm milk with the yeast to combine. Sprinkle with 2 tsp. of the sugar. Let the yeast proof until air pockets float up, making the mixture look spongy, 5 to 10 min.

Add the remaining dough ingredients and mix with the paddle attachment on medium-low speed until the dough comes together, and then continue mixing for 6 min. to knead the dough, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. The dough should be loose and seem more like a tacky batter.

Immediately scrape the dough into a greased bowl that’s at least twice the dough’s size, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

Make the filling:

The next morning, put the chocolate in a food processor and pulse to chop coarsely. Add the dried cherries, almonds, sugar, and cinnamon and pulse until quite fine. Add the egg white and process just until the ingredients form a rough paste. (Cover and refrigerate the leftover yolk.)

Assemble the bread:

Grease 8 cups of a 12-cup muffin pan. Scrape the chilled dough onto a liberally floured surface. Using a well-floured rolling pin, gently roll the dough into a rectangle about 12x8-inches. Work quickly; the warmer the dough gets, the harder it is to handle. Spread the filling by hand over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border on all four sides. It’s all right if it’s a bit uneven. Starting with a long side, roll the dough into a log shape. If the dough sticks to the work surface, use a bench knife or a spatula to lift it.

Brush the excess flour from the top and sides of the dough roll. Using a sharp knife, trim the ends of the roll just enough to expose the spiral of filling. Discard the trimmings. Cut the roll into 8 equal slices (each about 1-1/2 to 2 inches wide). Set each slice spiral-side up in a greased muffin cup, brushing the flour from the bottom of each piece as you go. Press very gently to be sure each piece reaches the bottom of the cup. Pour a few Tbs. of water into the empty, ungreased cups.

Cover the dough with a clean, damp dishtowel or an oversize plastic storage container (to make a little “greenhouse”) and let-rise until light and billowy, 1-1/2 to 2 hours. (Be patient. Remember your dough is cold and the rate of rising will depend on the temperature of the kitchen.)

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350°F. Make an egg wash by mixing the reserved egg yolk with the 1/2 tsp. milk. Just before baking, brush the dough with the egg wash. Bake until puffed and deep golden, 20 to 25 min. Let cool for 10 to 15 min. Carefully siphon or drain the water from the extra cups and wipe dry. Loosen under the edge of the cakes’ caps with the tip of a paring knife. If the cakes grew together during baking, cut between them to separate. Turn onto a cooling rack set over paper towels or parchment.

Apply the glaze:

In a cup, mix the confectioners’ sugar and coffee to make a smooth paste. It should be thick but still pourable. Drizzle over the cakes after they have cooled slightly.

Serving Suggestions

Complete your Mother's Day breakfast with two dishes that come together in no time: Candied Bacon and Baked Eggs with Chives and Cream.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per coffee cake; Calories (kcal): 660; Fat (g): fat g 30; Fat Calories (kcal): 270; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 13; Protein (g): protein g 12; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 89; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 330; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 120; Fiber (g): fiber g 6;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I have been playing with and modifying this recipe for a couple of months now. It's a great base recipe to then change and improve. First the filling - the original it too thick and sugary granular to even warm up and cook in time I ended up changing it completely to a pecan, cinnamon, brown sugar and fresh blueberry filling which my boyfriend loved! Then I used a hungarian inspired walnut filling which was excellent. Next I'm going to use another hungarian inspired sweet cheese filling. Second the pastry. It's very good and easy to do while you have other things to do as well. However, it also works with half wholewheat half white flour. In fact it holds better, adds to the flavour as well as fibre content but it actually stays fresher longer.

I made these for Christmas. Soooo delicious. You will be encouraged by everyone who eats these to quit your day job and open a bakery.

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