It’s hard to describe the sheer awesomeness of this coffee cake, with its beautiful spirals and layers of brown sugar, pecans, walnuts and orange marmalade. But for you, I will try. Imagine the aroma of warm sugar and nuts, think about the sensation of fresh, fluffy bread melting in your mouth. That is this coffee cake.
I decided to play around with this recipe yesterday afternoon, even sharing some of my progress on Twitter. I was hoping, really hoping, that the finished product would resemble what I had in mind – namely, those mini, spiral coffee cakes my dad used to munch on with his morning coffee when I was kid. He bought them at the local grocery store but my version would be homemade. And jumbo sized. With lots of nuts. And orange marmalade! When I pulled the coffee cake out of the oven and inhaled its cinnamon and nutmeg spiced aroma I knew I was onto something. Dad would love this coffee cake.
Perhaps the best way to convey my enthusiasm for this recipe is to tell you that I took the photos shown here IN THE RAIN. I felt it was that important to share this cake with you before I leave on vacation tomorrow. After snapping a few shots I brought it back inside, cut a large slice, then took a bite that proved so satisfying I actually did a little jig in my kitchen. I looked dorky I’m sure and if my husband had been around he would have laughed at me, but hot diggity, was I pleased. If this coffee cake could sing it would probably belt out the chorus to Pitbull’s “I Know You Want Me.”
This bread is a little tricky to put together, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it, cause you totally can. The challenge arises right after you’ve cut the dough into strips and are assembling them into spirals. There are two things to keep in mind while doing this:
- Any loose nuts will fall off once you lift the strip of dough (darn gravity!) so make sure you press most of them into the dough with your rolling pin first, see instructions in the recipe below.
- Don’t rush through this step. Take your time, rotating the springform pan so you can easily start the next strip of dough where the other left off and gently pressing each strip onto the ones that came before it. The dough should look like this when you’re done.
That’s about it!
My husband and I are leaving on a Caribbean cruise tomorrow so I’ll be MIA for the next 10 days while we visit Bermuda, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. Maarten. (I’m so excited!!) But never fear, all shall not be quiet on the Baking and Books front. Two fabulous bloggers – Zoë of Zoë Bakes and Susan of Wild Yeast – will be guest posting while I’m away. They are talented ladies and I’m thrilled they’ve agreed to share their knowledge and recipes with you. Zoë’s post will be published on May 31st and Susan’s will be up on June 3rd, so stay tuned and please show them your love.
Spiral Coffee Cake with Nuts and Orange Marmalade
Adapted from The Good Housekeeping Step-by-Step Cookbook
Ingredients: Makes 1 coffee cake
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided use
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 1/4-ounce packages active-dry yeast
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3 large eggs, divided use
- 1/2 cup orange marmalade, melted
Spray a 10-inch springform pan with PAM or another baking spray.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large bowl by heating it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. (You could also melt it in a saucepan on the stove). Add the chopped pecans and walnuts, then the brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Mix well, then set aside.
Cut remaining 4 tablespoons of butter into small pieces, then combine with the milk in another large bowl. Microwave for about 1 minute, until very warm. (Again, stove top is fine if you prefer). If the milk is hot let it cool off a bit before proceeding – it should be about the temperature you would put in a baby’s bottle.
When the milk/butter mixture is warm – not hot – pour it into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast, stirring once with a spoon. Allow mixture to rest (proof) for 5 minutes.
Add 1 cup of flour to the yeast mixture and mix until blended. Add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, the nutmeg, sugar, salt, and 2 eggs, mixing well. Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until you have a soft dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Using a stand mixer, knead for 8 minutes, sprinkling with flour as needed until you have a smooth dough. If kneading by hand, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, adding additional flour as needed. Allow dough to rest for 10 minutes.
While the dough is resting melt the marmalade in a small saucer, stirring constantly.
Roll the dough out to an 18×10 inch rectangle. Brush the melted marmalade all over the surface of the dough, then sprinkle your pecan-walnut mixture on top. Press the nut filling into the dough by lightly rolling over it with a rolling pin.
Cut the dough lengthwise into 2-inch-wide strips. Take one strip and roll it around itself before placing it in the center of your springform pan, cut side down. Now, one at a time, wrap the remaining strips around the center strip, until you have a mass of shaped dough that looks like this. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm spot for 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small bowl beat the yolk from the remaining egg with a fork, then brush the coffee cake with it. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden. If the middle of the coffee cake browns faster than the outer portions of dough, cut a small square of aluminum foil and place it over the part of the cake that is browning faster.
Cool coffee cake for 5 minutes before running a butter knife around the edges and removing the sides of the springform pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.