Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Avid Baker's Challenge: Lemon-Scented Pull-Apart Coffee Cake

The April assignment for the Avid Baker's Challenge is Zebra Cookies. But as it's not quite April yet and I've got several delicious recipes tagged in Flo Braker's Baking for All Occasions, I decided to make something that's been haunting my dreams since I saw the photo in the book and on lots of other blogs, including fellow ABC baker, Hanaâ.

This weekend it was time for me to tackle the Lemon-Scented Pull-Apart Coffee Cake, page 163. After eating some, all I could think was why, oh why, didn't I make this sooner. I am a huge fan of all things lemon-zesty, so this was a home run in my book. FB herself has posted the recipe and directions online in case you want to try this one - I definitely recommend it!

Thanks to an absolutely adorable drawing on this blog - No Special Effects - I knew exactly how to create all of the fabulous lemony layers of the coffee cake. Step-by-step photos in the book, for a recipe like this, would have been helpful, but thanks to Manggy's diagram I wasn't worried at all. I love the internet!

Even though the finished product looks very fancy and complex the recipe was really quite straightforward. The coffee cake loaf would be great as a gift, for a bake sale or a brunch party - anywhere you want to make a grand impression. All three parts of the cake - the dough, filling and icing - were easy to make and came together quickly. The only thing that took a while was waiting during the two rising periods.

Next time I make this coffee cake - and there will be a next time - I might try adding some nutmeg or even go with a cinnamon-sugar-lemon zest-ground pecan filling.

mise en place for the coffee cake

adding the warm milk/butter mixture to the flour mixture

mixed by hand until combined and then onto the mixer

adding the eggs, one at a time

adding the remaining flour

the dough was quite sticky when I turned it out but after just a few seconds
of kneading - without adding any additional flour - the stickiness was gone

after about one minute of kneading, the dough was nice and smooth

I'll make the filling while the dough rises

mise en place - sugar, melted butter and lemon and orange zests...yum!

I made a small mistake when making the filling - I mixed the melted butter in with the zest/sugar. So instead of brushing the butter onto the dough and then sprinkling the zest/sugar mixture on top of it, I just spread my buttery zest mixture all over each strip of dough with the back of a spoon. The cake tasted fantastic, so I don't imagine it made any difference. And, actually, it may have made assembly easier since I didn't have to worry about the sandy zest/sugar mixture moving around when I picked up the dough strips to layer them on top of each other.

my filling, ready to be spread on the layers

after rising for almost an hour, it hasn't quite doubled in size, but...

when I pressed my finger into the dough, the indent stayed, so - per the instructions - it was ready

I tried to shape my dough into a rectangle before I started rolling

rolled out to 20 x 12"

cut into five strips, each 4" wide

I spread 1/5 of the filling onto each strip and then layered them on top of each other

the layers are then cut into 6 rectangles of ~2 x 4"

into the buttered loaf pan

I got a little worried at this point, because the recipe said to let the dough rise again until doubled in size. My six segments were already barely fitting into the loaf pan so I decided to take 2 segments out and bake them in a separate pan.

I wasn't sure how those two on their own would fare since they didn't take up much
space in the pan, but I figured I'd find out soon

after about 40 minutes they look ready to bake

35 minutes and done. The pan with the 2 segments looks pretty cute!

the smell of the lemon and sugar caramelizing in the pan was wonderful

mise en place for the icing. I didn't have any cream cheese so I used mascarpone instead.

let's get these babies iced and eaten while they are still warm!

I like the 2 segment mini loaf. Next time, I think I'll make several of the small loaves instead.

all I can really say is YUM!

time for a few slices and a cup of coffee...

a wee bit more icing...delicious!

Bye for now...


  1. Beautiful loaf, Alice. I'm glad you liked it. I really loved it too. And I'm with you on lemon-zesty things :o) When reading your post, I was really thinking, why haven't I made this again? :o)

  2. LOL! I made mine last weekend and finished the last few slices yesterday...and already want to make it again! It was so delicious.

    In a week or so I'm donating some baked goods to a bake sale to raise money for Japan so I think I'll make a few mini loaves for that...and maybe 1 extra for myself too :)

  3. Oh my gosh, this looks delicious!

  4. This looks so good!!! I have to give this one a try! Beautiful job!