First up, I apologize for lousy pictures. I always like to have bread warm out of the oven and precious minutes were ticking by for every shot I had to readjust and yadda yadda yadda. So, back to the bread. The title says coffee cake but don't let that fool you. It's actually layers of pillowy dough sandwiched with a mixture of melted butter, sugar and lemon and orange zest arranged in vertical layers such that you can pull it apart bit by bit, hence the name.
It's really fun to eat, but sad to say, I'm not exactly enamoured with the taste. The dough could be sweeter, and there was an odd element to it that my tastebuds can't pinpoint. Perhaps there was too much yeast- this bread dough rose exceptionally fast. I also did away with the icing which was probably intended to compensate for the not-so-sweet bread.
The sugary filling made it for me! Most of it ended up at the bottom of the loaf tin, soaking the lower part of the bread such that the outside is soggy and delicious but not so much so that the inside is still fluffy and moist. Some of the sugar caramelized on the outside and became some sort of an orange-caramel crunchy candy. Oh yeah. That was good. And my other favourite part of the loaf was the crispy top parts. I like crunch. Is it obvious?
I suggest replacing the bread dough with your own sweet dough recipe if you decide to make this and follow the rest of this recipe. Or, you could make a cinnamon-sugar filling version by the wonderful Joy should you be not so inclined to zesty-ness. Note that both the doughs are the same and remember, the thinner you roll your dough, the higher filling-to-dough ratio.
Orange Pull-Apart Coffee Cake...adapted from Flo Braker
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (one envelope)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
Cream Cheese Icing:
3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 tablespoon lemon or orange juice
Grease a standard loaf pan (8 1/2 x 4 inches).
Mix 2 cups of the flour with sugar, yeast and salt in mixer bowl fitted with paddle attachment.
Heat milk and butter just in microwave or on stove top, just till butter is melted. Add water, then allow to cool till just warm (120-130º). Stir in vanilla.
Pour the milk mixture into the flour and mix till flour is just moistened. Add eggs, one at a time, beating till incorporated. Stop mixer and add 1/2 cup of the remaining flour and mix on low till dough is smooth, less than a minute. Add 2 more tablespoons of flour and mix again till dough is smooth, less than a minute.
Lightly flour work surface and knead dough for about a minute. Add up to another 2 tablespoons of flour if dough is too sticky. Place dough in lightly greased bowl, cover, and place in a warm place till doubled in bulk, about an hour.
Mix melted butter, sugar, and zest for filling. Set aside.
Punch down dough, then roll into a 20 x 12 inch rectangle on floured surface. Using knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into five strips...each 12 x 4 inches...use a ruler to be as accurate as possible (I trimmed some uneven edges). Spread filling over tops of each strip. Carefully stack all these strips on top of each other, so you have a stack of five 12 x 4 inch rectangles.
Next, cut this stack into 6 equal rectangles, each two inches wide. Carefully, place each of these smaller stacks into the loaf pan, cut sides up. Cover and let rise in a warm spot till about doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350º. Bake for 30-45 minutes, depending on your oven, till top is browned. Cool on rack about 10-15 minutes then remove from pan to continue cooling. *I would err on the side of underbaking it a little so that the insides are super moist! Stop when the tops are just turning golden.
Make icing by beating cream cheese and powdered sugar till smooth. Add milk and juice, and mix till combined. Ice warm cake. Serve warm or at room temperature.