Monday, May 19, 2014

Lemon-Scented Pull-Apart Coffee Cake : Bake-Along #61

It's time for Bake-Along #61. Firstly I would like to thank each and everyone who has submitted your chocolate bakes for Bake-Along's 3rd Anniversary. It was delicious seeing all the different chocolate bakes. Thank you for celebrating together with Lena, Zoe and myself, and hope that you would continue to bake together with us!

For today's bake, it's my turn to select, and my selection is "Lemon-Scented Pull-Apart Coffee Cake" which is actually a sweet bread. I have been eyeing this recipe ever since I got the book "Baking For All Ocassions" by Flo Braker more than a year ago. I like the way the bread is baked by lining up layers of dough in the loaf pan which was stacked and sliced to begin with, and with citrus-sugar mixture in between, 
The dough is left to rise, baked, cool slightly and brush the top with cream cheese-lemon icing. Eat while still warm, so good!

 Not a pretty sight! This pull-apart bread is just so messy to eat, yet I do not mind getting my fingers sticky! It is simply yummy!

This photo shows the 5 layers of dough strips which have been stacked on top of one another and then sliced through to make 6 equal strips. The step-by-step photos before this step, are missing from my camera! Sorry about that. But by reading the detailed instructions in the recipe below, you would know how these strips are formed.

Note : I've reduced the sugar for the dough, the filling and the cream cheese icing. My changes are listed in blue in the recipe below.

Place the strips with cut side facing up, in the prepared loaf pan, and just like the recipe stated, there will be space on both sides of the strips widthwise, while it is slightly tight lengthwise. The spaces will be filled up later, while the bread is baking.

Leave the strips to rise until almost doubled in size, and then bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 35 minutes.

Spread the warm bread with the cream-cheese icing. You may either pull-apart the loaf to serve or cut it to thin slices.

This is one delicious bread. The texture is really soft and moist. And the cream cheese icing is just so wonderful with the bread. I can taste both the orange and lemon, in the bread itself and the cream-cheese icing is so lemony good, which I've added more lemon juice, just because! I'm glad I've reduced the sugar slightly, as it turns out quite sweet as well, but good! This bread stays just as soft on the next day!

The instructions in the recipe may sound and look complicated, but it really is easy to follow. Bake this bread  (your family will love you for it!) and join us in our Bake-Along. 

(my changes in blue)
Lemon-Scented Pull-Apart Coffee Cake
(adapted from "Baking For All Occasions", Flo Braker)
Sweet Yeast Dough
About 2-3/4 cups (12-1/4 ounces/350 grams) all-purpose flour (I used bread flour)
1/4 cup (1-3/4 ounces/50 grams) granulated sugar (1/8 cup)
2-1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (2-1/2 fl ounces/75ml) whole milk
2 ounces (1/2 stick/55 grams) unsalted butter
1/4 cup (2 fl ounces/60ml water)
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature

Lemon Paste Filling
1/2 cup (3-1/2 ounces/100 grams) granulated sugar (1/3 cup)
3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (3 lemons)
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
2 ounces (1/2 sticks/55 grams) unsalted butter, melted

Tangy Cream Cheese Icing
3 ounces (85 grams) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup (1-1/4 ounces/35 grams) powdered sugar (1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (2-3 tablespoons)

To make the Sweet Yeast Dough :
Stir together 2 cups (9 ounces/255 grams) of the flour, the sugar, the yeast, and the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer; set aside. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter over low heat just until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat, add the water, and set aside until warm (120 to 130 degrees F), about 1 minute. Add the vanilla extract.

Pour the milk mixture over the flour-yeast mixture and, using a rubber spatula, mix until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Attach the bowl to the mixer; and fit the mixer with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition just until incorporated. Stop the mixer, add 1/2 cup (2-1/4 ounces/65 grams) of the remaining flour, and resume mixing on low speed until the dough is smooth, 30 to 45 seconds. Add 2 more tablespoons flour and mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth, soft and slightly sticky, about 45 seconds.

Sprinkle a work surface with 1 tablespoon flour and center the dough on the flour. Knead gently until smooth and no longer sticky, about 1 minute, adding an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons flour only if necessary to lessen the stickiness. Place the dough in a large bowl, cover the bowl securely with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in a warm place (about 70 degrees F) until doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes. Press the dough gently with a fingertip. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready for the next step. While the dough is rising, make the filling.

To Make The Lemon Paste Filling :
In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and the lemon and orange zests. Set the sandy-wet mixture nearby (the sugar draws out moisture from the zests to create the consistency).

Before Baking :
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan. Or, lightly coat the pan with nonstick spray.

To Shape The Coffee Cake :
Gently deflate the dough. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 20-by-12-inch rectangle. Using a pastry brush, spread the melted butter generously over the dough. Cut the dough crosswise into 5 strips, each about 12 by 4 inches. (A pizza cutter is helpful here.) Sprinkle 1-1/2 tablespoons of the zest-sugar mixture over one of the buttered rectangles. Top with a second rectangle and sprinkle it with 1-1/2 tablespoons of the zest-sugar mixture. Repeat with the remaining dough rectangles and zest-sugar mixture, ending with a stack of 5 rectangles. Work carefully when adding the crumbly zest filling, or it will fall off when you have to lift the stacked pastry later.

Slice the stack crosswise through the 5 layers to create 6 equal strips, each about 4 by 2 inches. Fit these layered strips into the prepared loaf pan, cut edges up and side by side. (While there is plenty of space on either side of the 6 strips widthwise in the pan, fitting the strips lengthwise is tight. But that's fine because the spaces between the dough and the sides of the pan fill in during baking). Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place, (70 degrees F) until puffy and almost doubled in size, 30 to 50 minutes. Press the dough gently with a fingertip. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready for baking.

Bake the coffee cake until the top is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes. (After baking for about 25 minutes, I tent the top with foil as the top was already brown, and continue to bake for another 10 minutes until bread is done).

While the coffee cake bakes, make the Tangy Cream Cheese Icing :
In a medium bowl, using a rubber spatula, vigorously mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the milk and lemon juice until the mixture is creamy and smooth.

To remove the coffee cake from the pan, tilt and rotate the pan while gently tapping it on a counter to release the cake sides. Invert a wire rack on top of the coffee cake, invert the cake onto the rack, and carefully lift off the pan. Invert another rack on top, invert the cake so it is right side up, and remove the original rack. Slip a sheet of waxed paper under the rack to catch any drips from the icing. Using a pastry brush, coat the top of the warm cake with the icing to glaze it. (Cover and refrigerate the leftover icing for another use. It will keep for up to 2 days).

Serve the coffee cake warm or at room temperature. To serve, you can pull apart the layers, or you can cut the cake into 1-inch-thick slices on a slight diagonal with a long, serrated knife. If you decide to cut the cake, don't attempt to cut it until it is almost completely cool.


Please visit my baking buddies, Lena from Frozen Wings and Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids, and all our friends who has baked along with us in the linky below :

For our next Bake-Along, our bake is "Theme : Savoury Pie/Tart"Bake any savoury pie or tart of your choice and join us! The linky will start on 5th June until 14th June. Everyone is welcome! 


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  1. yumm, bread looks so nice and fluffy . My little 2 year old just saw me viewing your bread and went " mmmm yummy" and he is quite a fussy one when it comes to food!!.So would definetly give this a try

  2. Oh, I have seen you & Zoe have posted this. they look more like bread hoh, it's like the opposite of banana bread(which looks like banana cake). Lemon scented will be so nice!

  3. Delicious and lovely looking pull apart coffee cake. Would surely learn from this post how to prepare it.

  4. Hi Joyce! Your bread with all that ooey gooey icing dripping over the sides is really making me hungry hah! hah! My goodness, I wish I can have a taste :)

  5. Never an overdose from such zesty bread.... Just visited Lena and Zoe... Gonna drop at yours for tea *grin*

  6. Hi Joyce , 2 words yummy , delicious , thanks for sharing :)

  7. Hi Joyce,

    When my son and I saw your first picture, we are like wow!!! So much cream cheese icing!!! The cake is soaking in icing!!! My son said that he wants yours too with this much icing! :p

    Great choice because we all love this cake!


  8. Looks like this is a finger licking good cake with that thick icing... :D Thanks for sharing, Joyce!

  9. Beautiful cake! So sorry that you lost your photos but that last slice shot speaks volumes about just how soft and fluffy this cake is. Like you, I've wanted to make this recipe for a while...I'm glad I joined in this month.

  10. wow, there's a lot of icing on your bread compared to mine..i didnt use all the icing but just dip in the next day. The flavours are really nice, i enjoyed it very much. Thx buddy!

  11. Waaa.... this looks fabulous , Joyce! I've never make pull apart bread or cake before . Now I'm tempted to bake one too. ;)

  12. Hi Joyce, yummy and delicious with lots of icing ... wish I have a slice too ! ^-^

  13. This is something i would love to give a try definitely, very tempting coffee cake.

  14. I love the cream cheese icing on top...yummy!

  15. the icing on top is making me want to lick the screen. WOW, nothing better than pull apart bread with cream cheese icing;)

  16. This looks awesome, Joyce. I only tried cinnamon pull apart before, now I know what I should bake next time. The tangy cream cheese filling sounds fantastic.

  17. Love this Joyce look absolutely delicious nd love the icing!

  18. Hi Joyce, your pull apart bread looks so fluffy and soft. Delicious!