DB: Chocolate almond yeasted coffee cake

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake. 

Frangipane and I are not getting along. We have a bit of an abusive relationship going on: I love to eat frangipane, but every time I work with frangipane, I run into some “issues” and loads of anger. It started with this incident in January. Now three months later, I’ve had another terrible run-in with frangipane. *Sigh.* I refused to photograph/display this one. I think that, if the picture from the first incident is any indication, you will have a rough idea of what this train wreck resembled.

On paper, I began with what seemed like a “brilliant” idea for a yeasted coffee cake filled with almond frangipane and dark chocolate chunks. Think croissant choco-amande. Yum. I suppose ideas initially always seem brilliant. In practice, this “brilliant” idea oozed out of the bread baking in the oven.

Idea: not so brilliant. *Sigh.*

After I and my “brilliant” idea had cooled off, I sampled the bread and took a photo of a slice. Verdict: very edible; pretty tasty, in fact; there’s potential here (I am pretty proud of the swirl!).

Back to the kitchen.

The ironic part of this disaster: I had spent loads of time with a calculator, carefully dividing the recipe in half so as to make only one bread. Three hours later, I found myself back in the kitchen making a second batch. If only I hadn’t divided the dough recipe in the first place, I would have had some back-up dough to play with! Hindsight is 20/20. It really is true.

I scaled down my filling recipes and started all over. Working and reworking a recipe reminds me of my lab days, when I’d spend 12 to 16 hours per day researching and tweaking reaction conditions (like recipes) until I got them just right. It’s strange to think how similar my hobby and my previous day job are. My hobby and my day job do differ on one point: my hobby leads me to daily delicious yumminess in my tummy; my PhD did not. School led me to depression, insanity, sleep deprivation, and an addiction to Advil, candy, caffeine, and work.

I had hope for this second batch. I shaped the bread into a lucky horseshoe. (Desperation?) Then I popped it into the oven and forgot to set the timer. Sadly, I’m really not exaggerating. I had to watch it bake and guesstimate the elapsed time. I can’t blame the frangipane for this oversight.

And then, the second bread oozed. And, nope, I’m still not joking. This time, I photographed it (I’m sorry if it looks kind of gross! Please don’t hate me.). Before starting, my gut feeling was that simply rolling the filled dough and not sealing the edges with an egg wash was a terrible idea. I can now confirm this after two messes.

Retrospect: Both attempts ended with wonderful bread, though the methods are going to take some more tweaking which is why I can’t provide a recipe yet. I’m pretty sure my “brilliant” idea of a gorgeous yeasted coffee cake, filled with chocolate and almond frangipane, has potential, just not this week. Frangipane and I are going to take a break from each other again. We clearly have some tension to work through.

Since I’m kind of mad at frangipane right now, maybe for my next attempt, I’ll use gobs of marzipan. Frangipane, screw you!

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