Recipes are not the usual focus (dare I say bread and butter?) of this journal, and when they do appear they are almost always something to do with breads. This is a new one that is so successful I thought others might like to try it.
The basic recipe came from the King Arthur Flour website and chunks of what follows is a direct crib. They call it coffee cake (meaning a cake to eat with coffee and not one flavoured with coffee) and it is obviously intended to be eaten as such, but for all that it is really a yeast-raised bread.
Before starting I decided that some modifications were in order … for example, the “starter” in the original is basically a poor man’s instant sourdough-ish mix so I substituted some of my real sourdough in its place for flavour. You could probably omit that stage altogether, adjusting quantities accordingly. Also the original recipe employs all-purpose flour and I am sure that would be splendid, were it not that gluten intolerance has reared its head in this household. Gluten doesn’t have to be totally avoided, but keeping the amount generally low is a good thing for us … and so spelt flour was substituted … and anyway, spelt just tastes so good why wouldn’t you? Use what flour you have/prefer. If you want to see the original recipe, have look at the King Arthur website – the following however, works really well.
- 1 cup of sourdough starter (if none available suggest 1/2 cup of additional flour + 1/2 cup of additional water)
- 2/3 to 1 cup lukewarm water (adjust to get a good-feeling dough)
- 2 3/4 cups (326g) Spelt or regular all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons, 57g) butter, at room temperature.
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons (25g) sugar
- 1 packet of instant yeast
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup (113g) toasted walnuts, very coarsely chopped
- 3/4 cup (113g) chopped dates
- 3/4 cup (128g) raisins, golden preferred (soaked to swell them before adding)
- 2 tablespoons (25g) sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon water
Combine the dough ingredients, mixing and kneading to form a smooth, supple dough. It’ll be quite slack so kneading in a mixer, rather than by hand.
Place the dough in a bowl, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour. It may not double in bulk; that’s OK.
Gently deflate the dough, and knead the nuts and fruit into it.
Shape the dough into a flat ball, and place it in a lightly greased 9″ round cake pan. Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the loaf to rise for 45-60 minutes, or until it fills the pan side to side and barely crests over the top.
Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Glaze the coffeecake: Combine the sugar, vanilla and water, and drizzle this mixture over the top of the risen cake.
Bake the coffeecake on a lower oven rack for 50 to 60 minutes, or until it’s golden brown. Tent lightly with foil for the final 20 minutes, if it appears to be browning too quickly. The internal temperature of the finished bread should be at least 190°F.
Remove the coffeecake from the oven, and after 5 minutes, carefully turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Cool completely before slicing.
Serve at room temperature; or pop slices into the toaster and spread with butter, for a special treat.
Store the coffeecake at room temperature, well wrapped, for several days. Freeze for longer storage.
Pretty good stuff – goes well with afternoon tea as well as morning coffee.
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