Easter morning is all about sweets and treats and the beginning of a day of indulging. That makes it a great day for coffee cake, and I had a list of options from the March issue of Living magazine. These recipes were all shown with possible variations, and the one that caught my eye was the sour cherry and cream cheese version of the yeasted coffee cake. The dough was rolled up just like when making cinnamon rolls, and then it was swirled into a spiral before baking. The filling was to have been fresh or thawed, frozen sour cherries, but neither were available. Instead, I used dried sour cherries that I plumped in some orange juice. The brioche-type dough was easy to make, handled very well, and expanded nicely in the oven. I didn’t realize the cream cheese filling mixture would bake into the dough when spread thin. That did make the cake very tender and delicious, but clumps of cream cheese here and there would have offered more of a cheese Danish experience. I’ll try that next time when fresh cherries arrive and I make this again.
To start the dough, yeast was added to warm milk, and sugar, an egg, and an egg yolk were combined and then whisked into the yeast mixture. That was added to flour with salt in a mixer. It was mixed with a dough hook while butter pieces were added. It looked like it would never come together, but letting the machine do its thing for about eight to ten minutes resulted in a smooth dough. It was left to rise for an hour and a half, and then the filling was made. Meanwhile, I covered a cup and half of dried sour cherries with orange juice and let them sit. Then, softened cream cheese was mixed with an egg yolk and confectioners’ sugar. When the dough had doubled in volume, it was rolled out into a big square. The cream cheese mixture was spread across the surface leaving about an inch border all around. As I mentioned above, some clumps of cream cheese might be interesting rather than spreading it completely evenly. I drained the soaking dried cherries and sprinkled them across the cream cheese layer. The dough was then rolled up into a log shape which was turned into a spiral. The spiral-shaped cake was placed on a parchment-lined baking sheet and covered with plastic wrap. It was allowed to rise for half an hour before being baked. The baking started at 350 degrees F for 55 minutes, and then the temperature was reduced to 325 degrees F for an additional 15 minutes. When the cake was cool, it was drizzled with a confectioners’ sugar glaze.
I was so happy with the pretty shape of the cake, it might not have even mattered if it didn’t taste good. And, of course, it tasted great too. Rich and lovely yeasted brioche dough studded with chewy, dried sour cherries was a fitting cake for Easter morning. I’m sure I can think of some other mornings suited to this treat too. For instance, aren’t Tuesdays deserving of coffee cake? They should be.