Sunday, April 15, 2012

Triple Citrus Coffee Cake

I guess I’ve made it a tradition that I bake a somewhat elaborate breakfast bread for Easter. I can handle that so long as I find a recipe that’s just as good to attempt next year. This year, it was a rolled and cut yeasted sweet bread dough filled with cream cheese mixed with poppy seeds and dried cranberries. The recipe is from an issue of Living magazine from several years ago. My best guess is that it appeared in the early 2000’s, and the recipe is not available online so I’ll include it below. The triple citrus part of the name comes from the orange juice as well as the lemon, orange, and lime zest that are included in the dough. The process for making this is exactly like making cinnamon rolls only rather than cutting individual rolls, the dough is only partially cut through and pieces are twisted out from the center. Now that I look back at my photos, I realize I could have done a better job of that twisting. Regardless of the direction of the twists and how the pieces land, it’s a fragrant and delicious coffee cake. The tender, buttery dough makes it easy to pull a piece off the finished loaf, and the flavors will have you pulling at a second piece soon enough.

This breakfast bread or coffee cake is actually pretty simple to prepare, you just have to allow the time for the dough to rise. Also, this recipe makes two loaves so you can either feed a crowd or store the second loaf in the freezer. To begin, active dry yeast was added to warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer. To that, orange juice, two eggs, more sugar, melted butter, citrus zests, and salt were added. Those ingredients were mixed with a dough hook, and five cups of flour were added one cup at a time while mixing on low speed. The dough was turned out onto a floured surface and kneaded for a few minutes. It was then left to rise for about one and a half hours. When the dough had risen, softened cream cheese was mixed with confectioner’s sugar, two egg yolks, and vanilla, and then poppy seeds and dried cranberries were added. Two baking sheets were lined with buttered parchment paper. The dough was cut in half, and one half at a time was rolled into a big rectangle. Each piece of dough was brushed with melted butter followed by the cream cheese mixture, and then each dough rectangle was rolled into a log. Each log of dough was placed on a prepared baking sheet. Then, each log was cut down one side about six or seven times along the length of the dough with the cuts spaced two inches apart. The cuts only went partially through the rolled dough. Each cut segment was turned to face cut-side up with every other segment being twisted to the opposite side. The cut and twisted loaves were covered with plastic wrap and left for a second rise for about 30 minutes. Before being baked, each loaf was brushed with egg wash.

The dough turns a lovely golden brown as it bakes, and the citrus scent filled the kitchen. If the eggs and melted butter in the dough didn’t make it delicious enough on its own, the sweet cream cheese filling takes it up another level in decadence. This is a definite keeper, so I’ll eventually get better at making those twists in the dough.

Triple Citrus Coffee Cake
From Martha Stewart Living

makes two 16-inch loaves

1/2 cup butter melted, plus 3 tablespoons butter melted
1/2 cup warm water
2 envelopes active dry yeast or 2 tablespooons
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 eggs, lightly beaten, plus one egg for egg wash
zest of one organic lemon
zest of one organic lime
zest of one organic orange
1 teaspoon salt
5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
spray oil for bowl
1 pound, or two 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup dried cranberries (4 ¼ ounces)
2/3 cup poppy seeds

-In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, place warm water and yeast. Mix to dissolve and let stand for a few minutes until foamy. Add orange juice, two whole eggs, the granulated sugar, 1/2 cup of the melted butter, the citrus zests, and salt. Mix until combined. On low speed, slowly add the flour one cup at a time, and mix until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

-Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Spray a large bowl with spray oil and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave the dough to rise for about an hour and a half or until doubled in size.

-When the dough is almost finished rising, add the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla to a large mixing bowl and either stir together or mix with a hand mixer until smooth. Stir in dried cranberries and poppy seeds until well combined.

-Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and brush the parchment paper with one tablespoon of melted butter. Divide the dough in half, and working with one half, roll it out on a floured surface into a rectangle about eleven inches by fifteen inches. Brush the dough with one tablespoon of melted butter. Spread half of the cream cheese mixture over the rectangle. Beginning on a long side of the rectangle, use your fingertips to roll the dough into a log, and pinch the seam to seal. Place the roll on one of the prepared baking sheets seam side down. Using a sharp knife, cut segments into the dough roll, along one side, at two-inch increments. The segments should only be cut three-quarters of the way through the width of the log. Pick up the first segment and turn it so it sits cut-side up. Lift and twist the second segment so it sits cut-side up on the opposite side of the roll. Repeat with alternating segments along the roll of dough. Then, repeat rolling, filling, and cutting with second piece of dough.

-Loosely cover each loaf with plastic wrap and set them aside to rise for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Uncover the loaves and brush the dough only with egg wash. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, rotating baking sheets front to back and switching bottom pan to top and top to bottom in the oven after 15 minutes. Let cool before slicing or simply pulling pieces from the loaves.

I’m submitting this to Yeastspotting where you’ll find some seriously well-made bread.


  1. What a gorgeous treat! The flavors are just wonderful.



  2. they look like something out of a chic bakery, very pretty and rustic.

  3. agree with Rosa. This loaf has incredible flavours!

  4. I am in love with this bready cake!! Absolutely gorgeous. Poppy seeds make me sing. out loud.

  5. This looks so amazing! A real treat!

  6. Love anything citrus and it's perfect for breakfast. The dough is almost like tsoureki which we make for Easter, which we are still enjoying every morning.

  7. This looks so lovely and tasty! What a great breakfast it would be with a cup of coffee.

  8. This bread looks heavenly....and I love poppy seeds in baked goods!

  9. Lisa, these are simply beautiful. I could go one with my cup of tea right now!

  10. I'm honestly not sure if you'll find a way to top these. They are just too gorgeous!

  11. Heavenly, Lisa! Simply delectable. I love the combinations of goodness. Your Triple Citrus Coffee Cake looks magnificent!

    Thank you so much for sharing...

  12. That is a stunning bread. I like the list of ingredients and the twisting pattern is very impressive. xx

  13. How beautiful. I love the look of it. I also love the addition of cream cheese filling. I'm going to add this into my list of Easter breads since I am so smitten with the idea of Easter breads from around the world now.

  14. The three citrus and the cranberries, the whole bread (or cake) sounds so fruity good!

  15. oddly enough, two of my favorite things about this are the poppy seeds and cranberries!

  16. Triple citrus, I'm charmed! This coffee cake is a citrus lovers delight. I may forgo the family favorite of Cinnamon Rolls for Mother's Day and treat myself to this spectacular coffee cake. (BTW, your twists look great!)

  17. Cool Lisa, I love the triple citrus mixed with poppy seed and cranberries...beautiful loaf.
    Awesome pictures...hope you are having a great week :)

  18. Great loaves! Very unusual, nice combination of flavors, and they turned out great, I liked your "twisting" job

    citrus, cranberries, and poppyseeds - what's not to like? awesome!

  19. Delicious coffee cake! And photos are amazing!

  20. You can never have too much citrus or coffee cake - this looks absolutely gorgeous :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  21. Lisa, this is so beautiful! I expect nothing less from you but this is really spectacular!


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