When I was growing up, we always had coffeecakes in the house. My stay-at-home, Italian immigrant mother didn't drive, so weekly grocery runs to pick up staples, like milk and bread, weren't an option. Instead, she had a milkman who delivered fresh milk, butter, eggs and cottage cheese to the house a couple times a week. She also had a delivery service from a local baking company, called Awrey, that would deliver bread and assorted bakery products to our house. Mom was a sucker for their coffeecakes, longjohns and almond tea rings especially. If us kids were around when the delivery man came, we could guilt her into also purchasing donuts, cookies or cakes.
As a result, I too, am a sucker for coffeecakes. These days I am more likely to purchase an Entenmanns brand cake rather than Awrey, but for special holiday mornings, like Easter, I prefer to have a homemade coffeecake as part of our Easter morning breakfast.
Sour cream streusel cakes or fruit enhanced crumb topped cakes are typical of the kinds I usually make. This time I am trying a yeast based, sweet bread coffeecake with cherry preserves and almonds. The recipe comes from the instruction and recipe booklet that came with my Kitchen Aid stand mixer.
The cake uses a batter-type bread base rather than a regular bread dough that requires kneading. The whole bread batter can be made in the mixer, but like all breads, requires the usual two rising periods.
A sweet bread with a light fruit topping, a sprinkle of almonds and a sugar glaze, this coffeecake is not overly sweet or too rich. Unlike many coffeecakes that can also pass as a dessert, this one is clearly a bread more than a cake. It is delicious served warm, with a fresh cup of coffee, and will be great served next to the spinach and mushroom frittata I plan to make Easter morning.
1 1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter
1 package (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
3 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. orange zest
1 c. cherry preserves
1 c. powdered sugar
additional milk for glaze
1/3 c. sliced almonds
Heat the milk, salt, sugar and butter in a small saucepan just to boiling and butter is fully melted.
Pour into the mixer bowl and let cool to lukewarm (105-115 degrees). Add yeast. Stir at first speed, mixing until the yeast is fully dissolved, about 15 seconds.
Add 1 c. flour and turn to speed 4 mixing until combined, about 1 minute.
Stop and scrape bowl. Add eggs, vanilla, and orange zest. Turn to speed 6 and beat until well combined, about 1 minute.
Reduce to speed 1 and enough of the remaining flour, 1/4 c. at a time, to form a thick batter. Stop and scrape bowl. Turn to speed 6 and beat until smooth, about 30 seconds.
Place batter in lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise in warm place free from drafts until double in bulk, about 1 hour. I turn my oven on to the lowest temperature setting. Before it gets to that temp, but can feel the warmth inside, I turn off the oven. Let it cool a bit then allow the dough to proof in the warm oven.
Stir batter down, then divide between two 9-in round baking pans. Let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Using a sharp small knife, lightly cut a shallow swirl design into each cake. Fill the grooves in each cake with a quarter cup of the preserves.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and cool on wire racks.
Re-fill the grooves with the remaining preserves. Mix powdered sugar with enough milk to make a thin glaze. Drizzle the glaze over the warm cakes and sprinkle with almonds. Let glaze set before serving. Makes 2 coffeecakes