Monday, February 28, 2011

ABC - Old-World Braided Coffee Cake

A yeasted coffee cake called the Old-World Braided Coffee Cake is the March recipe for the ABC bakers. It's a sweet yeasted bread that's braided around a sweet and slightly spicy nut filling. It was my first braided coffee cake so I was pretty excited about it. The recipe can be found in Flo Braker's book, Baking for all Occasions.
Braided Coffee Cake brushed with Maple Syrup for a shiny top

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I made the dough in the bread machine using the dough cycle. After 90 minutes, which includes 30 minutes of kneading and 60 minutes of rising time, I had a satiny smooth dough that was just slightly sticky. I made a couple changes to the dough: added the zest of one large navel orange and instead of 2 oz of butter I used 2 oz of sour cream for a little tang as well as a reduction in fat and calories.

The filling intrigued me a lot as I wasn't sure what kind of consistency it would be after it baked inside the dough. I substituted the walnuts with an equal amount of toasted almonds. I ground them finely in the food processor and added sugar, cinnamon, and salt which I pulsed together. To make this pasty, a mixture of cream and maple syrup is heated and added to the nut mixture. This thick mixture has the consistency of marzipan or almond paste. To lighten this mixture for the filling, beaten egg whites are folded in.

Roll the dough into a rectangle and use a fork to dock it into three equal parts

Put the filling in the middle leaving some space between the sides, top and bottom

Fold the dough strips over the filling, one from each side, back and forth. Not the prettiest thing in the world but I bet it'll taste great!
After about an hour, the dough was risen enough to go into the oven (the small piece on the right is for quality control) :o)

After a 25 minute stay in the oven, I brushed the coffee cake with 1 Tbsp of maply syrup to make it shiny

A slice of almond/orange goodness. Bon appetit!

Final thoughts/tips:
  • We enjoyed this coffee cake a lot. On day #2 it felt a bit dry but a quick zap in the microwave "fixed" that. Hubby gave it a 9 out of 10. I sliced the remainder of the coffee cake (for easy access) and froze it.
  • The "bread" part is soft, not overly sweet, with a nice orange flavor. It contains eggs so it's almost like a brioche but it's less rich. It's perfectly complimented by the sweet, cinnamon-y and slightly crunchy almond filling which had the consistency of chunky/crunchy almond butter. When eaten warm (even after a brief zap in the microwave) with a glass of milk or a cup of tea, it's hard not to want seconds.
  • Recap of my changes: subbed sour cream for the butter in the dough as well as added zest from 1 orange. Subbed 8 oz of toasted almonds for the walnuts. And instead of the sugar/water glaze, I brushed the top with maple syrup.
  • After the coffee cake baked for 15 minutes, it had browned so much that I got worried. I lowered the oven temp to 325 and covered the cake with aluminum foil for the remaining 10 minutes. That worked!
  • Don't forget to check out the other ABC bakers' Coffee Cake right HERE.


  1. Ohhhh, Hanaa...your coffee cake is stunning! Beautiful job on this one! Your instructions/photos/tips are perfect. Did you like this one as much as the pull-apart coffee cake? Cheers! Nina

  2. Wow, looks great Hanaa! Foley baked his as well but he used the walnut filling. I can tell it is a great recipe, as you say the bread part reminded me of brioche, and the filling was yummy. Great photos and instructions, Hanaa, and a great choice a s well!

  3. I forgot to tell you that I liked your engineering influence on this recipe by having a quality control piece of dough for checking!


  4. Ahhh the other way round! I think I read that and thought nah.. she doesn't want me to do that?!

    I do like your more squarish one, the way I braided gets a more skinny result (more slices? hehe).
    Looking good Hanâa!

  5. Looks that you added orange and brushed it with maple syrup!! Very Yummy!

  6. Wow - looks yummy. Such a pretty, shiny finish! And good to know other nuts are just as delicious...I'm planning to use pecans :)

    Can't wait to give it a whirl.

  7. @Nina: thank you very much. You know, it's hard to compare this recipe with the pull-apart coffee cake because they're so different. I really like them both.

    @Suma: thank you, Suma. I'm glad you and Foley enjoyed this recipe. It's a keeper.

    @BakingSoda: ha ha. I actually like your "skinny" one because you get more slices that way :o)

    @Chelly: thanks Chelly. The orange zest really perked up the flavor!

    @InTheKitchen: yes, other nuts work great. One of the other bakers used hazelnuts, so use your favorite nut :o)

  8. This looks fantastic; I will have to look at this cookbook once I'm settled in.

  9. Hi Hanaa--
    This looks fantastic. I love the changes you made to the recipe. I tried making something like this last year, filled with cherries, but it didn't come out looking anywhere near as beautiful as yours! Yours is picture perfect. And, I always enjoy reading your recipe details in each post.
    Jane (from Jane's Sweets)

  10. You could not have made this look any easier to make. So I will have to give it a try very very soon. Love it.

  11. this is stunning, sorry I've been absent from your blog for a while. I had the worst cough this winter, thankfully it's getting better now. beautiful recipe and hope you're well!

  12. Hanaa, it's beautiful! Simply magnificent. Needless to say, I'm a bit intimidated. Can you believe I am still sick with this darn flu/cold? When the doctor said 16-18 days he wasn't kidding. It took me three days to make the Sticky Toffee Pudding. No energy whatsoever.

  13. LOVE how beautiful your braided bread turned out. Everything you touch turns out perfect! I miss you bunches and I am still trying to get into the swing of things again. Talk to you soon, hugs, Shandy

  14. Nice job on the braiding, I'm glad you liked it! This was the second month in a row I managed to make the ABC recipe and then not post about it. Unfortunately, this one was not a huge hit in my house.

  15. This looks so wonderful...I love the process photos and how you cut the dough for the braiding. The finished product looks fabulous and that piece for the photo shoot is perfection. Great job!

  16. What a beautiful coffee cake! It really did come out prefectly!

    That's a great idea to use a test piece of dough for quality control..I never would have thought of that.


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