Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Almond coffee cake

While cleaning out my fridge the other day, I found an unopened tube of almond paste. And since I'm currently trying to use things up, I figured it was time for some almond cake.

Warning: this makes 2. You will eat both. With extra icing.

Reprinted from Two Tarts:

Yield: 2 coffee cakes, each serves 8. Before the final rise (*noted in instructions below), the coffee cakes can be frozen for future use if desired.

1 tube almond paste (7 ounces)
6 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 1/3 cups warm milk (110ºF)
1/3 cup honey
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, melted
3 egg yolks (reserve whites for topping)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4½ cups flour, plus extra for work surface
1 package rapid-rise or instant yeast
2 tsp. salt

3 large egg whites
½ cup sliced almonds
1½ cups confectioners’ sugar
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp. milk
½ tsp. vanilla extract

For the filling: Fit stand mixer with paddle attachment and mix almond paste, confectioners’ sugar, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, and cream cheese until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the dough: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 200ºF. When oven reaches 200, shut it off. Lightly grease large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix milk, honey, melted butter, yolks, and vanilla in large measuring cup. Mix flour, yeast, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Turn mixer to low and slowly add milk mixture. After dough comes together, increase speed to medium and mix until shiny and smooth, 4 to 6 minutes. (Dough will be sticky.) Turn dough onto heavily floured work surface, shape into ball, and transfer to greased bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in turned-off oven until dough is nearly doubled, about 20 minutes.

On lightly floured work surface, divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll dough into 18-by-9-inch rectangle with long side facing you. Spread with half of filling and roll up dough. Brush top edge with water, then press to seal and transfer, seam side down, to parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Shape each cylinder into a ring or horseshoe. *Once dough is shaped into a horseshoe, it can be wrapped in foil and frozen for future use. Using paring knife, make cuts around outside of dough, about 1½ inches apart, leaving about an inch of intact dough at the top of your cut. In other words you are making slices but keeping the cake together as one unit. With your fingers, turn each “slice” of dough so that the filling is showing. Cover with plastic wrap coated with cooking spray and return to oven until rings have puffed slightly, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and heat oven to 375ºF.

For the topping, whisk reserved egg whites in a small bowl, then brush rings with egg whites. Sprinkle with almonds and bake until deep brown, about 25 minutes, switching and rotating pans halfway through baking. 

For the icing: While rings are baking or cooling, whisk confectioners’ sugar, cream cheese, milk, and vanilla in small bowl until smooth. Drizzle icing over baked coffee cakes and serve warm.

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