Letting the shaped loaf rise.
We're a little embarrassed to write about this coffee cake today. Not because it wasn't good - because it was. Crazy good, in fact! No, we're sheepish about how quickly we absolutely devoured the entire loaf...in about five minutes. Check out the gallery for the incriminating photo evidence.
In our defense, there were four of us doing the devouring and we were absolutely starving by the time it was finally shaped, baked, and cooled. Plus it was just really, extremely, ridiculously good.
The recipe comes from Flo Braker and her book Baking for All Occasions by way of Leite's Culinaria website. We were immediately attracted to the idea of thin sheets of sweet yeast bread fragrant with citrus and drizzled with cream cheese icing (for which we have a well-known weakness).
We found the recipe a bit difficult to follow in places, especially when it came to dividing the dough and assembling it into the sheets. The directions were specific to the point of confusion and after a few times reading them through, we just went with our gut instinct.
Soldiering through the recipe is well worth it, though! In the oven, the sugar packed between the layers bubbles up to create a crunchy crust over the top of the loaf. The bread puffs up, too, making irregular toasted peaks and tender buttery valleys. The whole house smelled of fresh bread, orange, and lemon. Is it any wonder that we could barely wait for it to cool before diving in?!
The bread tasted amazing. We hovered around the counter and pulled off leaf after the leaf of fresh baked bread. The middle was so soft that it practically melted in our mouths while the crust was cookie-like in its crispiness. The cream cheese glaze was literally the icing on the cake.
So. Put this recipe on your "make soon" list for sure. And definitely have a few friends around when it's ready because you don't want to be left alone with it, trust us!
A Few Extra Notes:
• We made the dough the night before and refrigerated it. The next morning, we cut the dough and shaped the loaf while it was still cold from the fridge. We think this helped make the dough easier to work with, plus it cut down on the waiting time in the morning!
• It was hard to tell when the loaf was actually finished. We baked it for 35 minutes until the top was golden brown, but the very center still had some raw dough. We'd recommend poking an instant-read thermometer into the middle - the loaf is done at around 200°. If the top is getting too browned, cover it with a sheet of aluminum foil.
• Let the loaf cool as long as possible in the pan. We took it out a little too early (we were hungry!) and it fell apart a little. It could have used more time for the sugar to set up and hold the sheets together.
• We thought the instructions for getting the loaf out of the pan were a little confusing. Here's what we did: run a knife between the loaf and the pan to dislodge it. Put an upside-down plate over the top of the loaf and flip both the loaf and the plate over so the loaf is upside down on top of the plate. Gently lift off the pan. Set another plate (or a wire rack) upside down on the loaf and invert it again so the loaf is right side up.
• Get the Recipe - Lemon-Scented Pull-Apart Coffee Cake from Leite's Culinaria
Related: Classy and Irresistible: 8 Very Tempting Bundt Cakes
(Images: Emma Christensen)