ABC: Old-World Braided Coffee Cake

This was our choice for our monthly Avid’s Baker Club where we are working our way to baking the recipes from Flo Braker book “Baking for all Occasions”.  So far everything that I have made from this book has been a success, remember the Lemon-Scented Pull-Apart Coffee Cake?

Flo mentions that this cake is “reminiscent of recipes from eastern Europe” where apparently they like their yeast-leavened cakes.

Cake you say?

Yeah, I know, it say’s Coffee Cake above. But, you tell me, does that picture above look like a cake to you?

Yeah, I thought you would agree with me.

Because that looks alot like a bread.

But at the end…Cake? Bread? Who cares what you want to call it. 

The only thing you need to know is that it was good.

Actually it was delicious and after a bit of lending hand, a breeze to make.

I think I’m getting the hang of working with yeast.

I’m not so afraid anymore.  Maybe because I have read everything I can get my hands on that has “bread”, “Yeast”, “Poof”, “Starter” words in it.

Making bread is not that hard.



The only beef I have about this book (which I’m so in love with) is the fact that I’m a visual person and when complicated detail instructions are given, without a picture to “show” you the steps, then I revert to a puddle of doubts.  I never trust my mental image to what I’m reading.  And when I started to read how to “form” this bread cake, I was like “what?!?”. 

But, then I remember what the Internet is for! And I went searching, but as much as I combined words, and phrases I just could not come up with something as close as to what Flo wanted us to do.

I sent out an SOS to our club owner Hanna and begged for some type of clarity to my dilemma.

And she came thru, with pictures and links and words of encouragement - I love belonging to a baking group!

I was ready.  And this past Sunday I forge ahead.  The cake is made with sweet yeast dough, very straightforward.  Flour, sugar, yeast, salt are blended together, then milk and butter are heated, mix in a bit of vanilla extract and pour over the dry.   Give it a quick mix and then let your mixer do the rest.  Add 2 beaten eggs and you get a sticky dough.  Then comes my favorite part.

Kneading the dough.

I find it relaxes me and makes me think of winning the lotto going on vacation what to wear to my first day at my new job (yes folks, I got the job).  I doubt there is anything remotetly close to the is silky feel of the flour on one’s hands and the rhythmic motion of kneading the flour into the dough mixture. I am convinced that kneading bread dough counts for daily meditation.

Then its time for you to chill and for the dough to sit in pre-warmed oven of 70 degree for the yeast to do it’s thing.

The filling for this particular coffee cake is made up of walnuts (lots of them), white AND brown sugar, a bit of cinnamon, some heavy cream, maple syrup and vanilla extract.  And to married them all together, a bit of white eggs whipped to peaks and you got it covered.

Once the dough has magically double in sized, then the fun begins doing a bit of math and braiding it, creating a chevron pattern.  Mine was not perfect, but the results were stricking

Another time out in a warm comfy place for a second rising and then into the oven it goes for a 25-minute baking time.

And out comes this beauty…


Flo recommends to eat it the same day, and Tom and I do what we are told.  By late Sunday, it was pretty much gone.  This morning we each toasted the last pieces, smoother them with a bit of butter and right there and there I decided that I needed to make more bread - crap - CAKE!

To see the other beauties from the ABC group head over and check them out.