Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pull Apart Coffee Cake Two Ways: Cinnamon and Lemon


What do you get when you mix a cinnamon roll with a loaf of bread? Pull Apart Coffee Cake! Just imagine eating a cinnamon roll, but only the inner layer of it!Soft, buttery and oozing with that cinnamony goodness! Not to mention that decadent cream cheese frosting! Mmmmm, I can already smell those Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls now. But today is not about the cinnamon roll, it's about Pull Apart Coffee Cake!

I woke up bright and early this morning to put this together. Finally finishing my Summer Quarter at UW, it finally gives me time to bust out the yeast and tackle bread once again. Bread in and of itself is kind of a temperamental thing to begin with. You need patience and even a little muscle power helps along in the process. However, this recipe is one of the easiest bread recipes I have made so don't feel intimidated.

This is my own adaption to the original recipe of a "Lemon Scented Pull Apart Coffee Cake". I wanted that cinnamon roll-esque flavor in the bread but I also wanted to try the lemon of the original recipe. Basically, I made a Half Cinnamon and Half Lemon Pull Apart Coffee Cake. Genius right? Who needs one flavor when you can have two!! If you want a whole loaf of either, just double the sugar filling of whatever you like.

Cinnamon and Lemon Pull-Apart Coffee Cake
Makes a 9″x5″ pan 

Sweet Yeast Dough
About 2 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (2 1/2 fluid ounces) whole milk
2 ounces unsalted butter
1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) water
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature

Lemon Sugar Filling
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (1 1/2 lemons)
1/2 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

Cinnamon Sugar Filling
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 ounces unsalted butter, melted to be spread over the dough

Tangy Cream Cheese Icing
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup (1 1/4 ounces) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Make the Sweet Yeast Dough
Mix two cups (nine ounces) flour, the sugar, yeast, and salt in a medium bowl with a rubber spatula. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan or in the microwave, combine the milk and the butter and heat until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat, add the water, and let rest a minute until just warm (120 to 130°F [49 to 54°C]). Stir in the vanilla extract.

Pour the milk mixture over the flour-yeast mixture and, using a rubber spatula, mix until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Attach the bowl to the mixer, and fit the mixer with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition just until incorporated. Stop the mixer, add 1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) of the remaining flour, and resume mixing on low speed until the dough is smooth, 30 to 45 seconds. Add 2 more tablespoons flour and mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth, soft, and slightly sticky, about 45 seconds.

Lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough gently until smooth and no longer sticky, about one minute. Add an additional 1-2 tablespoons of flour only if the dough is too sticky to work with. Place the dough in a large bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place (about 70°F [21°C]) for 45-60 minutes or until doubled in size. An indentation made with your finger should keep its shape.

Meanwhile, make the lemon sugar and cinnamon sugar filling. Mix the sugar, lemon zest, and orange zest in one bowl and mix the sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon in another.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9″x5″ loaf pan.

Gently deflate the dough with your hand. Flour a work surface and roll the dough into a 20″ by 12″ rectangle. [I suggest using a ruler and getting this as accurate as possible, for a prettier loaf that will fit better in the pan. I also suggest making sure both sides are floured, so that the dough will be easy to lift up later.] Use a pastry brush to spread the melted butter evenly and liberally over the dough.

Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough crosswise in five strips, each about 12″ by 4″. With the dough sliced but still together, sprinkle the dough lengthwise with the all the sugar (half getting the lemon and half the cinnamon). Take each rectangle and top one over the other, making sure the lemon is over the lemon and the cinnamon is over the cinnamon. Continue to top with rectangles, so you have a stack of five 12″ by 4″ rectangles, all buttered and topped with lemon sugar for one half and cinnamon sugar for the other.

Slice this new stack crosswise, through all five layers, into 6 equal rectangles (each should be 4″ by 2″.) 3 should be all lemon and 3 should be all cinnamon. Carefully transfer these strips of dough into the loaf pan, cut edges up, side by side doing cinnamon, cinnamon, cinnamon, lemon, lemon, lemon. it might be a little roomy, but the bread will rise and expand after baking. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place (70 °F [21°C]) until puffy and almost doubled in size, 30 to 50 minutes. When you gently press the dough with your finger, the indentation should stay.

Bake the loaf until the top is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the cream cheese icing. Beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon until smooth, then add the milk and lemon juice. Stir until creamy and smooth.

The recipe recommends you tilt and rotate the pan while tapping on a table to release the loaf. I just carefully ran a knife around it. Flip the loaf over onto a cooling rack, then flip onto another rack so that it’s right side up. Spread the top of the warm cake with the cream cheese icing, using a pastry brush to fill in all the cracks.

-Aaron John


  1. I'm kind of obsessed with lemon. I think it might have to be a completely lemon loaf for me.

  2. That looks like fun to make!


Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! :)

-Aaron John


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