Sunday, November 4, 2012

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make This

I was bummed when I realized that it was the first Thursday of the month, I had no groceries after being away with dad's funeral, and I had nothing for the Pintertest Kitchen.
Then I looked at the length of time that I had to post, and decided that I wanted to make this.  I love all things lemon.
There are so many fun things to rant about with this recipe.  Learn from my tales of woe as we go.  I promise, the final results are worth it.  Even if you've never worked with yeast dough, I would say this is worth a shot.  Even if you have to throw the first attempt in the garbage like I did.  Yeah.  It was a fun afternoon.
I present to you now The Whimsical Cupcake's Lemon Scented Pull-Apart Coffee Cake:

Lemon-Scented Pull-Apart Coffee Cake
Yields 1 9×5″ loaf

For the sweet yeast dough:
About 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
 1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
For the lemon paste filling:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
 4 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup butter, melted
For the cream cheese icing:
 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1. Stir together 2 cups of the flour, the sugar, the yeast, and the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. In the microwave, heat milk and butter until the butter is almost melted.  Stir to finish melting, and then add the water, and set aside until warm. Add the vanilla.
2. Pour the milk mixture over the flour-yeast mixture and mix until the dry ingredients are 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. Add 1/2 cup of the remaining flour, and resume mixing on low speed until the dough is smooth. Add 2 more tablespoons flour and mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth, soft, and slightly sticky.
3. Sprinkle a work surface with flour and center the dough on the flour. Knead gently until smooth and no longer sticky, adding an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons flour only if necessary. Place the dough in a large greased bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes.  While the dough is rising, make the filling.

4. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and the lemon zest. Set the sandy-wet mixture nearby.
5. Grease a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan.
6. Punch down the dough. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 20 x 12" rectangle. Using a pastry brush spread the melted butter generously over the dough. Cut the dough crosswise into 5 strips, each about 12 x 4".  Sprinkle 1-1/2 tablespoons of the zest-sugar mixture over one of the buttered rectangles. Top with a second rectangle and sprinkle it with 1-1/2 tablespoons of the zest-sugar mixture. Repeat with the remaining dough rectangles and zest-sugar mixture, until you have a stack of 5 long rectangles.
7. Slice the stack crosswise to create 6 equal pieces, each about 4 x 2". Fit these square stacks into the prepared loaf pan, cut edges up and side by side. (While there is plenty of space on either side of the 6 squares widthwise in the pan, fitting the strips lengthwise is tight. But that’s fine because the spaces between the dough and the sides of the pan fill in during rising and baking.) Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until puffy and almost doubled in size, 30 to 50 minutes.
8. Bake at 350 F until the top is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes.
9. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in lemon juice until the mixture is creamy and smooth.
10. To remove the loaf from the pan, invert a wire rack on top of the loaf, invert the loaf onto the rack, and carefully lift off the pan. Invert another rack on top (or a plate, if you're so inclined), invert the loaf so it is right side up, and remove the original rack.  Spread the icing over the top of the warm loaf.
11.  Serve the coffee cake warm or at room temperature. To serve, you can pull apart the layers, or you can cut the cake into 1-inch-thick slices on a slight diagonal with a long, serrated knife. If you decide to cut the cake, don’t attempt to cut it until it is almost completely cool.
Adapted (but mostly followed) from The Whimsical Cupcake.

I was so excited to make this in the KA.  I was going to use the dough hook!  Which I did.  In the first batch.  Yeah.  When you read the recipe, it says use the paddle.  In the first batch, I couldn't figure out why it didn't need more flour.  I actually added a little more water to incorporate the flour.  I kneaded it, and it felt...leaden.  While I was doing dishes after setting it to rise, I realized that I hadn't added the eggs.
If you forget the eggs, don't get the not-really-rising lump, put it back in the KA that you haven't washed yet and try and add the eggs.  You'll end up with a lump in a lake of egg.  Then you'll throw it our to start again.  Or so I've heard.  Ahem.

The lemon sugar was a chance to use my lemon zester.  Yay!  I got 4 tablespoons out of 2 lemons.  Then I got 1/2 a cup of fresh squeezed juice.   It comes out sandy in consistency.

 Process pictures.  Just to see what I did.  I buttered the whole thing, and then sliced the first 3 before adding the sugar.  On the second side, I dumped the sugar and zest, spread it out, sliced and stacked.  It's a matter of preference.
Sliced and ready to be put into the greased pan.

This is before rising.  It twisted a little when rising.  That didn't affect the taste.

Here it is, risen.  There was a good deal of melted butter in the bottom of the pan.  I put a cookie sheet underneath.  There was a small puddle of run over.

This is what happens when you talk on the phone while baking, and you realize at the end of 35 minutes that it's been 35 minutes and your bread is still in the oven.  It's a little overdone on top.  When I took it out of the pan, it kind of sunk in the middle.  It sort of broke there too when I flipped it right side up.
That was when I decided not to make glaze, but to make icing. I just skipped the milk and made sure it was a little thicker.
Yup.  Not pretty, but yummy.

Today, I'm trying to keep up with the Johnsons despite the fact its' Sunday, not Thursday.  You totally should too!

1 comment:

  1. Man I am so sorry about your dad. Cancer sucks bigtime.