Monday, January 18, 2010

Lemon-Scented Pull-Apart Coffee Cake

As soon as I saw this coffee cake on The Kitchn, I knew I had to make it. I love the idea of it - a sweet, citrus version of these rolls - and the look of it; so festive, so unusual. I also really wanted a satisfying lemon cake, as I was coming off the heels of this one that was rather disappointing.

I have gained quite a bit of experience working with yeast over the last year, but my experience has been limited to bread. This was the first time I had made a yeasted cake. It took some getting used to, as things are done a little differently than with bread.

The main difference was the consistency of the dough. The cake dough is very slack and sticky - somewhere between batter and dough, really. I had to restrain myself from adding tons of flour to it. I just trusted in the recipe, and it turned out beautifully!

This bread is beyond wonderful. It is light in texture - much like a brioche - just sweet enough, and filled with a fantastic citrus paste made from sugar and zest that is very marmalade-like after baking. The zest and sugar mixture also forms the most amazing crust wherever it has seeped out from between the layers of dough. The glaze was my least favorite part of the cake - it was too thick and could have been more lemony. Though I wouldn't recommend making the cake without it, it definitely adds a wonderful dimension.

I'm not sure I can ever allow myself to make this coffee cake again, because I have eaten almost half of the loaf already... Oh dear... It is that good.

I would love to make this in a muffin pan, and have little coffee cupcakes - great to serve at a party, great for breakfast, great for pretty much any time!

I love this technique of making yeasted treats, and think that there are lots of flavor combinations out there that could be used in the same manner. Cinnamon and sugar for something basic; chocolate, of course; lavender, perhaps? Mmm, maybe I'm allowed to make it again after all...

You can eat this lovely cake one of two ways: you can peel apart the layers (as the name suggests) or cut the bread diagonally when it is completely cool. I ate some (okay, a lot) both ways, and I have to say that though the cut slices are more attractive - you get a lovely striped effect, as you can see below - the peeled-off slices are just plain tastier. There is a higher zesty filling to bread ratio that way.

You can find the recipe here.


  1. Mmm, looks great! This recipe is actually in one of the cookbooks I got for Christmas (a compilation from Food & Wine) and I was thinking of making it. Glad to hear that it's good!

  2. It looks soooo good! I bet it would be fun to have little individual pull-apart cupcakes. Can't wait to try this!

  3. your photographs & description of this cake make me want to heat up the oven this (very early east coast) minute!

  4. Lemon calling my name as usual. I will make this one...your photos are really great!

  5. Love this! I am a huge lemon fan.

  6. I have a ton a lemons on my tree. I'll give this recipe a try. It looks delicious.

  7. I have to try this! It looks so good!!

  8. That looks amazing. I love lemon anything! Ever since I've seen this recipe in Flo's book (Baking for all Occasions), I've been wanting to make it. Now with your endorsement, I HAVE to make it! Thanks!

  9. This cake sounds amazing! I've never made a yeasted cake, either. I'm going to have to try it. Your photos are beautiful as well!

  10. Oh goodness. This looks incredible Sarah. It may not be a good idea for me to make this because I would probably want to eat half the loaf as well.


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