Monday, April 4, 2011

Nut-filled Coffee Cake & Homemade Almond Milk

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.
Now, when I first read the task, I though it was a cake filled with something coffee flavoured. I'm not familiar with the term coffee cake, and it's also quite unusual to drink some afternoon coffee with a slice of cake, here.

DSC_0893I was a bit concerned about the meringue. I don't really like meringue, especially when it's not hard. It's a miracle, it seems some international recipes always need to make some meringues here, some baisers there; I feel this is rather unusual here.

But I was really looking forward to participate in that challenge, as I love working with yeast, even though often, my doughs just won't rise.
I was only making half of the dough!
Looking through the thread in the forum with the finished coffee cakes was great. It was a challenge where everyone came up with an individual filling.
Even though the though of a chocolate filling (I mean, when the chocolate is molten into the dough!) was very tempting, I decided not to do something with chocolate.
I had something else in mind which I wanted to try out since long ago. In Switzerland, it's a quite common kind of filling in storebought products, as in the "Nussgipfel" (croissant with nut filling) or "Nussschnäck" (looks quite like a cinnamon roll, but is also filled with nuts).
So, I was sure I wanted to do such a nut filling.


And I also wanted to make the dough with some nuts. I had no idea if yeasted dough would be rising if it consisted of nut meal, at least partially.
By the way, I used fresh yeast. We are always having some packages of dried yeast, but if we have fresh yeast, of course, I use that.
So, I just replaced a rather small part of the flour with almond meal. I was optimistic. People alsways intend that yeasted dough without all-purpose flour but with whole wheat or rye flour wouldn't rise as good, but I mostly bake breads without any all-purpose flour, and they rise perfectly.
And so did it this time, I was quite surprised that it rose that well. I let it rise for about an hour, only covered with a wet kitchen towel, as I always do. Unfortunately, I forgot to oil the bowl in which I let it rise, so it was a tiny bit deflating and tearing apart when I took the dough out of the bowl. But after the second rise, it was perfectly risen and big again. Of course, it had not the "smooth, sexy and elastic" texture and handling, but with those ingredients I really could not and did not expect that.
I think it would have probably been better if I had ground the almond meal before, I think it would help improve the texture, even though I though it was pretty good.
Further, I used both all-purpose and whole wheat flour. Instead of the milk and water for the dough, I took some almond milk which I have made the days before. Recipe is below. And, as always, I replaced the butter with margarine and took a bit less of it, hoping the almonds in the dough will also add some fat and moisture to the dough. For only using whole eggs, I made less meringue so that I only had to take one egg white (I only made half of the whole recipe), the left over yolk was for the egg wash.

DSC_0885For the filling, which consisted of roasted nuts, sugar, cream, water and lemon juice, I had used both almond meal and hazelnut meal, but also chopped almonds and hazelnuts.
When I flattened the dough, it was no way near 25*50 cm, this was just not possible, but it got very big, so maybe these are wrong numbers? It also teared a few holes, which made me even more afraid the filling would ooze out, but this didn't happen.

DSC_0887I was reading a lot about the filling oozing out, making everything wet and sticky. I was concerned.
I spread the meringue over the dough and then spooned my cooked nut filling over it, so that it was evenly distributed, leaving out the very edges as mentioned.
I rolled it up by hands and sealed the edges, and then transformed it very carefully on the sheeted baking tray.

I sealed the ends and closed a few holes, where the meringued seemed to look out, and then cut all around in with large scissors. Again, I put a wet kitchen towel on it and let it rise for the second time.

NOTHING oozed out! It has risen very big. I made the eggwash and sprinkled some sliced almonds on top of the cake, then put it in the oven and took it out when it was perfectly dark brown and shiny.
(By the way, my dough was vegan)
We were cutting the first slices when it was already cooled. It looked great from the inside and from the outisde.
I was a bit disappointed. The filling was delicious and as I imagined it should be, but the dough was not sweet enough, so we had to use some confectioner's sugar to top the slices, then it was good.

DSC_0892I know, using almond meal and whole wheat impacts the texture, but I primarily use such flours, especially in bread doughs. But after seeing all those white, airy doughs in the forum, I knew I had to use more all-purpose flour next time, less hole wheat flour and also less almond meal, ground.
It was also a bit dryer than I thought it would be, and it needed a bit more filling.
Worst of all was that at least 1/4 of the cake (!) was more or less completely without filling! It was probably around the sealing area, but why so much?! I really didn't wanted to eat that much without filling. Has anyone an idea how to prevent that?

DSC_0891xAll in all, the coffee cake was yummy, but not good enough for my taste, so I will have to do it again and improve my recipe.
I won't post it until then, I think it's gonna be soon, because you probably won't need it the way it is now ;-)

If you want to read the original recipe, you'll find it here.

I'm posting the recipe for the homemade almond milk. I think it's great if you want a liquid with a nutty flavour or if your are lactose intolerant or vegan. Drinking it, it sure tastes better than soy milk does, but, of course, not as good as milk or butter milk. You can sweeten it to your taste. I will use a bit more agave syrup the next time


Homemade Almond Milk (yields 2 cups or ½ l)
2 cups 0.5 l filtered water
1/2 cup 70 g whole almonds
pinch of salt
1 tbsp or more agave syrup


  1. Place almonds in a small bowl and cover with water for at least four hours. Drain them.
  2. Place drained almonds in a blender and add the filtered water.
  3. Pulse until the almonds are ground, that takes about 20 seconds.
  4. Now, strain that mixture so that no almond pieces are left in the liquid. Squeeze out the excess almond milk from the pulp.
  5. Pour into the blender again, add a pinch of salt and, to your taste, some agave syrup for sweetening. Mix it.

You can drink it or, as I did, use it as milk or water sibstitutions in bread doughs, cake batters or whatever comes to your mind. It's not only vegan, it's also very healthy (as nuts are).


  1. I absolutely love your cake! It looks so delicious with the almond meal in the dough! This is one version I would love to try!

  2. WOW I love how you used vegan ingredients and that it looks so delicious I'm sure that after a few tweaks it well be what you want. Lovely colour on the crust.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  3. Your coffee cake is fabulous! I love that vegan version. Almond milk is so wonderful and refined tasting.



  4. I was looking for a almond milk recipe! I'm glad I found it! I have one doubt, you blend the almonds with the same water you covered them?
    Thank you!

  5. Wow, you made your own almond milk? That's great. Love the pictures! Great job!

  6. The photos are absolutely stunning and I bet the cake was perfect no matter what you say :D I love nut filling, it's very common and popular in my country, too, where it's called "ořechová náplň" - one of my most favourite ones :) Hope you'll find the perfect taste for you cake soon 'cause I'm dying to find out the recipe :D

  7. What a gorgeous and delicious looking coffee cake, Lea. I love the way you've used whole grains, nuts, and agave here to for this breakfast or tea break snack!

  8. I'm crazy about the integration of nuts in the dough, what a great idea! Both your dough and filling are very creative too. I think I'd prefer your version over most I've seen (actually, over both of mine too) because yours must have been much less overwhelmingly sweet.

  9. Beautiful coffee cake! I missed this earlier this month. The nuts in the dough was an awesome idea!

  10. What a lovely photo montage! I'm very much looking forward to your next DB challenge to see what creative ideas you come up with.

  11. Such a delicious flavor combination. It looks wonderful!

  12. Hi Lea

    Thanks for visiting my blog. I like your almond milk recipe and your cake looks delicious.

    I am your new follower. I invite you to follow my blog.

    Happy Easter!

  13. That looks beautiful, Amazing photography you really captures the beauty of your coffee cake :)

  14. Looks greate! I want to made this cake for christmas!

  15. Its perfect for easter! i try it last year and everybody loves it!


I appreciate every comment! :)