October 25, 2010

Tuscan Coffeecake

I 'liked' King Arthur Flour on Facebook and this lovely coffeecake showed up yesterday on their page. 

It begins with a starter (flour, water and yeast) that must rest at room temperature overnight. In the morning, you add other ingredients to make the dough, then knead in toasted walnuts, chopped dates, and golden raisins. I used golden raisins and dried cranberries and soaked them overnight in brandy. You can substitute with whatever fruit you like and make it your own! If you soak the fruit in brandy, be sure to drain it well before you knead it into the dough.

Kneading the fruit into the dough is a sticky situation at best. I put a small bowl of water close by and dipped my fingers in it occasionally which helped tame the dough! The fruit and nut studded dough is placed into a 9" cake pan and left to rise slightly for 30 minutes. Just before it goes into the oven, a light mixture of sugar, vanilla and water is drizzled over the top. Because this isn't a really sweet cake, this gives the top of the cake a really nice sweetness and crunch.

I impatiently waited for the cake to cool so I could cut a slice. It is perfect... a soft, yeasty bread with all that deliciousness kneaded in! I started eating it with a fork, but it didn't take long before I was tearing off pieces and eating it with my hands - it's just that kind of cake!
Tuscan Coffeecake - From King Arthur Flour
1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup cool water
1/16 teaspoon instant yeast
Mix the starter ingredients in a small (about 1-quart) bowl, and let rest overnight at room temperature.

all of the starter
2/3 cup water
2 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 large egg
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1 cup toasted walnuts, very coarsely chopped
3/4 cup chopped dates
3/4 cup raisins, golden preferred

2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon water
Combine the dough ingredients, mixing and kneading to form a smooth, supple dough. It’ll be very slack; for this reason, I suggest kneading in a bread machine, or with a mixer, rather than by hand. Place the dough in a bowl, and let it rise about 1 hour. It may not double in bulk; that’s OK.

Gently deflate the dough, and knead the nuts and fruit into it. Shape the dough into a flat ball, and place it in a 9-inch round cake pan. Cover the pan with a proof cover or lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the loaf to rise for 30 minutes, or till it barely crests over the top of the pan.

Combine the sugar, vanilla and water, and drizzle this mixture over the top of the risen coffeecake. Bake it in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 minutes, or until it’s golden brown and the internal temperature registers 190°F. Remove it from the oven, and after 5 minutes, carefully turn it out of the pan. Allow it to cool on a rack. Yield: 1 cake, about 8 to 10 servings.


  1. Wow, this looks fantastic!! I'm saving it...definitely want to make it soon. YUM.

  2. Just big enough and not too small. Perfect...like, when it is gone, it is gone. I need that control with my breads and carbs. Looks very nice. I would like the cranberries myself.

  3. This is beautiful. I am not sure I could have tackled the recipe but, wow I could have easily enjoyed eating it. Love it.

  4. Sounds just delicious, indeed!

  5. You always make the best things! I love dates.

  6. Delicious cake, Karen! Love the pictures!

  7. This certainly does look loaded with goodness! A tasty treay for sure!

  8. I don't usually tackle baking - but this looks and sounds so darned good. I'm going to put the recipe in the "to try" pile and pull it out some snowy weekend. I know my husband will flip over it!

  9. First of all, that photo is fantastic!

    The recipe looks wonderful as well. (I never hesitate to try a King Arthur recipe.)

  10. Look how moist this cake looks Karen!! I love it!!

  11. It looks very much like a good Irish soda bread, although obviously there are differences in ingredients.

  12. Karen, you sure do make some wonderful recipes. I'll trade ya an affogato or drink of your choice for a slice of bliss. This will be made, and I like your choice of changes.

  13. This looks like something to have on the counter everyday!

  14. Oh my! This looks so delicious! Like a panettone, the Tuscan holiday bread.
    I am so yeast challenged, but I may have to try this!

  15. I'm not a huge coffee cake fan, but Karen your photos have made me wanting this! Beautiful


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