Starting projects is always wonderful. There’s the trip to the store, where I pick out my supplies. Then I dump them all out on the table and get really excited by the smell of new fabric.

I whistle while I work (yea, I really do this).  I make a few mistakes here and there, but it’s no big deal, I fix them.

The hours go by, a little less whistling now, a few more curse words…bigger mistakes.

And all of a sudden it’s 9pm. My whole day is gone. And the project? I’m not really excited anymore, now I’m working just to finish the darn thing and be done with it!

It’s usually right about this time I realize I’ve forgotten something at the store, which is of course forever far away.

Oh projects, the idea of you is so much better than the actual you.

Luckily, this has absolutely nothing to do with the coffee cake picture above. This is the comfort food you go to after your project turns sour. The coffee cake is delicious in every way.  You can make it savory, sweet, or both. Make it for company, or make it for yourself.  Unlike a new project, it won’t let you down.

Blog-checking lines: 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.

Dough – recipe halved from daring baker’s recipe

2 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1/2 package active dried yeast
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp whole milk (I used coffeemate)
2 tbsp water (doesn’t matter what temperature)
1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature (I used crisco)
1 large egg at room temperature
optional – I added 2 tbsp ground flax seeds to the dough

Meringue Filling – you can make this savory or sweet! I did spinach which tasted just like a breakfast quiche to me. To make it sweet, add another 2-4 tbsp sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla

2 large egg whites at room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tbsp sugar


2 tbsp margarine or butter
2 tsp salt (to taste)
1 tsp pepper
2 tbsp coffee creamer or half and half

Egg wash: 1 beaten egg

Prepare the dough:

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast.

In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and crisco and heat over medium heat until warm and the crisco is just melted.

With an electric mixer on low speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes. Add the eggs and 1/2 cup flour and beat for 2 more minutes.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together. Turn out onto a floured surface four remaining and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic, keeping the work surface floured and adding extra flour as needed.

Place the dough in a lightly greased (I use vegetable oil) bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise until double in bulk, 45 – 60 minutes. The rising time will depend on the type of yeast you use. Alternatively I let this rise overnight in the fridge.

Prepare the filling

To make the filling, melt butter or margarine in a pan on low heat. Add the spinach, stirring occasionally until spinach has completely wilted. Add the creamer continue to heat until everything is still moist, but not runny. Remove from heat, add salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare the meringue.

In a clean mixing bowl – ideally a plastic or metal bowl so the egg whites adhere to the side (they slip on glass) and you don’t end up with liquid remaining in the bottom – beat the egg whites with the salt, first on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high and continue beating until foamy and opaque. Add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.

Assemble the Coffee Cakes:

Line a baking/cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Punch down the dough. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch (about 51 x 25 ½ cm) rectangle. Spread the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch (3/4 cm) from the edges. Sprinkle filling of choice evenly over the meringue.

Now, roll up the dough jellyroll style, from the long side. Pinch the seam closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to the lined cookie sheet, seam side down. Bring the ends of the log around and seal the ends together, forming a ring, tucking one end into the other and pinching to seal.

Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife (although scissors are easier), make cuts along the outside edge at 1-inch (2 ½ cm) intervals. Make them as shallow or as deep as desired but don’t be afraid to cut deep into the ring. You really don’t need to lay them flat…I think I still had stollen on the brain!

Cover and let rise for another 45-60 minutes. (Mine actually needed 1.5 hours to look any bigger.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Brush the top of the coffee cake with the egg wash. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until risen and golden brown. The dough should sound hollow when tapped.

Eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or anytime in between.