My first time browsing through Baking Illustrated, I saw this coffee cake and knew I wanted to make it.  It has pretty much been hanging out in the back of my mind ever since.  A couple of weeks ago I finally had the first free weekend in what feels like ages, and I decided it was time to give this a try.  The really cool thing about this recipe is that there are several variations on both fillings, shapes and toppings, and I cannot wait to try all of them!  For this first try, I went with the horseshoe shape and a combination cream cheese and apricot filling.  It was fabulous!  It seemed just like the sort of thing I have ordered at bakeries before.  Very cool to know I can make it at home!  

The dough is light and tender, and the filling is tasty but not overwhelming so that you can really appreciate the delicious cake component.  The only thing I will do differently next time is to loosely tent some foil over it about halfway through baking.  I was not happy with how deeply browned the top was, although it tasted fine.  Just a note as well – the dough really takes quite a while to rise, so don’t worry if you don’t see results quickly.  I tend to get stressed I don’t see quick results, but it does expand eventually, it just needs some time.  The original recipe yields two coffeecakes, but I just can’t see needing two so I have reduced the ingredient quantities to yield enough for one.  Also, the cookbook claims that the cream cheese filling is too soft for use with the horseshoe shape, but it only leaked out a bit during assembly and not at all during baking, so I think it is okay to use in combination with a fruit filling.

Yeasted Coffee Cake with Apricot Cream Cheese Filling
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For the dough:
2¼ tsp. instant yeast
2 tbsp. warm water
1/4 cup sugar (1¾ oz.)
2 large eggs
1 tbsp. milk
2 cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour (10 1/8 oz.) 
3/4 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into 1-inch pieces  

For the apricot filling:
1 cup dried apricots
1½ tbsp. sugar
1½ tsp. finely grated orange zest
1½ tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp. rum (optional) 

For the cream cheese filling:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened but still cool
2 tbsp. sugar
4 tsp. all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
½ egg (I just beat it lightly with a fork and add about half)
¼ tsp. vanilla extract 

For the egg wash:
1 large egg
1 tsp. heavy cream or whole milk 

To make the dough, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; stir to dissolve.  Add the sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla.  Mix at the lowest speed until well combined.  Add about 1½ cups of the flour and the salt, mixing on low speed until the flour is incorporated, about 1 minute.  Increase the speed to medium-low and add the butter pieces one at a time, beating until incorporated, about 20 seconds after each addition.  Replace the paddle with the dough hook and add the remaining ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons flour; knead at medium-low speed until soft and smooth, about 5 minutes longer.  Increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough tightens up slightly, about 2 minutes longer.

The dough will be too soft to pick up with your hands, so scrape it into a straight-sided lightly oiled plastic container using a dough scraper (I just used a spatula).  Cover the container tightly with plastic wrap and let rise at warm room temperature until doubled in size, 3-4 hours.  Press down the dough, replace the plastic and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 4 or up to 24 hours.  Alternatively for a quick chill, spread the dough onto a lightly oiled baking sheet, about 1-inch thick, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 2 hours.

Meanwhile, to make the apricot filling, combine the apricots, sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until the apricots are soft and the water has nearly evaporated, 16-18 minutes.  Off the heat, mix in the orange zest, orange juice, and rum (if using).  Blend until smooth with an immersion blender (or, transfer to a food processor/blender and blend.)  

To make the cream cheese filling, beat the cream cheese, sugar, flour and salt in the bowl of a mixer at high speed until smooth, 2-4 minutes.  Add the lemon zest, egg and vanilla extract.  Reduce the speed to medium and continue beating, scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once, until incorporated, about 1 minute.  Scrape the mixture into a small bowl and chill thoroughly before using.

When you are ready to shape the coffeecake, remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and turn it onto a lightly floured work surface.  Shape the dough evenly into a 6 by 5-inch rectangle.  

Roll the dough evenly into a 15 by 9-inch rectangle (the dough should be about ¼-inch thick.)  As you roll, straighten the sides of the dough occasionally with the dough scraper (your hands also work just fine.)  

Spread the apricot filling over the dough in a thin layer, leaving a thin border around the edges.  

Straighten the sides again once more.  Spread a thin layer of the cream cheese filling over the apricot filling.  

Using both hands, roll the dough up evenly lengthwise.  Pinch the dough securely to seal the seam.  Do not seal the ends of the roll. 

Place the roll in a semicircle on a parchment- or silpat-lined baking sheet.  

Using clean kitchen scissors, cut 2/3 of the way into the dough at 2-inch intervals.  

Gently lift and separate the cut sections and flatten them slightly.  Cover with plastic wrap and proof until slightly puffed, 1½ to 2 hours.  (After this final rise, the unbaked cake can be refrigerated overnight and baked the next morning.)  

For the egg wash, beat the egg and cream in a small bowl until combined.  Brush uncut surfaced with egg wash.  Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350° F.  Bake until deep golden brown and/or an instant read thermometer inserted in the center of the cake reads 190° F, 25-30 minutes.  (Cover with foil halfway through baking if necessary, to prevent over-browning.)  Slide the coffeecake onto a wire rack and cool at least 20 minutes before serving.

Source: adapted from Baking Illustrated