Unlike my procrastination of epic proportions when it comes to baking these challenges [i.e. a day before the post date], I baked this month's DBC over a week ago! The timing was perfect, actually: since I've given up sugar, I knew I had to get rid of it ASAP, so I decided to bake it to take to a friend's birthday get-together.
I much prefer baking for others in any case. Particularly if it will keep the sugar away from my thighs.
This month's challenge was yeasted meringue coffee cake. Now, I love coffee cake. But one with meringue baked into the center? Have never conceived of such a cake. Nor have I ever baked with yeast. Needless to say, I was nervous.
[Baker's yeast, by the way, is a strain of yeast used as a leavening agent in baked goods by converting the dough's fermentable sugars into carbon dioxide and ethanol. Active dried yeast is a type of baker's yeast that consists of live yeast cells encased in a jacket of dry, 'dead' cells. When in contact with liquid, the yeast rehydrates and thus allows the baked good to rise during the baking process.]
But I had Matt and Nayaab in the kitchen to help out, and we managed pretty well. The party I was going to be attending was Arabic-themed, and I really wanted to put my own twist on this month's recipe, so I opted for a date and nut filling, and infused the egg wash with a bit of rose water [which was actually Nayaab and Matt's idea]. Bringin' a little bit of the motherland into a classic coffee cake, ya know how it is.
...and even if you don't, you can still appreciate this recipe. The challenge recipe yielded two 10-inch cakes, but I halved the recipe to make one. Consequently, the recipe I'll give you below yields one cake, about 10 inches in diameter.
Yes, the recipe was time-consuming, but thankfully not difficult. And while waiting for the dough to rise, Matt, Nayaab, and I prepared [chicken jalfrezi for] dinner, so it worked out swimmingly. Plus, it was a big hit at the party the next day [and was absolutely perfect alongside henna and tea], so I was very pleased. Though I didn't taste it, I was told it was pretty dece.
If the flavors aren't to your liking, though [I know cardamom and dates don't exactly sit well on everyone's palette], you can easily eliminate the rosewater and use a classic cinnamon and nut combo for the filling. I've even seen a few savory variations with cheeses, herbs, or meats, and they look absolutely divine. It's really your prerogative.
So, it would seem as though March is almost over.
A quarter of 2011 is almost over.
...excuse me, what?
Feels somewhat surreal.
Not to mention I've spent far too much time this month alternating between Panera Bread and Starbucks for hours-long study sessions. Midterms, papers, more midterms, more papers, too much caffeine, too little money left in my bank account, and too few hours in a day for me to do all the nothing that I want.
Well, I suppose that's life.
...I need more money.