Monday, May 19, 2014

Lemon Scented Pull-Apart Coffee Cake (Flo Braker)

Lemon and cream cheese? Sweet, sour and creamy? Yummy!!!

My boy and I shared the same consensus when we were enjoying these bread-like zesty citrus cakes. In fact, the sweetness of these cakes is subtle and just nice. The specks of orange and yellow citrus sugary zests gives the cakes a feel-good-zesty-cheerful look. The contrasting sweet, tangy and creamy taste and fluffy soft bread-like texture are making these cakes very interesting, fragrant, and unique to enjoy. My boy has always been appreciative and said that these special cakes can only be home-baked... by mummy! Thanks, sweetie!!! It's always my pleasure to bake for you :)

When I first saw this lemon pull-apart coffee cake recipe chosen by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours for our bake-along with Lena from Frozen wings and me, I was thinking of the two flowery-looking breads at here and here that I had baked. Instead of baking it in a large loaf, I'm baking mine in ramekins... like blooming flowers like what I always did.

lemon pull apart coffee cake Flo Braker
My flowery-looking lemon pull-apart coffee cake
This is a clever idea!!!
I try to use minimal amount of flour to roll and shape this dough.
Stack 3 pieces and place each stack into each ramekin
Here we go again... more blooming flowers in my ramekins!!!
To serve, pop them back into the ramekins again...
... and drizzle the cakes with cream cheese icing!
lemon pull apart coffee cake Flo Braker
Sweet, tangy, creamy, fluffy and soft... all in one mouth!

Here's the recipe from book, Baking for all Occasions by Flo Braker or here
(with my modification in blue and (brackets) using 1/2 amount to bake it in 4 small ramekins)

For the sweet dough:
about 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (205g)
1/4 cup granulated sugar (25g)
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (1 1/8 tsp)
1/2 tsp salt (1/4 tsp)
1/3 cup whole milk (5g milk powder + 40ml water)
4 tbsp unsalted butter (30g butter, soft at room temperature)
1/4 cup water (30ml)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (1 1/4 tsp - this is a must-add for its fragrance!)
2 large eggs, at room temperature (1)

For the citrus filling:
1/2 cup granulated sugar (reduced to 20g)
3 tbsp finely grated lemon zest (from 2-3 lemons) (zest from 1 lemon)
1 tbsp finely grated orange zest, preferably organic (zest from 1 orange)
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted (30 ml rice bran oil)

For the cream cheese icing:
The cream cheese that I used
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
(40g extra light spreadable cream cheese with 14% fat)
1/3 cup icing sugar (20g, sifted)
1 tbsp milk (I didn't add this)
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice of half a lemon)

To make the sweet dough:

Stir together 2 cups of the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter over low heat just until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat, add the water, and set aside until warm (120 to 130°F [49 to 54°C]), about 1 min. Add the vanilla extract.

Pour the milk mixture over the flour-yeast mixture and, using a rubber spatula, mix until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Attach the bowl to the mixer, and fit the mixer with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing just until incorporated after each addition. Stop the mixer, add 1/2 cup flour, and resume mixing on low speed until the dough is smooth, 30 to 45 secs. Add 2 more tbsp flour and mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth, soft, and slightly sticky, about 45 seconds.

Sprinkle a work surface with 1 tbsp flour and turn the dough onto the flour. Knead gently until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky, about 1 minute, adding an additional 1 to 2 tbsp flour only if the dough is unworkably sticky. Place the dough in a large bowl, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in a warm place (about 70°F [21°C]) until doubled in size, 45 to 60 mins. Press the dough gently with a fingertip. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready for the next step.

Instead of using the electric mixer, I have placed all dough ingredients, adding the butter and yeast last in my bread maker. Then, I used the "dough” setting to knead the dough for 30 mins and allow it to prove for 1 hr. Please note that dough will be sticky but will prove to become a smooth and stable workable dough.

To make the lemon filling:

While the dough is rising, in a small bowl, mix together the sugar, lemon zest, and orange zest. Set aside. (The sugar draws out moisture from the zests to create a sandy-wet consistency, so don’t be alarmed when you see this.)

To assemble:

Adjust the oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) or 160°C fan forced and I did this later. Lightly butter a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan or 4 ramekins for half amount of the recipe.

Gently deflate the dough. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 20 by 12 inch rectangle (I rolled out my dough into rectangle shape, fold 1/3 of it and another 1/3 towards its center. I rolled it out slightly to a long shape and fold 1/3 of long strip and another 1/3 towards its center to form a rough square shape. Allow dough to rest for 10 mins and roll it out to 20 x 18 cm). Using a pastry brush, spread the melted butter (or oil) generously over the dough. Cut the dough crosswise into strips, yielding 5 strips, each about 12 by 4 inches (four 5 x 18 cm). After this, I cut mine further to four sets of three 5 x 6 cm.

Sprinkle 1 1/2 tbsp of the zest-sugar mixture over a buttered (or oiled) rectangle. Top with a second rectangle and sprinkle it with 1 1/2 tbsp of the zest-sugar mixture. Repeat with the remaining dough rectangles and zest-sugar mixture, ending with a stack of 5 rectangles. Work carefully when adding the crumbly zest filling, or it will fall off when you have to lift the stacked pastry later. Slice the stack crosswise through the 5 layers to create 6 equal strips, each about 4 by 2 inches. Fit these layered strips into the prepared loaf pan, cut edges up and side by side. I stacked 3 rectangles of dough on top of each other and placed the stacks into each ramekins.

Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place (70 °F [21°C]) until puffy and almost doubled in size, 30 to 50 mins. Press the dough gently with a fingertip. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready for baking. I preheated my oven to 160°C fan forced at this stage.

Bake the coffee cake until the top is golden brown, 30 to 35 mins (I did mine for 15 mins). Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 10 to 15 mins. I removed mine immediately and allow them to cool on wire rack to cool completely.

To make the cream cheese icing:

In a medium bowl with a rubber spatula, vigorously mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the milk (I didn't add) and lemon juice until the mixture is creamy and smooth.

To remove the coffee cake from the pan, tilt and rotate the pan while gently tapping it on a counter to release the cake sides. Invert a wire rack on top of the coffee cake, invert the cake onto the rack, and carefully lift off the pan. Invert another rack on top, invert the cake so it is right side up, and remove the original rack.

Slip a sheet of waxed paper under the rack to catch any drips from the icing. Using a pastry brush, coat the top of the warm cake with the icing to glaze it. For mine, I placed the cakes back into the ramekins and dripped the icing on the cakes with a spoon.

Cover and refrigerate the leftover icing for another use or eat the cake with extra icing! It will keep for up to 2 days.

Serve the coffee cake warm or at room temperature (or inside the ramekins). To serve, you can pull apart the layers, or you can cut the cake into 1-inch-thick slices on a slight diagonal with a long, serrated knife. If you decide to cut the cake, don’t attempt to cut it until it is almost completely cool.

Happy Baking
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Please note that the linky tool for bake-along is no longer available.


  1. Good morning... This good for breakfast. Good recipe and idea!

  2. Oh mine....these bread looks so stomach is growling now... i will try to attempt this soon...:)

  3. Beautiful, full of citrus aroma edible flowers! Yum!

  4. Lemon and cream cheese are a good combo.. I always add lemon juice into my no-bake cream cheese cake.. Nice.. I'm not afraid if I'd put in too much sugar, there's always lemon to "neutralize" the flavour, that's what I think la..
    Your lemon cakes drizzled with cream cheese look so good.. But I would love to have mine with cream cheese filling, oozing out when I bite into the cakes, yummeehh.. Little bit drizzled on top not enuff la, for me, teehee...

  5. It's always nice when kids compliment mummy's cooking, right? The other day I asked my daughter if she wanted to eat steak outside, then she said no... I said to her, I thought u liked beef, she say I only like mummy's beef. LOL!!!

  6. can almost smell the citrus smell.

  7. At one time, I'm confused about why people call a banana cake as the banana bread & after looking at your pull-apart coffee cake, I will now start asking myself why this isn't called pull-away bread, hahaha, very naughty Jessie. I like how you fit the dough into individual ramekin and love to see so much of lemon & orange zest in this cake!

  8. Hi Zoe, yours look really unique, very convenient to serve in ramekins, really puffy and soft!

  9. Ur hubby and son are so lucky,,,, I love ur baking too... Ever considered a god daughter? ^^

  10. Hi Zoe ,
    What a smart son you have and I agree with him , the cakes looks deliciously good . Thanks for sharing :)

  11. Zoe, your very cute flower-like pull apart bread looks stunning! Wow, I can imagine all the fantastic scent and flavours! I just came over from Joyce's and Lena's and was also salivating over their bread hah...hah...

  12. Hi Zoe...great idea to place the dough in little flowers after baking :) Thanks for sharing this idea and recipe .

  13. Heel origineel om ze zo te bakken in die vormpjes. Mooi!

  14. Zoe, your little one has the same character with my boy...they are mummy little lover!! Haha...I will call this bread the idea of it serve in the ramekins!

    p/s: yes, I do want to link my previous post to bake along, sorry for the late submission!

  15. OOOOOhhhhh but it's simply wonderful!!!! I've never seen anything like this before! I note this recipe to test and taste it ( ;-)) ) as soon as possible. :-*

  16. These pull apart cakes look cute! I like that they are lemony and small :)

  17. Zoe, I just came over from Joyce's post. Both of your coffee cakes look yummy. Love the top icing and the citrus flavour. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Such pretty little lemony flowers! My family agreed with your son - they thought the cake was delicious.

  19. hi zoe, yeah the sweet, tangy and creamy taste of the bread/cake really makes it very delicious and yes, i remember the fantail bread that you long time made and this is just as pretty! Such sweet words from your son!

  20. Hi Zoe,
    Your flower bread looks so cute! A great idea to make these into small ramekin breads! Haha, your son must be surprised at the icing on my bread. I made about 3/4 of the icing recipe, and it does seem a little too much initially, but ended up using everything cos if I keep any leftover icing in the fridge, it will be left forgotten! But we love it, as I've added more lemon juice to the icing, it was so lemony cheezy! This is one delicious bread!

  21. Hi Zoe, brilliant and very creative way of baking the cake in ramekins and served in ramekins as well.

  22. Will you adopt me? I'll clean up my room. I promise. :D

  23. These cakes look stunning and simply delicious! What a great recipe :)

  24. Wow! Looks so appetizing . I've never tried pull apart bread or cake before . Yours looks amazingly inviting ! Would love some for tea time ;)

  25. These look super yummy, Zoe. I love that it's made in ramekins - now, this is an idea I will keep for future use! ^.^

  26. Very gorgeous cake, this is something extremely irresistible..

  27. I like your idea by putting the bread into the ramekins, they look like pots of flowers to me :P

  28. Lemon and cream cheese is a fantastic breakfast combo

  29. I bet every time you pull apart, there is a massive fresh scent of lemon in the air :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  30. WOOOO~~~~ I saw a similar recipe last week! Plan to do it this weekend since I have many lemons in my fridge! Yours look much simple! Yum!

  31. Hi Zoe, I borrowed your ramekin idea. Baked the excess dough in one ramekin;D

  32. It looks so delicious! I have to get some more lemons!