My younger sister, Noelle, just came home from her first year at college where she is studying to be a nurse. Noelle and I have been fast friends since the days she was born. As a wide-eyed four year old, there was nothing better than having a little sister, nothing more exciting than when my mom let me hold her in my arms. As the years past, Noelle and I shared bubble baths, bedrooms, and books. We opened our hearts to each other, sharing those secrets that only sisters can have, and we laughed and cried and danced together (in our underwear, of course).
I have missed her deeply this past year. It was the first time we've been more than an hour away from each other, and I grew nostalgic for those lazy afternoons where we would just sit, talk and share food. Thankfully, when she returns to school this fall, and I began my graduate work at Texas State, we'll only be an hour away again; undoubtedly her location was one of the reasons I decided to apply down south .
But she returned to Colorado last week for the summer, and I wanted to bake her something in celebration of her arrival. She's been following my blog from afar and craving many of the baked goods I've made; it was wonderful to be able to bake something just for her.
Click on the link below the picture to read about this delicious coffee cake and our reunion.
This recipe calls for the sweet yeast dough to be made the night before. So although it may take a bit of advanced planning, your cake can be fresh and warm for a Sunday brunch or coffee with friends.
The original recipe called for chopped nuts, which I omitted, but I think that some toasted pecans or walnuts would be an excellent addition to the sugar and raisin mixture.
I've posted step by step pictures of the process, which I hope are helpful.
My family enjoyed this cake immensely, but even more, we enjoyed being together again. I sat there, a cup of coffee in hand, and I watched my beautiful family sharing stories and laughing together, and I felt truly blessed.
Simple Sweet Dough
4 TBSP sugar
1/4 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
3 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. In a small bowl, combine the warm water, sugar and active dry yeast. Do not stir. Allow the mixture to stand for 5-10 minutes, or until bubbly.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, the 3 TBSP of sugar and the salt. Add the cubed butter and continue to mix until meal-size crumbs form
3. In a separate bowl, mix the milk, egg yolks, and vanilla. Add the milk mixture to the flour, as well as the dissolved yeast, and mix on low speed for 15-45 seconds or until a smooth dough is formed (the dough will be very soft).
4. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and allow to rest in refrigerator overnight.
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 recipe of Simple Sweet Dough (freeze the other half...and save for a later recipe)
1 large egg white (for egg wash)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1. In a small bowl combine the sugars and cinnamon. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. On a lightly floured surface, knead the cold dough six to eight times. Roll the dough into a 9 x 16 inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the egg wash and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over top, leaving a one inch border on the far side. Scatter the raisins or nuts over the dough and gently pat them into the surface.
6. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, brush the top of your ring with the egg wash, and bake for 25 to 28 minutes, or until just golden brown.
7. While baking, prepare a simple vanilla glaze by combining 1 cup of powdered sugar with a teaspoon of vanilla and a dash of milk (adding more milk or sugar to reach your desired consistency). Drizzle the glaze over the warm cake and serve immediately.