Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Coffee Cakes, US Army, 1943

As promised in my last post, here are some variations on the US Army's "Basic Sweet Dough for Sweet Rolls and Coffee Cakes". You will need to prepare the basic sweet dough recipe from my last post, "Cinnamon Rolls, US Army, 1943". These are old-fashioned coffee cakes, not overly sweet as is the case with many pastries nowadays. They are quite simple: the dough is rolled out, covered with a topping, proofed and baked. You can either make one large coffee cake, or divide the dough in half and make both types. The examples in the photos below were each scaled for one-half of the basic sweet dough recipe and used a quarter-sheet pan (13” x 9”, 33 x 23 cm).
     Do not exceed the proof time for either of these coffee cakes. If proofed for too long, the weight of the topping will cause the cake to fall. The finished coffee cakes can be served plain, with icing, or dusted with powdered sugar.   
Fruit coffee cake (left), Streussel coffee cake (right) and
cinnamon rolls (rear).
Fruit Coffee Cake
     For the fruit coffee cake any type of thickened pie filler could be used, prepared from fresh or canned fruit. The canned fruits most commonly available to the US Army in WW2 were apple, apricot, cherry, peach and pineapple. This recipe will require about  48 fluid ounces (1360 ml)  of thickened pie filler for the full recipe, or 24 fluid ounces (680 ml) for one-half of the sweet dough recipe.

1.      Use a piece of sweet dough weighing about 4 lbs
2.      Roll out sweet dough to a sheet of ½” thickness.
3.      Place the dough in a sheet pan. Trim the edges if necessary.
4.      Cover with a thickened pie filler, before proofing.
5.      Proof for 15 to 20 minutes.
6.      Bake at 400º F (205º C) for 30 minutes, or until the bottom is golden brown.

Roll out the dough 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) thick, to the shape of the pan.
The thickened pie filler (blueberry in this example) is spread on the dough.
The baked fruit coffee cake.
Fruit coffee cake dusted with powdered sugar.

Streussel Coffee Cake
     The amounts for the streussel topping are for one full recipe of basic sweet dough. Divide the amounts in half if you are making a half-sized streussel coffee cake as I have done in the photos below.  

Streussel Topping
US                               Metric                          Ingredients
8 oz                             225 g                           sugar               
4 oz                             113 g                           butter              
4 oz                             113 g                           lard                 
0.125 oz (½ tsp)          3.5 g                            salt                  
1.5 oz                          4 g                               honey or table syrup               
16 oz                           43 g                             flour              

1. Cream slightly the sugar, butter, lard, and salt.                                                                                             
2. Add honey or syrup and flour.
3. Blend to a crumb-like mixture.          
4. If the mixture clumps together, add more flour until you get a crumbly mixture.

Procedure for Streussel Coffee Cake

1.      Roll sweet dough out to a sheet of ½” thickness.
2.      Place the dough in a sheet pan.
3.      Dock (prick) the dough sheet with a fork to prevent blisters.
4.      Grease the top of the dough with melted lard, shortening or butter.
5.      Spread the Streussel uniformly over the sheet of dough. If too much Streussel is applied in some spots, sinking may occur.
6.      Give a short proof of 15 to 20 minutes.
7.      Bake at 400°F (205°C) until golden brown on top and bottom.
8.      When baked, place a pan over the top of the coffee cake and turn upside down until cool.
9.      This will prevent the sinking of the cake under the weight of Streussel. Turn it over again once it has cooled.
10.  The finished Streussel cake may be served plain, iced, or dusted with powdered sugar.

Spreading the topping.
Streussel topping added and ready for proofing.
Remove the baked cake from the oven,
place a pan over the top of the coffee cake,
 and turn upside down to cool. Flip it back once it
has cooled so that the streussel is back on top.
Icing drizzled over the cooled cake.
The completed Streussel coffee cake.

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