flo braker’s coconut twist coffee cake


i came across this recipe in flo braker’s book Baking for All Occasions. i’m usually enticed to test out a recipe because of the gorgeous accompanying picture that just seems to beckon, “make me! make me!”  there wasn’t one in this case but the tag-line to the recipe reeled me in: “This coffee cake looks complicated.  But looks are deceiving.”  plus, my curiosity about how this coffee cake might turn out pulled me irrevocably towards the flour jar.  and how did it turn out?  well once i opened the oven, a golden brown behemouth greeted me.  the coffee cake measured about 14 inches across and 3 inches high — a bit larger than suggested by the recipe (i guess i had some powerful yeast).

as a side note, while this recipe is labeled as a “coffee cake” i found that its texture was really quite a bit more bread like — rather similar to a soft asian bread or a cinnamon roll.

Coconut Twist Coffee Cake
(Flo’s original recipe is 2 pages long filled with rather detailed instruction.  I’ve re-written it to describe how I made it with short cuts and all.  The original also prescribes pouring a warm apricot based glaze over the coffee cake. I cut that step out and brushed the coffee cake with an egg wash instead. Maybe that shaved off 5 minutes from my elliptical routine?)

Ingredients for the Sweet Yeast Dough:

Flour 430g, divided into 255 g and 175 g portions
Sugar 65g
Instant Yeast 2 tsp (I used active yeast; it turned out okay even without activation)
Salt ¾ tsp
Milk 1 cup or 240ml
Butter 70g (5 tbsp)
Honey 1 tsp
Eggs 1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks
Vanilla Extract 1 tsp
  1. Mix together 255g of flour, the sugar, yeast and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment.
  2. Heat the milk and butter in a saucepan until the butter has melted.
  3. Remove the pan from heat and add in the honey.
  4. Allow the milk mixture to cool until it feels just warm to the touch.
  5. Pour the warm milk mixture into the flour mixture and combine using low speed until everything is evenly moistened.
  6. Over low speed as well, add the eggs and vanilla in until well incorporated.
  7. Stop the mix and scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Change the paddle attachment to the dough hook.
  8. Add in the remaining flour, a bit at a time, until a soft dough forms.  The dough is ready when it is soft, smooth, elastic and not too sticky.  Do not add too much flour as the dough will be tough instead of tender.
  9. Place the dough in a large bowl and cover it loosely with plastic.  Let the dough rise until it has double to tripled in size.  About 1.5 to 2 hours.  The dough is ready when the an indentation made with a finger tip remains on the surface.
  10. Make the coconut filling (see recipe below), when waiting for the dough to rise.
  11. When the dough is ready, divide it into thirds (~300g each).
  12. On a half sheet pan covered with parchment paper, stretch one portion of the dough into a circle about 12 inches in diameter.
  13. Spread half of the filling on top of the dough, using an offset spatula.
  14. Layer a second piece of dough on top of the filling and stretch it out to cover the filling.
  15. Spread the remaining filling on top of the 2nd layer of dough.
  16. Shape the remaining portion of dough into a 12 inch circle and place that over the filling.
  17. Gently place a small drinking glass about 2 inches in diameter in the center of the dough circle.  Do not cut through the dough.  You just want to make a slight indentation in the dough. Remove the glass.
  18. Using a pastry scraper or knife, cut 16 wedges on the outer perimeter of the dough.  You want to cut from the edge of the dough up to the inner circle marked by the glass.
  19. Take each wedge and twist it 3 times in the same direction to create a spiral  Tuck the ends under to anchor it.
  20. Place the dough in the oven (either with the oven off or set to the proofing function).  Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size (about 30 minutes).
  21. Take the dough out of the oven and heat the oven to 350ºF.
  22. While waiting for the oven to reach the desired temperature, brush the coffee cake with some egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tsp of milk and a pinch of salt).
  23. Bake the coffee cake until golden (30-35 minutes).
  24. If you want to add a glaze to the cake, you can do so by transferring the cake to a wire rack and brush the glaze on to the surface of the cake while it is still warm.  You do not need to egg wash the coffee cake if you will be using a glaze.

Ingredients for the Coconut Filling:

Unsweetened Dried Coconut 70g
Sugar 2 tbsp
Flour 3 tbsp
Salt 1/8 tsp
Butter 55g (1.2 stick)
Egg White From 1 egg (~25g)
Lemon Zest From ½ lemon
Vanilla Extract ½ tsp
  1. Combine the coconut, sugar, flour and salt in a food processor.  Pulse until well-combined.
  2. Then, add in the remaining ingredients until smooth.
  3. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

8 responses to “flo braker’s coconut twist coffee cake

  1. This coffee cake looks divine. 14×3?! Whoa. Can’t wait to try this one! Am a huge Flo Braker fan. BTW–your blog is fantastic!

    • Hi Nina: Nice to meet you! Flo is awesome. I’m slowly working my way through her book. Any Flo favorites on your end?

  2. Wow, just gorgeous!!! Drool…must try this recipe myself! love coconut…i wonder how it would be with filipino-style macapuno preserves instead of the dried coconut. I’m thinking giant ensaymada-coffeecake fusion!

  3. Pingback: flo’s pull-apart lemon coffee cake, sort of « a tomato in tribeca

  4. Beautiful blog, great cake! Could you please add the recipe for the apricot based glaze?


    • The apricot glaze recipe is as follows:

      1/2 cup strained apricot jam, warmed
      1/2 cup powdered sugar
      4 tsp whole milk
      1/2 tsp vanilla extract

      Stir together all ingredients in a small bowl until it forms a thin liquid. The glaze should be brushed onto the still warm surface of the cake.

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