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The Perfect Holiday Coffee Cake

Makes: 20  to 24  servings
Yield: 2 loaves Prep 55 mins Rise 1 hr 40 mins Bake 25 mins Stand 20 mins


  • 2 packages rapid-rise yeast
  • Sugar
  • 1/2 cup  warm water (105 degrees F to 115 degrees F)
  • 5 3/4 - 6 1/3 cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup  sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons  salt
  • 1 teaspoon  ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup  butter or margarine
  • 1 cup  lukewarm milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 cups  Mascarpone or 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons  dairy sour cream
  • 1/4 cup  granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons  all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon  grated orange peel
  • 2 15 1/4 - 16 1/2ounce can apricot halves, pitted sweet cherries or plum halves in syrup, drained and patted dry
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon  butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons  crystallized sugar


1. Sprinkle yeast and a pinch of the granulated sugar over warm water in measuring cup. Stir. Let stand just until foamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together 2 cups of the flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, the salt and cardamom in large bowl. With pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the 1/2 cup butter into flour mixture until coarse crumbs form. Whisk together lukewarm milk, 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk in medium bowl until blended; whisk in yeast mixture. Stir milk mixture into flour mixture with wooden spoon until combined. Gradually stir in 3-3/4 to 4 cups of the flour, until dough begins to pull away from side of bowl. On lightly floured surface, knead dough, adding remaining 1/3 cup flour as needed, until smooth and elastic, 7 to 10 minutes. Generously butter a large bowl. Add dough and turn to coat top with butter. Cover and let dough rise in a warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk (50 to 60 minutes).

2. Meanwhile, combine Mascarpone and sour cream in small bowl. Beat in 1/4 cup sugar, 2 yolks, 2 tablespoons flour, and the orange peel until smooth. Cover and refrigerate.

3. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface; cut in half and let stand 10 minutes. Lightly grease two large cookie sheets and line with parchment.

4. Cut a 1/2 cup piece of dough from each dough half; set aside. Transfer each remaining piece of dough to a prepared sheet. Press each piece into a 16x9-inch rectangle. Divide and spread Cheese Filling in a lengthwise strip, 4 inches wide, down center of each rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border at either end. Divide and arrange fruit in single layer on cheese. With a sharp knife, cut twelve slits in dough on a 30-degree angle along each side of filling, forming strips about 1 inch wide. Fold the first 2 strips of dough on top dough rectangle over filling, overlapping and pressing gently. Gently stretch remaining strips across filling at an angle, alternating from side to side and pressing gently. Fold ends underneath to seal. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

5. Cut one of the 1/2 cup reserved pieces of dough in half. Roll each half into a 16-inch long rope. Join one end of ropes and twist. Repeat with remaining reserved dough. Arrange each twisted rope down center of each loaf; pinch lightly on each end to seal. Cover loaves and let rise until almost doubled in bulk (50 to 60 minutes).

6. Meanwhile, arrange oven racks in middle and lower third of oven; heat oven to 350 degrees F.

7. Uncover loaves. Brush 1 beaten egg over loaves (avoid dripping egg onto parchment), then brush with the 1 tablespoon melted butter. Sprinkle tops with crystallized sugar. Bake 15 minutes; switch pans between racks. Bake 10 to 13 minutes more or until deep golden brown. Cool loaves on pans on wire racks, 20 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter or board. Serve warm or cool completely. Makes 10 to 12 servings per loaf.

Make Ahead Tip

  • Prepare and bake loaves. Cool completely. Wrap loaves tightly in foil and freeze up to 1 week. Let wrapped loaf stand at room temperature 3 hours. Reheat in 350 degree F oven 10 minutes. Open foil to expose tops of loaves and bake 5 minutes more, until heated through.

Nutrition Facts

  • Servings Per Recipe 20
  • cal.(kcal)320,
  • Fat, total(g)14,
  • chol.(mg)86,
  • sat. fat(g)9,
  • carb.(g)42,
  • fiber(g)1,
  • pro.(g)7,
  • sodium(mg)232,
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet