Yeasted Coffeecake with Apricot Cream Cheese Filling

My first time browsing through Baking Illustrated, I saw this coffee cake and knew I wanted to make it.  It has pretty much been hanging out in the back of my mind ever since.  A couple of weeks ago I finally had the first free weekend in what feels like ages, and I decided it was time to give this a try.  The really cool thing about this recipe is that there are several variations on both fillings, shapes and toppings, and I cannot wait to try all of them!  For this first try, I went with the horseshoe shape and a combination cream cheese and apricot filling.  It was fabulous!  It seemed just like the sort of thing I have ordered at bakeries before.  Very cool to know I can make it at home!  

The dough is light and tender, and the filling is tasty but not overwhelming so that you can really appreciate the delicious cake component.  The only thing I will do differently next time is to loosely tent some foil over it about halfway through baking.  I was not happy with how deeply browned the top was, although it tasted fine.  Just a note as well – the dough really takes quite a while to rise, so don’t worry if you don’t see results quickly.  I tend to get stressed I don’t see quick results, but it does expand eventually, it just needs some time.  The original recipe yields two coffeecakes, but I just can’t see needing two so I have reduced the ingredient quantities to yield enough for one.  Also, the cookbook claims that the cream cheese filling is too soft for use with the horseshoe shape, but it only leaked out a bit during assembly and not at all during baking, so I think it is okay to use in combination with a fruit filling.

Yeasted Coffee Cake with Apricot Cream Cheese Filling
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For the dough:
2¼ tsp. instant yeast
2 tbsp. warm water
1/4 cup sugar (1¾ oz.)
2 large eggs
1 tbsp. milk
2 cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour (10 1/8 oz.) 
3/4 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into 1-inch pieces  

For the apricot filling:
1 cup dried apricots
1½ tbsp. sugar
1½ tsp. finely grated orange zest
1½ tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp. rum (optional) 

For the cream cheese filling:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened but still cool
2 tbsp. sugar
4 tsp. all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
½ egg (I just beat it lightly with a fork and add about half)
¼ tsp. vanilla extract 

For the egg wash:
1 large egg
1 tsp. heavy cream or whole milk 

To make the dough, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; stir to dissolve.  Add the sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla.  Mix at the lowest speed until well combined.  Add about 1½ cups of the flour and the salt, mixing on low speed until the flour is incorporated, about 1 minute.  Increase the speed to medium-low and add the butter pieces one at a time, beating until incorporated, about 20 seconds after each addition.  Replace the paddle with the dough hook and add the remaining ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons flour; knead at medium-low speed until soft and smooth, about 5 minutes longer.  Increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough tightens up slightly, about 2 minutes longer.

The dough will be too soft to pick up with your hands, so scrape it into a straight-sided lightly oiled plastic container using a dough scraper (I just used a spatula).  Cover the container tightly with plastic wrap and let rise at warm room temperature until doubled in size, 3-4 hours.  Press down the dough, replace the plastic and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 4 or up to 24 hours.  Alternatively for a quick chill, spread the dough onto a lightly oiled baking sheet, about 1-inch thick, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 2 hours.

Meanwhile, to make the apricot filling, combine the apricots, sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until the apricots are soft and the water has nearly evaporated, 16-18 minutes.  Off the heat, mix in the orange zest, orange juice, and rum (if using).  Blend until smooth with an immersion blender (or, transfer to a food processor/blender and blend.)  

To make the cream cheese filling, beat the cream cheese, sugar, flour and salt in the bowl of a mixer at high speed until smooth, 2-4 minutes.  Add the lemon zest, egg and vanilla extract.  Reduce the speed to medium and continue beating, scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once, until incorporated, about 1 minute.  Scrape the mixture into a small bowl and chill thoroughly before using.

When you are ready to shape the coffeecake, remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and turn it onto a lightly floured work surface.  Shape the dough evenly into a 6 by 5-inch rectangle.  

Roll the dough evenly into a 15 by 9-inch rectangle (the dough should be about ¼-inch thick.)  As you roll, straighten the sides of the dough occasionally with the dough scraper (your hands also work just fine.)  

Spread the apricot filling over the dough in a thin layer, leaving a thin border around the edges.  

Straighten the sides again once more.  Spread a thin layer of the cream cheese filling over the apricot filling.  

Using both hands, roll the dough up evenly lengthwise.  Pinch the dough securely to seal the seam.  Do not seal the ends of the roll. 

Place the roll in a semicircle on a parchment- or silpat-lined baking sheet.  

Using clean kitchen scissors, cut 2/3 of the way into the dough at 2-inch intervals.  

Gently lift and separate the cut sections and flatten them slightly.  Cover with plastic wrap and proof until slightly puffed, 1½ to 2 hours.  (After this final rise, the unbaked cake can be refrigerated overnight and baked the next morning.)  

For the egg wash, beat the egg and cream in a small bowl until combined.  Brush uncut surfaced with egg wash.  Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350° F.  Bake until deep golden brown and/or an instant read thermometer inserted in the center of the cake reads 190° F, 25-30 minutes.  (Cover with foil halfway through baking if necessary, to prevent over-browning.)  Slide the coffeecake onto a wire rack and cool at least 20 minutes before serving.

Source: adapted from Baking Illustrated

33 Responses

  1. Oh good Lord. This looks amazing Annie! ATK never ceases to rock my socks.

    I was looking for something to make for a Mary Kay party I’m being forced to have in a week. I think this would be delicious and impressive. Thanks!

  2. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a more beautiful coffee cake in my life! WOW that is stunning and totally delicious at the same time! I’ve never eaten apricots so I might have to give it a try to see what they’re all about! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Oh my lands. It’s 8:30am and nothing looks more delightful than this. Thank you for sharing this, I may even post about your great find today on my blog! What a perfect recipe!

  4. This almost makes me wish I liked cooked fruit 🙂 I think I’ll have to try with just cream cheese filling. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Jessica!
      You might want to wait until I post a different variation on shaping to use the cream cheese filling alone. It was able to stay in for the most part with the apricot filling, but the book recommends using one of the other shaping techniques for cream cheese filling only. I’ll just have to make it again soon and post about that!
      🙂 Annie

  5. Thanks for posting this. It’s beautiful, yet your step by step instructions make it look so simple.

  6. Wow Annie! That looks incredible!! It looks… impressive! Guests would go wild 🙂

    It just makes me really really want a standing mixer so I could attempt things like that. Its on my birthday/Christmas list, and hopefully I can wait that long.

    I love your blog!

  7. this looks fabulous..did they offer an apple filling recipe? i have guest coming and this would be perfect, but i think they are more apple type this something you could share with me??? i cant find the book near me in stores recently and now dont have time to order if i want to make it soon…no biggie if not…LOL thanks and great are superb!

    • Lovestoeat,
      I am fairly certain that the book did not have an apple filling recipe. However, I’m sure you could make something that would be sufficient. I just browsed on Williams Sonoma’s website and saw that they have a spiced apple-filled pancake recipe. I would recommend using the filling from that recipe, I think it would work well. Now you have inspired me to try that version as well. Oh, the possibilities!
      🙂 Annie

  8. This turned out beautiful! Awesome job 🙂

  9. Annie,
    Reading your website is one of my favorite things to do everyday! Your pictures and description and attention to detail are amazing! I also appreciate the variety of posts. I am sure you get asked all the time…how do you do it? I have an 8-5 job and am expecting our first baby in August and I barely have energy to make a sandwich let alone prepare dinner nightly. Reading your blog will have to enough for now! Keep up the good work 🙂

  10. Gorgeous! Now I’m looking for some occation to make this!
    I agree with you about the browning. But other than that, it looks and sounds amazing. I think I’ll try it with raspberry puree (love cream cheese and raspberry), I can already see there are so many options for filling.
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  11. I’m not really huge on apricot fillings, but this coffeecake looks great. It’s so pretty!

  12. Oh my that looks beautiful!!! I love yeasted breads with apricot filling. Delicious!

    What is that mat called that you were rolling the dough on?? I think I may need one of those for the measurements!

    • Hi Fallon,
      The mat I use is a Pampered Chef pastry mat. It is one of my absolute favorite kitchen items! It is incredibly useful for such recipes, usually bread or pie doughs, where it needs to be rolled out to a certain size. Or, just a great surface for kneading on. I highly recommend it!
      🙂 Annie

  13. That looks absolutely delicious!!! I love the shape and the beautiful glossy sheen of the cake. Apricot & cream cheese filling?! Sounds like a danish!!! Thank you for the detailed photographs and recipe. I really enjoy your site. 🙂

  14. to say that i’m impressed would be an understatement. this is absolutely outstanding. BRAVO.

  15. Oh Yum! This looks so good, I only wish I had time to make it today! I love the BI cookbook too – one of my all-time favorites!

  16. This is beautiful- it almost looks too good to eat!


  17. Not only is your recipe adorable looking it looks like it taste delicious too…yummy!!!

  18. Annie, you made this so perfect looking! Thanks for posting the step by step, you’ve made it seem much easier than the finishing photo looks! That helps! 🙂

  19. I always bake/cook on rare free weekends too 🙂 Love this cake – it is gorgeous and SO picture perfect!

  20. Such a beautiful presentation! I love the step-by-step photos- it really helps.

  21. That is the most beautiful coffee cake I have ever laid my eyes on. WOW! I love the shape and the filling sounds perfect. Another thing added to my bake list! Puh 😉

  22. This is just so pretty, Annie! I can’t stop revisiting the post to check it out.

  23. Looks gorgeous! Can’t wait to try it myself.

  24. That looks amazing! You always do such nice work 🙂

  25. Mine didn’t turn out as nice as the pictures 🙂 For feedback, I rolled the dough a little too thin, which led to some shape and transportation problems. Mine also browned quicker than I thought. I substituted an invented blackberry spread as apricots are hard to come by in Honduras. Mine did run a little bit. It was messy, but delicious! Thanks for passing along a great recipe

  26. […] Yeasted Coffeecake with Apricot Cream Cheese Filling […]

  27. Just linked to your site from goodness knows where and landed at this recipe. It’s a rainy day here in Vancouver, Canada and I’ve been flip-flopping back and forth between baking bread and baking a coffee cake. Looks like you just solved my problem. Cheers!

  28. Great coffee cake 🙂

  29. Hi Annie, I made this recipe for a bible study group and I sure did something wrong. I could only taste the bread part of this dish, not the filling. Did I do to many rolls of the dough or where did I go wrong. It looks so pretty and sounds wonderful. Help and I will give it another
    try. I really want to make this and have it taste as wonderful as it looks
    Love your site

    • Hi Sandy,
      I’m so sorry to hear that it didn’t come out that well for you. Unfortunately, I don’t have any great suggestions. I actually felt like the filling taste was slightly stronger than I liked, and was thinking of using a bit less next time. So, I don’t know what to tell you! I don’t think the number of turns would have been an issue because the same amount of dough is in the end product regardless. Maybe you could try using a different shape (like in the raspberry cream cheese version I made) and see if that helps. Sorry I don’t have any better ideas!
      🙂 Annie

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