Baking with Yeast...Orange Almond Braided Coffee Cake

This recipe looks complicated at first glance, but it’s no more difficult than cinnamon rolls.  And, it is different and delicious.  The dough is very nice and easy to work with.  The filling tastes like the filling in the famous Pella “Dutch Letters.” This is a perfect Spring treat.  "Tulip Time" in Pella is May 6-8th, and the tulips there are already looking great!

Don’t buy the “almond paste pie filling”; get the plain almond paste.  It is dry ground almonds; the other filling starts with “high fructose corn syrup” and almonds are about the 3rd or 4th ingredient!  In our area, heavily ethnic Dutch, it is in every grocery.  I purchased Solo brand, found with the pie fillings.  It is easy to divide the contents of the can or box.
I made my filling while the dough was rising the first time so I would be ready.  This time, my pastry bag was really handy; an extra-large round #2A tip squeezed out just the right amount of filling.  Too much, and it will seep out while baking.  I liked a few sliced almonds on top to echo the filling.                     
 Orange Almond Braided Coffee Cake
                        Coffee Cake
  1          Cup  Milk -- Combine with water and heat to 120° to 130°
     ¼    Cup  Water
  4 ½    Cups  Flour, All-purpose -- (1# 4 1/4 ounces)
     ¼    Cup  Sugar
  1         Teaspoon  Salt
  2         Teaspoons  Instant Yeast
     ¼    Cup  Butter
  1         Large  Egg
  3 ½   Ounces  Almond Paste, crumbled slightly
     ¼   Cup  Brown Sugar -- firmly packed
     ¼   Cup  Butter -- softened
     ¼   Teaspoon  Grated Orange Peel
                        Glaze Frosting
  1        Cup  Powdered Sugar
  3       Tablespoons  Milk
     ½   Teaspoon  Almond Extract
     ¼   Teaspoon  Grated Orange Peel
  1. In large mixer bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, yeast, softened butter and egg.  Add heated milk and water mixture; beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until smooth - 1-2 minutes.  Add remaining flour until dough leaves sides of bowl.
  2. Change to dough hook and knead on setting 2 for 5- 6 minutes.  Let rise in bowl, in warm place, covered, 15-20 minutes.  Punch down dough.
  3. While dough is rising, in small mixer bowl, combine filling ingredients.  Beat, scraping bowl often, until well mixed (1-2 minutes). (Almond paste is about half of a 8 ounce can – it comes divided in 4ths).
  4. Divide dough in 2 equal portions.  Roll one portion into three 10 x 3" rectangles (about 6 ounces each).  Spread about 2 tablespoons of filling down center of each rectangle within 1/2 inch of edge on all sides.  Bring long sides together over filling; pinch sides and ends tightly to seal.
  5. Gently braid 3 filled pieces together to make 1 coffee cake.  Pinch ends together to seal, tuck ends under braid.
  6. Repeat with remaining portion of dough to make second coffee cake.  Transfer both coffee cakes to greased (I used parchment) cookie sheet.  Cover; let rise until double in size (15-20 minutes).
  7. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350°.  Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown.  In small bowl, stir together all glaze ingredients.  Drizzle over warm coffee cakes.  Let cool completely before slicing. 
  "Land O Lakes Treasury of Country Heritage Meals & Menus"
  "2 Coffee Cakes"


  1. That looks positively yummy & if I could do decent bread braids- yours are awesome- I might be tempted......

  2. Hey...I was "braid-challenged" just a few years ago...just takes practice. Anything you practice on still tastes good! I practiced on at least one of our weekly loaves and baked it in a loaf pan
    every week until I got better at braiding.

  3. You're right! I need to go for It!👍


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