Sunday 27 March 2011

The Daring Bakers March 2011: Yeasted Rhubarb & Rosewater Meringue Ring Cake

This months challenge was one of the most different and unusual styles of yeasted, sweet bread, cake, ring, baked, meringue, rolled concoctions I have ever seen, eaten and baked! It’s essentially a sweet yeasted dough that it rolled out, spread with a layer of meringue, scattered with the filling of your choice, rolled up like a swiss roll, formed into a ring, slashed and baked.

I think it’s the addition of the layer of raw meringue in the filling that makes this recipe so unique. I’ve never seen anything like it before.

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake. Here in the UK if we call something a ‘coffee cake’ we mean it has coffee in it, whereas in the USA it simply means it’s a cake that’s ideal to be served with a morning coffee. Sort of like our toasted tea cakes – they don’t actually contain tea. However, I decided to rename my cake to Yeasted Rhubarb & Rosewater Meringue Ring Cake which makes more sense to me – sort of.

The main elements of this challenge were to make the dough and the meringue filling/spread. We were free to add any additional flavours to these components and allowed to choose whatever other filling we liked. As you have probably guessed from the title I chose to flavour my meringue with rosewater syrup and add some finely diced rhubarb, spices and pecan nuts to the filling.

I had to play around with the dough recipe in order to make it gluten free, but I’m pleased to say that apart from being a little soft to work with, it behaved very well, even during rolling out thanks to the added xanthan gum which adds back a little elasticity that’s missing from the gluten free flours.

I have recently got really hooked on the flavour of rosewater syrup that I discovered in an asian supermarket, I love its sweet delicate fragrance and flavour. It makes everything taste so exotic, yet soothing like lavender. It seemed the perfect thing to pair with the fresh rhubarb, picked from my grandmother garden. Plus, I adore the pale pearly pink colour it turned the meringue.

Sticking with the fragrant flavours, I spiced by rhubarb with a mix of ground cinnamon, ginger and cardamom which added a subtle spiciness. At the last minute I added some pecan nuts and I’m pleased I did as they gave some crunch to the finished cake, as everything else was rather soft and squishy.

The finished cake was good and I loved all the flavours together. However I’m still a little unsure what the purpose of the meringue was. It certainly kept the insides very moist, but it wasn’t really noticeable of being meringue. I suppose it’s a way of not using copious amounts of butter to keep the filling soft and gooey. I liked the way each slice looked, studded with nuggets of pecan and squishy blobs of rhubarb.

The cake was very nice on the day it was made, a little haphazard looking, but gluten free dough never behaves in quite the same way as normal dough (that’s my excuse anyway). It was tasty with a crisp curst and a soft and tender filling. However, it doesn’t really keep well and by the second day it was tasting stale and the insides had started to turn mushy so eat it quickly!

Thanks girls for choosing such a fun and novel baking challenge. Click here to see how the traditional ring cakes should look and to see the daring bakers blogroll.

Yeasted Rhubarb & Rosewater Meringue Ring Cake (GF)
Yeasted Cake Dough
250g gluten free flour (100g buckwheat, 50g tapioca flour, 50g brown rice flour & 50g soya flour)
2 tsp xanthan gum
25g caster sugar
¼ tsp salt
1½ tsp dried yeast
90ml whole milk
30ml water
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg

Rosewater Meringue Filling
1 large egg white, at room temperature
1 pinch salt
1 tbsp rosewater syrup
35g caster sugar

Rhubarb Filling
50g chopped pecans
20g caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cardamom
4 thin sticks (around 150g) rhubarb, diced into 5mm pieces

Method - Dough
In a large mixing bowl, combine 125g of the flour, the xanthan gum, sugar, salt and yeast.
In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter and heat over medium heat until warm and the butter is melted.
With an electric mixer on low speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes. Add the egg and 60g more flour mix. Switch to a spatula or wooden spoon and work the flour into the dough.
Stir in just enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together (I didn’t need all mine). Turn out onto a floured surface and knead the dough until smooth and soft. (It won’t be elastic like gluten dough, more like a pastry in texture).
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise until double in bulk, 45 – 60 minutes.

Rhubarb Filling
In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and sugar and mix until well combined. Add the chopped pecans and rhubarb and toss to evenly coat them in the spiced sugar. Set to one side.

Rosewater Meringue Filling
Once the dough has doubled in size, make the meringue.
In a clean mixing bowl beat the egg white (save the egg yolk for glazing later) with the salt, first on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high and continue beating until foamy and opaque.
Drizzle in the rosewater syrup, followed by the sugar, whisking all the time until you achieve a stiff glossy meringue.

Line a baking tray with baking paper or a silicone mat.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 20 x 10inch rectangle. Spread the meringue evenly over the rectangle, leaving a ½ inch gap around the edge. Sprinkle the rhubarb sugar filling evenly over the meringue.
Now, roll up the dough in a scroll, starting from the long side. Be gentle as the dough is likely to tear. Pinch the seam closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to the baking tray and place seam side down. Bring the ends of the log around and seal the ends together, forming a ring, tucking one end into the other and pinching to seal.
Using kitchen scissors make cuts along the outside edge at 1inch/2.5cm intervals, cutting about half way through.
Cover the cake loosely with clingfilm and leave to rise again for 45minutes, until slightly puffy, they won’t double in size.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Brush the top of the cake with the egg yolk, saved from making the meringue. Bake for 25-30 minutes until puffed and golden brown. The dough be browned and crisp underneath
Remove from the oven and use a large spatula to carefully slide the cake onto a cooling rack. Leave to cool before slicing.
These are best eaten fresh the same day. They go a little soft by day 2-3.
Makes one 10inch ring cake/sweet bread


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I love your take on the recipe! Very spring-like and delicious.



Rachel said...

Good on you for finding an alternative recipe and the flavours sound amazing. different from the usual ones.

Caroline said...

Looks really interesting - I would never have thought to bake meringue mixture into a bread/cake - glad it seemed to work ok for you!

The rosewater syrup sounds interesting - I take it that it's different from the rosewater that you can buy in mainstream supermarkets - mine is a clear liquid with the consistency of water. I'll have to hunt for the kind you used, it sounds lovely. I like the idea of rosewater and rhubarb together too.

Katie said...

Hi C,

Yes its a vibrant pink sweet sticky syrup that has a strong flavour of rose. I bought it from an asian supermarket.

Please Do Not Feed The Animals. said...

Your filling is so inventive and sounds divine.
I love the taste of rose and have been trying for some time to source some rose water or syrup. Once I get hold of some I will flavour just about everything with it. Will have to have a look in some Asian stores.
Oh, and my Easter eggs came yesterday - they look brilliant. Taking them on holiday with us next week - yum!

. said...

I was also confused with the name - I like your renaming idea! Your fillings look great - wonderful swirling effect once cut, I might have to get some rosewater - sounds divine!

Rhyleysgranny said...

It is such an unusual idea. You made a lovely job of it. Love the idea of the rhubarb and rose water.

The Caked Crusader said...

Good choice on the rhubarb - it looks amazing. This looks like it was a lot of work - you should feel very proud of your beautiful cake!

Johanna GGG said...

sounds interesting - the meringue filing sounds strange but good to try - your mention of rosewater made me think of a turkish bread pudding I made with rosewater - was wondering if this would go well in a bread and butter pudding - would it help the gf loaf last longer

Anonymous said...

Hi I'm new to your blog, but not to yeast-bread baking.

This looks yummy! The rose-water merinque sounds exotic, but makes sense when paired with the fruity rhubarb. Can almost smell it baking!

Just curious, can I substitute regular organic white flour for the gluten-free?

Unknown said...

What a fantastic interpretation of this recipe! I love your pink meringue. Great job!

Sugar Plum Cupcake said...

It looks delicious, the rose water makes the meringue a lovely colour too


Alix said...

I made this last night as a dessert, after I looked at our bloated sourdough starter, four stalks of rhubarb in the fridge, and leftover rhubarb fool from last week, and thought, "hmm, what can I make with all this?" I substituted buttermilk for milk (again because it was in the fridge), adding 1 tsp baking soda to neutralize the acidity. I also used the rhubarb fool in place of the meringue. I served it with fresh strawberries, frozen vanilla yogurt, and drizzled with a rosewater orange syrup that I made out of simple syrup, rosewater, and grand marnier. It was really unusual and delicious, and impressed my guests! Thanks so much for the excellent recipe!