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
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
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.
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