Daring Bakers March: What to do with a failed yeasted coffee cake

The March 2011 Daring Bakers’ 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.

I have to admit, I was not a happy camper when I saw the word “yeasted” in the title of this challenge.  Yeast and breads in general and I do not get along. We’re learning but we’re most definitely not a happy couple.  Yet – I am hoping that I will conquer my fear of breads and yeasts this year…  So I figured I had nothing to lose – after all, it’s about being daring, right? Yes, yes, it looks wonderful up there. A beautiful, round bun filled with walnuts and chocolate and meringue.  Even though my dough did not rise as much as I thought it should, when it came out of the oven, I was heartened to see it looking “right”.  At least it did on the outside…

Because when I cut into it, I was dismayed to see no fluffy, yeasty bun consistency. Thin layers and the meringue kind of reminded me of cobwebs 🙁

I ate the filling out of that piece (melted chocolate and walnuts, can’t go wrong there!) and pondered what to do with the rest. I really hate wasting food but it was not edible – I even tried warming it up but that didn’t help either.

Finally I decided that it would make a mighty fine bread pudding since all the dryness might be able to be coaxed out with some eggy custardy goodness..

Yes it was messy…

But they came out pretty well! I liked that I could turn them out to plate them…

They were very good the day I made them and the following day with a drizzle of chocolate ganache

So sorry Jamie and Ria – I certainly failed the DB challenge. I will try that again with different yeast (I think mine might have been old? Does that make a difference?) or add the yeast to the wet ingredients first (the recipe called for adding the wet ingredients to the dry, including the yeast which doesn’t make sense to me – my yeast granules never quite blended – you could still kind of see them in the finished loaf, on top) because I do like the idea of it and seeing everyone else’s attempts makes me want to make a fluffy bun filled with goodness.  I did, however, make my first ever bread pudding, so let’s call that a success, shall we?

107 Responses to Daring Bakers March: What to do with a failed yeasted coffee cake

  1. Sally - My Custard Pie March 27, 2011 at 07:29 #

    I think it is a vast improvement with the addition of custard. These heavy yeasted breads can be a bit stodgy but I adore bread and butter pudding. Very daring.

  2. Brian @ a thought for food March 27, 2011 at 08:10 #

    This was definitely not a failure, Mardi! Looks like some mighty fine bread pudding!

  3. Cooking Rookie March 27, 2011 at 08:38 #

    Love your idea of making a bread pudding out of a failed cake :-). Someone said that there is no failure only another attempt at success..
    I also had a problem with the dough rising. I actually added a comment on my post about it. I think that it would be better to activate the yeast before mixing it with other ingredients – leave in lukewarm milk or water with a little sugar for about 5-10 minutes until foam forms.

  4. Pauline March 27, 2011 at 08:40 #

    Good honest post and you saved it too with the choc sauce the next day looks so good. I ‘ve made too many things that have been complete trash jobs so I’m impressed with this revival 🙂

  5. Angela@RecipesFromMyMom March 27, 2011 at 08:40 #

    Great way to use your coffee cake. Especially love the 2nd day with ganache.

  6. Liz March 27, 2011 at 08:43 #

    Way to make lemonade from lemons! Fabulous bread pudding! If you notice, I don’t show a whole shot of my coffee cake…it was yummy, but not the gorgeous wreath I was trying for 🙂

  7. Belinda @zomppa March 27, 2011 at 08:49 #

    Resounding success! It looks almost King Cake-ish, but I love how moist it looks. Daring, indeed.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 27, 2011 at 09:03 #

      Err, the cake was NOT moist at all. It was a total disaster when you look at what it’s supposed to look like. hence the pudding!

  8. MikeVFMK March 27, 2011 at 09:06 #

    That looks like a great bread pudding, Mardi! Hardly a failure at all. Those puds would be a great success in this house!

  9. Sarah G March 27, 2011 at 09:16 #

    Great use of your coffeecake. I plan to make some bread pudding with some of mine, too.

  10. Audax Artifex March 27, 2011 at 09:20 #

    Yes put the yeast into some water with a pinch of sugar and wait for it become foamy this means that it is working and proceed with the recipe will certainly help a lot. Also a double rising/punching down really helps a lot to improve the texture of the cake.

    I have to say the pudding lots stunning and well done on ‘saving’ the results of the challenge. I feel just participating in the challenge is SUCCESS so yes you did success. Well done!

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 28, 2011 at 19:53 #

      Right well it would have helped if the recipe actually said that for yeast-beginners like myself…

  11. foodwanderings March 27, 2011 at 09:21 #

    Completely unfair to wake up to this, I am about to have my first cup of coffee and would give anything to have a slice of this with it. Th ethird pic particularly got me!! Beautiful!!

  12. Barbara March 27, 2011 at 09:23 #

    I was so surprised that you and yeast don’t get along. So clever of you to turn it in to bread pudding. Especially love the one with the ganache drizzle!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 27, 2011 at 09:35 #

      Barbara, anything with yeast in it and I definitely do not get along. I am hoping to change that.

  13. Rochelle (Acquired Taste) March 27, 2011 at 09:24 #

    There is nothing “fail” about this! I wouldn’t have come up with such a clever idea like bread pudding if I had a mishap. I would have eatten it and grumbled the whole time. The pudding looks fabulous, and if you can believe I have never had bread pudding? I feel the need to make a non-rising sweet yummy bread thing just so I can experiment with your pudding and hope that it comes out looking as tasty as this 😀

  14. Shelley C March 27, 2011 at 10:03 #

    While the bread might not have worked out exactly right, I would not call that a failure! You rescued it beautifully and deliciously by turning into a fantastic looking bread pudding! Well done, well saved, and well presented! 🙂 Keep trying with the yeast recipes, too, because once yeast starts working for you, you can make some super delicious things!!

  15. Happy When Not Hungry March 27, 2011 at 10:15 #

    Sorry to see you had a few issues with this recipe, but so glad you saved it with that chocolate. It still looks delicious!!!

  16. Eileen March 27, 2011 at 10:20 #

    I love the way you salvaged this. I feel like you do when something fails. When you put all that time and money into something you get determined to make it right some how. Great job turning things around!

  17. Lora @cakeduchess March 27, 2011 at 10:28 #

    The photos still look pretty ! Love the bread pudding! Maybe the yeast wasn’t fresh…that’s happened to me before. I now want a dish of the bread pudding…chocolate drizzle-yum!

  18. Conor @ Hold the Beef March 27, 2011 at 10:47 #

    Firstly, as you know from my recent youtubery, everyone loves a good failure story 😀

    Secondly, you have managed to somehow turn lemons not into lemonade, but bloody lemon meringue pie. That pudding is delightful! Always good to see the adding-chocolate-improves-everything theory used to good effect.

    Stupid yeast, who needs it anyway? The word even sounds gross.

  19. Jason Phelps March 27, 2011 at 11:06 #

    I love how failure can often result in better things that originally intended. I see my share of failures around the winemaking equipment and I have recovered from most in one way or another.

    I’d be more apt to eat what you ended up with. Hopefully that counts for something!


  20. Aparna March 27, 2011 at 11:08 #

    What a lovely idea to make bread pudding, and that’s some pudding.
    I don;t think anyone would say your challenge was a failure.

  21. Bourbonnatrix March 27, 2011 at 11:09 #

    great save! although the original one *looked* good too!

  22. Fresh and Foodie March 27, 2011 at 11:27 #

    Wow! Yum! This looks incredibly indulgent. Nice recipe.

  23. Ethan March 27, 2011 at 11:51 #

    you and I have a similar relationship with yeast, so I feel your pain. I think we can chalk it up to a learning experience, but extra daring points awarded to you for not giving up and turning it into something that turned out looking great!

  24. Deeba March 27, 2011 at 11:57 #

    I think you did a mighty fine job Mardi, and I think that’s the best bread pudding I’ve seen. I did a bread pudding with a past DB challenge as well since the bread became as large as a football field…or almost {well!!}. I think it must be something to do with the yeast monster, but have to say the end result is wonderful!!

  25. Sara @CaffeIna March 27, 2011 at 12:32 #

    I think you did a great job instead! It’s true…the inside was not fluffy and personally I do not like meringue so I limited the amount of meringue I spread and I put more chocolate and nuts. But all in all, I loved this challenge. It is a lot though for hubby and me alone so the idea of making a bread pudding with the rest is enticing!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 28, 2011 at 19:44 #

      Well it’s totally ridiculous to give people a recipe that makes TWO huge cakes. So many of us are just cooking for 2. Even one cake was a lot.

  26. Paula March 27, 2011 at 13:34 #

    Sorry that the yeast didn’t co-operate with you but holy smokes, you sure know how to turn a negative into a resounding positive! That bread pudding looks amazing and then to add confectioners sugar and a drizzle of chocolate ganache. I wish I could *fail* as beautifully and resourcefully as you do. I think I would have just tearfully tossed mine to the birds after first bite without even a thought to re-invent it.

  27. Barbara | VinoLuciStyle March 27, 2011 at 13:44 #

    I didn’t read all of the comments so if I’m repeating…sorry. But yes, yeast does have a shelf life and if you don’t do a lot of yeast bread, I am betting yours was expired.

    I haven’t had the time to participate in any of these challenges but this cake actually sounds great so might have to try it…I love meringue in cakes and cookies…the only time I seem to have meringue fail is with those blasted macarons!

    • Jamie March 28, 2011 at 03:07 #

      Barbara, you must try this recipe! It is divine! I am sorry that Mardi’s did not rise for if the yeast is fresh and the liquid the right warmth then it is a dream to work with! And delicious!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 28, 2011 at 19:43 #

      Oh this was easier than macarons, for sure. And yes, I will try with fresh yeast.

  28. Mindy March 27, 2011 at 14:12 #

    Nice recovery. Very creative to turn it into a bread pudding!

  29. Wolf March 27, 2011 at 15:33 #

    Old yeast can definitely be an issue.}:/

    I added my yeast to my sourdough starter, along with the flour, salt and sugar. Then it ‘rested’ for 5-10 minutes while I melted the butter into the milk and waited for it to cool some. So i think that might have been why I got a good rise on mine.

    Definitely try adding the yeast to the water first, then mixing it in with the dry ingredients after. You might get a better rise on it, as the yeast’ll have a chance to ‘wake up’, so to speak.

    But that bread pudding looks absolutely delicious and most definitely not a fail. It makes me hungry.}:P

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 28, 2011 at 19:43 #

      Thanks for the tips 🙂

      • Wolf March 28, 2011 at 20:01 #

        Also- I keep my yeast in the refridgerator, not the freezer. Had bad luck with it in the freezer personally. }:)

        So if you do that, in either place, don’t put it in the doors, something about the temp flucuations when you open/close the door can affect it too.

  30. Alice March 27, 2011 at 16:29 #

    That’s a great idea. I really hate wasting food and it’s nice to see someone being inventive and not letting something that didn’t go as planned to good, if not better use!

  31. Robyn Clarke March 27, 2011 at 16:53 #

    I love bread pudding, fantastic idea and combining it with chocolate ganache, now you talking my language, YUM!

  32. Elena March 27, 2011 at 16:53 #

    I like, I am inventive too, I cook lamost daily to save some food that stay in fridge for days………

  33. Lou (PleaseDoNotFeedTheAnimals) March 27, 2011 at 17:06 #

    Well done on saving it. I would probably have thrown it out in a huff if I didn’t like it so I’m impressed that you didn’t waste it.
    I actually think the meringue looks good in your slice. I used fresh yeast from the freezer but put in loads more than the recipe suggested to make sure that it worked even if the yeast was a bit old – seemed to work okay.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 28, 2011 at 19:42 #

      Had I been in a bad mood, I would have set that out for the birds! And yes, I believe it needs much more yeast.

  34. bridget {bake at 350} March 27, 2011 at 17:12 #

    Ooo….your bread puddings look wonderful! I think that was a happy accident!

  35. Michelle T March 27, 2011 at 21:26 #

    Did you use instant or active yeast? Active needs to be added to the wet ingredients and let sit until bubbly, while instant is usually mixed in with the dry.

    Yeast can definitely get old. I store mine in the freezer, and it seems to keep for months. If your yeast is old, it will take a longer time for the first rise than you expected. You can still use it – just making sure that you wait for the yeast to rise fully (poke test) before baking or second rise – let the dough tell you rather than the reciepe time.

    Good luck!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 27, 2011 at 21:39 #

      I used active dry yeast, like the recipe called for and added it into the dry ingredients, as the recipe called for. I guess sometimes it pays to follow your gut instincts because that just felt wrong.

      • Michelle T March 27, 2011 at 21:46 #

        Yes, bread is all about instinct. Generally, active dry yeast works just as well as instant yeast, but requires being activated in a little bit of warm water before being added to the rest of the ingredients. Failure to properly activate it may result in your loaf not rising adequately – and it’s also a good test to make sure the yeast isn’t too old. I use this website a lot when I’m unsure of what to do in the bread world http://www.thefreshloaf.com.

  36. Bobbie March 27, 2011 at 21:38 #

    I love your positive attitude!

  37. Ruth H. March 27, 2011 at 21:56 #

    This is definitely not a failure. Just a step in the learning process! Ilove the “rescue” of making a bread pudding. That mist have been a tasty treat indeed! Thank you so mch for sharing your experience, and helping us all see that even a “failure” is just a new way to approach yumminess!

  38. ck March 27, 2011 at 22:42 #

    As a bread pudding it looks delicious, I can practically taste it. Good save! I passed this month as it didn’t float my boat and would have been wasted food and calories for me.

  39. penny aka jeroxie March 27, 2011 at 23:25 #

    I love your version!!! So much for my low fat diet 😛

  40. BigFatBaker March 28, 2011 at 00:28 #

    Good save! You can’t go wrong with bread pudding 🙂
    I was slightly disheartened when my coffee cake wasn’t fluffy, but it was decent. I definitely need to practice my yeast skills as well.

  41. Jamie March 28, 2011 at 03:09 #

    So sorry that it didn’t work! The outside looks perfect and I wonder if in fact it was the filling that weighed it down? My apple filling, heavy and moist, weighed my cake down too. But don’t you love when failed projects can be turned into successful desserts? I love the pudding!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 28, 2011 at 19:39 #

      I hardly put any filling in at all. I think the problem was with not adding the yeast to the wet ingredients.

  42. s March 28, 2011 at 05:36 #

    Inspite of your calling that a failure it does look good to me and Im amazed at how you managed to convert that to an even yummier looking pudding!

  43. Celia March 28, 2011 at 11:39 #

    As a bread pudding fanatic, I must say…I take joy in this failure. Great way to pick up and make something awesome.

  44. Vicki @ WITK March 28, 2011 at 11:49 #

    So sad that the meringue didn’t do it’s job in the coffee cake! The bread puddings however look delicious! Great way to use up the less than successful cake!

  45. Sarah, Maison Cupcake March 28, 2011 at 11:52 #

    Oh that’s a shame it didn’t work out quite right – but I bet it made scrummy bread and butter pudding. Life’s too short for disappointing cake!

  46. Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz March 28, 2011 at 13:08 #

    The important thing is you tried even if you know yeast and you are not friendly, great idea to turn it into bread pudding.

  47. Lael Hazan March 28, 2011 at 15:54 #

    Too Funny! I love your descriptions and your that you were willing to share a fail, most of all, I’m impressed with your resourcefulness at coming up with a great new idea!

  48. Kim March 28, 2011 at 16:10 #

    So sorry your coffee cake didn’t turn out how you thought it should. Don’t throw in the towel on yeasted breads yet though. I’m glad you were able to turn it into something edible. Nice job on persevering!

  49. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction March 28, 2011 at 17:13 #

    I’ve been pondering this ever since you said it hadn’t turned out right. Do you keep your yeast in the freezer? It lasts pretty much indefinitely that way, but will go bad at room temp (I think). Sometimes things just don’t work out, though. Sorry you had another bad yeast bread experience! On the bright side, that bread pudding looks mighty fabulous 🙂

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 28, 2011 at 19:35 #

      No, I didn’t have the yeast in the freezer. I bought some new stuff and it’s there now!

  50. Jan March 29, 2011 at 09:03 #

    Nice save!
    I’m glad I wasn’t the only one to run into some “issues.” My problem was that I tried to fill it with frangipane and chocolate, but I couldn’t get the outer rolled edge to seal properly. I tried twice, and both times, frangipane leaked out of everywhere! Yikes!
    It tasted great, but it was a real mess in the oven.

  51. Magic of Spice March 29, 2011 at 19:42 #

    Sorry your coffee cake did not turn out but I will take that bread pudding over cake any day…wonderful save 🙂

  52. Marisa March 31, 2011 at 10:27 #

    What a great “save”! Bread puddings are awesome.

  53. Lea May 9, 2011 at 03:38 #

    It’s gerat, I love how well you can see the meringue!

  54. Colette from JFF! April 4, 2013 at 14:01 #

    I wouldn’t call it failed, but
    you’re a genius for turning it into bread pudding, Mardi!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.