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 thoughts on “Daring Bakers March: What to do with a failed yeasted coffee cake”

  1. 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.

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  2. 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 🙂

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  3. 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 🙂

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  4. 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.

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  5. 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!!

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  6. 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!

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  7. 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 😀

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  8. 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!!

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  9. 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!

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  10. 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.

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  11. 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!

    Jason

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  12. 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!

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  13. 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!!

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  14. 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!

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  15. 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.

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  16. 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!

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  17. 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

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  18. 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!

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

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  20. 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.

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  21. 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!

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      • 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.

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  22. 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!

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  23. 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.

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  24. 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.

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  25. 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!

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  26. 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!

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  27. 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!

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  28. 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!

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  29. 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 🙂

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  30. 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.

    Reply

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