Honey Lemon Olive Oil Whole-Wheat Red Wine Italian Meringue Coffee Cake with Dark Chocolate and Toasted Hazelnuts: A Daring Baker’s Challenge

by Irvin on March 27, 2011 · 23 comments

Pin It

yeasted coffee cake

“So what is that?” AJ asked as he stumbled out of the bedroom still sleepy from his mid-afternoon nap. He looked suspiciously at my unbaked creation. “It’s a coffee cake. Specifically it’s a yeasted honey lemon olive oil whole wheat red wine meringue coffee cake with dark chocolate and toasted hazelnuts for the Daring Bakers’ Challenge.” Was my very detailed response. AJ’s only response was “Whoa.” I think that sums it up. 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.

As always, I told myself right after reading about this challenge that I would make it WAY in advance. And as always, I ended up making it…the day before the Challenge was due. You’d think I would either get my butt in gear and make it beforehand, or just accept the fact that I am one of those people who just does things at the last minute. In truth I’ve always been a procrastinator, though recently I learned that I am not necessarily a procrastinator so much as one that “actively waits”. I like that term so much better.

This month’s challenge found me “actively waiting” until the day before the challenge and then trying to figure out what I wanted to do with it. In truth, I’ve made yeasted rolled coffee cakes before, though not with a meringue inside, and I wanted to do something a little bit different (don’t I always want to do something a little bit different?).

yeasted coffee cake

And of course, AJ’s response of “whoa” was probably accurate. As always, I kept on adding more and more flavors to this coffee cake, until I realized that I had to stop and pull back. Yes folks, this final recipe is “pulled back”. Trust me, I was going to add three or four additional things to the mix, but I had to hold back. Yeah, this is me holding back. Are you scared?

This coffee cake has plenty going on. Way more than your usual coffee cake. I’ve been playing more and more with adding touches of savory notes to my sweets so don’t be surprised when you read the ingredient list and think “What the heck was Irvin thinking?” Because in the end, they all play well together.

I started with trying to adjust the meringue. A straight meringue is sweet but without a lot of subtle notes. I know I wanted to use chocolate and hazelnut in the filling so I landed on making a red wine Italian meringue which adds a nice depth to the chocolate and hazelnuts. It’s sweeter than the original meringue in the challenge, so I left out the additional sugar that it called for in the filling. I also added a few grinds of mixed peppercorn (black, white, pink) on top of the toasted hazelnut and dark chocolate, for a tiny subtle heat and savory note.

Yeasted Coffee Cake

For a counterpoint to the sweetness, I used honey, olive oil and lemon zest in the pastry dough, and added a touch of white whole wheat (an albino varietal of whole wheat that is less bitter than actual whole wheat) as well as a tablespoon of flax meal to punch up the nuttiness. The flax meal acts as a faux gluten, which the whole wheat has less of than regular white flour. Also, now I can say the coffee cake is healthy for me. I mean it’s positively full of great stuff, what with the olive oil, flax meal, whole wheat, dark chocolate and red wine.

AJ’s response of “Whoa” was probably a better description of the coffee cake than anything I could tell you. I mean I could go on about how the wine cuts the sweetness and adds a nice undertone of sophistication without making a big show of being there. I could say the dark chocolate and the hazelnuts play off of each other really well, or the lemon and the honey and olive oil all add a little bit to each other, without any one of them coming to the forefront and dominating. I could the mile long ingredient list really does add up to something way more than just what you would expect. But really the best description for the cake is just “Whoa.”

Now excuse me, I’m going to go eat a slice now.

This post was submitted to Yeastspotting, a fab website for all things bread and yeast related!

Pin It

Connect with Irvin via Social Media

You can connect with Irvin on a more direct level via his twitter page, his facebook fan page or his page. Just be forewarned that he tweets a heck of a lot.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosa March 27, 2011 at 5:09 am

It looks fabulous! Well done again.

I love that red wine meringue. So original.




kimberly March 27, 2011 at 7:38 am

Seriously, I have no words for this.
Have you always been such an over-achiever…?
Looks delish!


Lisa Mary March 27, 2011 at 9:04 am

Un-be-lieve-able. I would like to try just one bite, to get a sense of how this tastes! ‘Yum’ springs to mind …


sandie March 27, 2011 at 11:10 am

Well, the title is certainly a mouthful! The red wine meringue sounds fantastic. It looks like you had fun with this. Great job. Best, Sandie


Ashlae March 27, 2011 at 11:37 am

Your yeasted cake looks divine. And what a sweet twist on the meringue – one of my favorite treats is a glass of wine and chocolate, so I can only imagine your version of the challenge tastes delicious.


Cathy/ShowFoodChef March 27, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Love this. Also love the term “actively waiting”. I have to remind myself that “planning” IS part of it and the execution is just the final step. I also like the term “master of justifications” 😀
Beautiful job on this and your adaptations sound really flavorful.
This one is the first one that I actually made 2 days before the final day and called it “early” for me.


Audax Artifex March 27, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Ohmmm what an incredible array of tasty sensations this cake would evoke. The red wine meringue sounds so unique, the ingredient listing is so intriguing and the counterpoints of sweet and sour would be delectable superb ideas on this cake. Bravo bravo bravo to you well done.

Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.


chef_d March 27, 2011 at 7:40 pm

Wow, that’s a mouthful! I can just imagine how that must have tasted, yum! And it looks gorgeous too! Great job on this challenge, I love the plate 🙂


Brian @ A Thought For Food March 27, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Of the recipes I’ve seen… this has to be the most creative. Love all of these flavors… and from the pictures it looks like you nailed it!


Stacie Tamaki March 28, 2011 at 8:51 am

LOL at least you made yours the day before. I actually waited until the 27th to make mine. All of that rising and proofing kept putting me off until I ran out of time.

Your flavors sound AMAZING!

And great tip about the flax seed for flavor. I’d never heard that before so thanks for sharing 🙂


Jessica March 28, 2011 at 2:18 pm

This sounds incredible… and intense! The photos are stunning as well!


Pat March 28, 2011 at 2:37 pm

AJ says, “Whoa!” I say, “More, please!” Sounds fabulous. Read another blogger’s post on the recipe and yours is much more appealing. Great visuals, too — the surface of the cake is a fine color.


Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen March 28, 2011 at 8:39 pm

I agree, Whoa is the first word that came to mind when I read that title! I don’t think that there’s a better sentiment to describe this awe inducing combination of flavors.


Helene March 29, 2011 at 6:23 am

Wow! Just wow! That looks insanely good! It’s been ages since I deliberately took the time to make yeasted anything but this might just be the thing to do at some point next weekend! Love love love the fact that you used lemon, olive oil and chocolate together. I grew up on these flavor combinations in Provence and can’t wait to try them all together!


Jamie March 29, 2011 at 8:28 am

Simply gorgeous and truly inspiring! The cake is beautiful and the flavors intriguing. I must check out that red wine meringue! Whoa is indeed right! Wow! I so love what you did with this recipe!


Vicki @ WITK March 29, 2011 at 11:50 am

I love the flavors you used in your coffee cake and I’m in love with the pink meringue! Nice work on this months challenge!


Patri March 29, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Let me say Woa too!! My goodness, what a lovely color for the filling, what nice flavor construction (I wonder what you had in mind when you said you had to hold back in ingredients 🙂 ) and what a lovely cake it turned out!
Nice work!


kellypea March 31, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Whoa is right? What a cool idea to use the red wine in the meringue. The color is amazing! With the chocolate, I’d say perfectly decadent. Dying to sample the combo. 🙂


Terra April 2, 2011 at 5:42 pm

I love the idea of incorporating red wine in the recipe. Such a beautiful addition! This recipe was so fun to make, your coffee cake turned out so beautifully!!!
Take care,


Kristy April 4, 2011 at 1:57 am

Seriously.. is it any surprise I’m wiping saliva off my keyboard?
Geeez.. Irvin, you really did wonders with this recipe!

“Whoa” is correct. It couldn’t have summed it up better than that.


Caramelised April 7, 2011 at 1:00 am

oh it looks absolutely delicious! and thanks so much for showing how to roll the coffe cake!


Lea April 13, 2011 at 11:03 am

This looks fantastic! I was also using whole wheat flour, but I have never heard of “white whole meat flour”?
I bet it tasted fabulous.
Can you please tell me that the flax meal is for?


Irvin April 13, 2011 at 11:36 am

Hi Lea

White whole wheat flour is a varietal of albino wheat. It’s milder in flavor than regular whole wheat and less bitter tasting. I liked to use it to add a slight whole wheat flavor without making it overpoweringly bitter, which regular whole can sometimes do. It has all the same nutritional goodness that whole has though, so that’s an added bonus.

The flax seed also adds a nuttiness to the dough. As an added effect it’s gets slightly viscous in liquid, and acts as a faux gluten. Whole wheat flour has less gluten in it than regular white flour. I could have added vital wheat gluten powder to the mix to compensate, but I thought flax meal would be a better addition in flavor.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: