The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Reproducing Sara Lee Coffee Cake

Lively's picture

Reproducing Sara Lee Coffee Cake

For the past 2 years or so I've been trying to replicate the Sara Lee Coffee Cake - the pecan one... mmmm. They've changed the recipe since I was a kid so I'm replicating from memory. I'm very very close. 

The biggest challenge has been that the old version of Sara Lee was more characteristically bread than cake; the crust was bread like the crumb more cake like. I believe I have that part figured out, but there is a key flavor missing. It's the yeast. My crumb and crust are exactly as I want it, but I need a slightly more yeasty flavor and I am not talking about the mature flavor of well risen bread, but that young slightly under cooked bread kind of flavor. 

I'm using 2 tsp of standard yeast (not instant), I hesitate to use more since the texture is perfect... any suggestions?

clazar123's picture

I believe the elusive flavor you are looking for can only be gotten by using a preferment. I make a preferment for some of my recipes by taking 1 c flour and 1 c water (I have used milk, also) and mixing these in a covered plastic container that has some room for rise. Add a pinch of yeast (I use a natural levain but instant yeast works fine for this) and let sit on the counter for 4-12 hours. If it is close to 80 or warmer in the kitchen you can make this and place it in the refrigerator overnight,also. You are not using this to leaven the bread but as a flavorant so add the usual amount of yeast. 

You can use your current recipe. Just take a small amount of the premeasured flour and liquid from the recipe  to make the preferment. That way you are not having to reinvent the recipe. 

Sounds delicious and I hope you will share your results.

Lively's picture

I shall try that... thank you!

And yes, I will share the recipe! The dough is close enough that's it's time to figure out how to do the actual coffee cake - I've been making it as a loaf of bread to my children's delight. :) I made one today and the filling leaked... brown sugar, butter and cinnamon. It was toffee bread ;) I spooned it on top and let it harden on the crust - it was interesting lol


prncplman's picture

Did the Sara Lee coffeecake recipe by Lively ever get published?