The Fresh Loaf

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Braided espresso cinnamon buns, small apple walnut cake, and other things

Kistida's picture

Braided espresso cinnamon buns, small apple walnut cake, and other things

Hello everyone,

Last week, I wanted to bake a few things but I never got to stay home long enough to entertain the mixing bowl or spatula! I believe I was beginning to feel a baking withdrawal* even.

Just before our trip, I made that swirly bake above. The idea for this bread came from the previous babka bake and morning buns by Jack Sturgess (BakewithJack). The dough is laminated with softened butter, espresso & cinnamon sugar in 3 x letterfold. Then, the rounded edges were removed (these were rolled into buns), the strips with exposed edges were then braided (simple 3-strand braid) and placed in mini loaf pans. The other strips were rolled and baked in a muffin pan. Baked at 180°C 18 to 20 minutes until they're fluffy, golden. Usually, there are oodles more sugar in the layers but only a small amount is used in these lil braids/rolls.

Espresso cinnamon morning buns/mini loaves
20g all purpose flour
100g milk

All of the Tangzhong
95g soured milk
10g sugar
20g liquid malt
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
200g all purpose flour
120g Kamut flour
6g salt
5g instant yeast
50g unsalted butter
10g light olive oil

Filling / Lamination
20g unsalted butter, melted
80g light brown sugar, packed
15g all purpose flour
4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp espresso powder - 1 tsp
A pinch of salt
50g unsalted butter, softened mixed with 2g all purpose flour

Egg wash before baking and simple syrup after baking

The next bake before our trip was a variation of the braided loaf. Braided like a 4-strand braid (1-2-2-1).

Braided Atta, Kamut and AP loaf with soured milk

20g all purpose flour
100g milk

All of the Tangzhong
115g soured milk
80g starter (100% hydration)
1 large egg
30g sugar
2g instant yeast
7g salt
160g all purpose flour
70g atta flour
140g Kamut flour
30g unsalted butter
20g light olive oil

There are Paula Red apples everywhere I go now, I thought I'll try making a 6" bread/cake out of it. A small cake is always a favorite! This one is filled with bread crumbs, apple pieces, cold butter in the batter. Of course, soft butter or just oil for a softer cake would do too.

6" Apple walnut bread/cake
Wet ingredients
40g plain yogurt or milk
10g light olive oil
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg

Dry ingredients
50g bread crumbs (from my braided loaf)
35g all-purpose flour
5g cornflour
50g sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
A pinch of allspice (or nutmeg / ginger)
50g unsalted butter, cubed, cold
20g toasted walnuts, chopped
100g apple (I used about 1 Paula Red)
Optional: simple syrup to brush sides of cake

Cinnamon, walnuts & oats topping
15g all purpose flour
15g rolled oats
15g chopped walnuts
20g brown sugar
A pinch of cinnamon
20g unsalted butter, cold cubed

Optional: simple syrup to brush sides of cake, icing sugar for the top of the cake

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease and line a 6” round pan (at least 2” tall) with parchment paper with a 2” wide as overhang on 2 sides. Gently sprinkle and tap sides of the pan with bread crumbs.

Make the topping/streusel: combine the flour, oats, walnuts, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Rub or cut in the cold butter until fully incorporated and the mixture achieves the texture of coarse breadcrumbs. Chill the mixture while preparing the batter.

Make the batter: In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and allspice. Rub or cut cold butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or fingertips until the butter is in small pieces. Chill this mixture while preparing the apples and wet ingredients.

Slice cored apple smaller pieces of about 5mm/0.2 inch width. No need to peel as the skin color fades as the cake bakes (apple skin is good!). Add apple pieces and chopped walnuts into the cold flour mixture. Gently toss to coat the apples all over.

In a small bowl or measuring jug, add egg, oil, vanilla extract and yogurt/milk. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold until no flour streaks remain. Transfer the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth out evenly.

Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the top of the batter.

Bake the cake for 40 – 45 minutes, until the top of the cake is golden brown, and a toothpick comes out mostly clean or with a few crumb bits.

Tent the cake if it browns too quickly. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes before lifting it out with the overhang to cool completely on a rack.

Optional step: brush the sides of the warm cake with a simple syrup.

Once cooled, sprinkle icing sugar over the top of the cake.

<takes several deep breaths>

Ok, I read this post:

and I set out to make everything from scratch. Crazy? Yes. Worth it? Yes and NO! So many steps and the ingredients (the cream yum, ladyfingers soaked in espresso also yum!) were eaten before assembling the cake. The egg whites and yolks were also "pasteurized" before mixing the cream. There is a LOT of fat in this dessert. I've to figure out a less-fat version some day!

Tiramisu with homemade mascarpone and ladyfingers

1. Mascarpone
(Adapted from

450g whole / heavy cream (35% MF)
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained

In a saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat to 82-88°C/180-190°F with constant stirring. Lower heat to a simmer gently for 3 minutes, with gentle stirring as the cream begins to thicken.

Stir in the lemon juice and allow it to continue simmering at 82-88°C/180-190°F for another 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and transfer the mixture to a glass container, cover and let it cool to room temperature (about 2 to 3 hours).

Meanwhile, place a strainer over a deep bowl and line it with 2 - 3 layers of cheesecloth. Gently, pour cooled mixture through the strainer and cheesecloth. Cover by flipping the edges of the cheesecloth over and then cover loosely with plastic. Leave it to strain overnight (at least 8 hours) in the refrigerator.

The next day, transfer the mascarpone out into a container and it's ready for use. Be sure to keep the mascarpone covered and refrigerated until ready to use. And, use the strained liquid / whey in the bowl, drink it, use it in a smoothie etc, it's good stuff!

2. Ladyfingers
(Adapted from

Egg whites mixture
3 egg whites
40g sugar
1 tsp lemon juice

Egg yolk mixture
3 egg yolks
30g sugar
a pinch of salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 1/2 lemon

Dry ingredients
75g all purpose flour
20g cornstarch
Icing/confectioner's sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
Cut 2 pieces of parchment paper to fit 2 cookie sheets. With ruler and pencil, draw 2 long parallel lines 8cm (3 inches) apart. If there’s room on the parchment paper, make another set of lines, 3cm (about 1.5 inch) from the first set. These lines will make it easier to pipe equal sized cookies. Place the papers penciled-side down onto the baking sheets and set aside.

Prepare a pastry bag fitted with 1.5 cm (1/2 inch) tip.

In a mixing bowl, whisk egg whites with lemon juice until it begins to turn very pale. Add in sugar in 2 parts and whisk until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

In medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar, lemon zest, vanilla extract, lemon juice and salt until thick and light yellow.

Gently fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Fold with a spatula until evenly combined.

Sift in dry ingredients (all purpose flour, corn starch and baking powder) and gently fold it in until smooth and well combined. Then, fold in the rest of the stiff egg whites.

Transfer half of the batter to the prepared piping bag. Pipe the batter at a 45° angle into lines about 8cm (3 inches) long and 2cm (1 inch) wide, keeping within the drawn lines.

Keep each piped cookie about 5cm (2 inches) apart from each other.

Sift icing sugar over the cookies lightly. Let them rest for about 3 minutes. Then, sprinkle again with icing sugar.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 10 - 11 minutes until the cookies are puffed, firm and golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow the ladyfingers to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before gently releasing them from the parchment paper, with a flat spatula onto a cooling rack.

3. Espresso Soak
1/2 cup espresso shots (about 5 - 6 shots)
20g sugar (or to taste)
2 tbsp Kahlua

4. Mascarpone cream
(Easy method to pasteurize eggs:

Mascarpone - prepared above (did not weigh this)
100g whole cream
80g sugar, divided
3 large eggs, separated
a pinch of salt
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp rum / Marsala wine / Frangelico
4 tbsp water, divided

A lil bit of heated sugar syrup is used to warm both egg whites and yolks separately to "pasteurize" them.

Egg yolks: Whisk egg yolks with 10g sugar. In a small saucepan, prepare sugar syrup with 30g sugar and 2 tbsp water. Heat until all the sugar has dissolved and the syrups reaches 121°C/250°F. Remove from heat and pour it over the egg yolk mixture, mixing on low. Then, add rum (or chosen liqueur) and continue mixing on medium-high until the mixture thickens, about 8 to 12 minutes. Set aside.

Egg whites: Whisk the egg whites with lemon juice and salt until they achieve stiff peaks. In a small saucepan, heat 40g sugar with 2 tbsp water until all the sugar has dissolved and the mixture reaches 121°C/250°F before removing it from the heat. While whisking gently, pour the hot syrup in a steady, stream into the egg whites being careful not to deflate the egg whites. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk cream and mascarpone until smooth. Gently, fold in the egg yolk mixture in 2 parts, folding until combined after each addition. Then, fold in the stiff egg whites in 2 parts, just as before. Transfer the cream to a piping bag.

Assemble the cake
Pipe a layer of cream on the base of a 8 x 8" or 9x5" pan. Even out the surface with an offset spatula.

Soak ladyfinger cookies in the espresso soak for about 30 - 45 seconds, turning halfway - or just enough that the cookies aren't dripping coffee. Gently press each soaked cookie on the layer of cream.

Pipe another layer of cream and even out its surface. Place a second layer of soaked ladyfinger cookies.

Top with a layer of cream and even out the surface again or pipe patterns over the top before dusting with cocoa powder.

Chill the assembled cake for at least 6 hours before slicing into it.

Finally, I'm convinced now that I can only make puffy Barbari bread! I can't quite grasp the science behind making the ridges on the bread...

Made these today and they're all pufffyyy. 2 of them were turned into cheese-onion-parsley-stuffed fougasses.

Ok, enough for now :)

- Christi

*There was a post on this condition, it's called BBWS: (ha!)


Benito's picture

Christi, I really need to be your next door neighbour, but I'm not sure what I'd be able to trade you for your awesome bakes!!


Kistida's picture

or I'd be loafing nearby trying to get your baked goodies! And isn't it just mindbogglingly amazing how huge Ontario really is?

- Christi

happycat's picture

I made a tiramisu recently for wife's birthday, I made ladyfingers but not the mascarpone... though I briefly considered it. Well done! I managed to find half priced mascarpone so I chickened out if making it.

My recipe used layers of unsweetened chocolate shavings over each mascarpone layer, and a whipped cream layer on top.

I managed to get in 3 layers and I was amazed how light and fluffy it was to eat. Like eating a cloud.

My solution to the high fat.. I cut it up and froze the pieces. We have some on weekends.. just set slices out to defrost and by the end of dinner they are ready and just as tasty. I do it with all my breads and desserts to spread out consumption over weeks.  :)

Kistida's picture

I remember my husband and I used to visit the fridge regularly whenever there's cake or any dessert in there. These days I small-batch any recipe, if I can. I shall freeze and hide some goodies in the future! :D

- Christi