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Penuche Coffeecake Recipe


Sometimes life is about breaking the rules. Like, who says penuche is only for German Chocolate Cake?

For new readers, I worked in one of the Seattle area’s most popular bakeries back in the eighties & nineties. It is where my love of all things small business, all things sugar, all things Scandinavian, and all things yeast started.

At Scandia Bakery, there were penuche danish and penuche coffeecakes coming out of the ferris-wheel oven daily. So I must share with you my remix (cue auto tune music) of this beloved sweet and golden uprising – the penuche coffeecake. Everybody got time for dat.

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Pastry Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110F or cooler)
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/3 cup of instant mashed potatoes stirred together with 1/3 cup of warm water
  • 3/4 cups warm milk (110F or cooler)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • About 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Place yeast and warm water into a large bowl. Give a little swirl and let sit for about 10 minutes to become foamy.

After foaminess has developed, whisk in sugar, instant mashed potatoes (premixed mixed with water as listed above), milk, eggs & shortening. Mix until well combined and shortening is about the size of peas. Finally, stir in salt.

Continue mixing with a wooden spoon and add a cup of flour.

Slowly continue adding about a cup of flour at a time. When you can no longer stir the dough easily with a spoon, begin kneading in the remaining flour. You can keep it in the bowl while doing this or on the counter – whichever you find easiest for you.  Knead by hand for about 5 minutes or until dough is somewhat elastic.

Cover with a clean warm, damp towel and let dough sit in a warm place for about an hour or until dough has doubled in size. This can sometimes take longer in the winter because of the weather so be sure to place dough in a warm place.

This is a great time to make filling (recipe below) and then set aside to use at the right time.

Turn happily risen dough onto flour-covered countertop. Coat dough with a little bit of flour so it’s easier to work with and punch down.

Prepare baking pan. Spray with non-stick baking spray or coat with butter. You can use a large circle cake pan like I do (about 12-inch), or any pan you have that will fit comparably like a 9X13. You’ll need room for dough to rise one last time and the filling. The coffeecake will also expand while baking. Place dough into pan. Press dough to fit pan bottom and side. Allow to rise for another hour (or until about double in size again).

Preheat oven to 350F. Press dough down in the middle of pan. Pour filling into dough. Top with streusel (recipe below). Bake with a sheet pan underneath to catch drips (just in case).

Bake for 35-45 minutes. When bottom pastry dough is cooked (edges should be golden brown), coffeecake is done baking. Allow to cool to room temp so that coffeecake will be easier to remove from round pan and your coffeecake will look glorious upon a round platter. If using a 9X13, you can just serve in the pan. Drizzle with frosting (you guessed it, recipe below).

Penuche Filling Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cups pecans, lightly toasted
  • 7 ounces shredded sweetened coconut

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add heavy cream, egg yolks, sugars, vanilla. & salt. Whisk well. Cook over medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes or until thickened. Watch closely. Stir in pecans and coconut. Allow to cool to room temperature and then save in refrigerator until cake is ready.

Streusel Ingredients

  • 1 stick of butter cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 cup of flour
  • 2/3 cup of powdered sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 1 egg
Place streusel ingredients into food processor and press pulse until combined but still crumbly (about the size of peas). Sprinkle onto pastry. If you have extra, this can be frozen for another day. It’s handy for bakers to have on hand.
Frosting Ingredients
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water

Stir together until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.

Step aside, German Chocolate Cake. I love you; but, Penuche Coffeecake in the hero of this sweet rebellion.

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© Deanna Morauski 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
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