Holiday Almanac December 14: Pull-Apart Coffee Cake Wreath

For more information on the Holiday Almanac, go hereOr to see what I've been up to on past Holiday Almanac days, check out this page.

There are few things in life I love more than breakfast food (cheese, wine, and Mexican food being among the exceptions, which is why my heaven is a plate of huevos divorciados with a mimosa on the side), so I was stoked to make this coffee cake, and it did not disappoint.

If you're thinking this is going to be similar to cinnamon rolls because of the appearance, think again. While it is a yeasted, stretchy dough with a butter and brown sugar filling, the dough is just barely sweetened and the entire filling takes only 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. Plus, the glaze that goes on it is just drizzled lightly over the top, so the top of each slice is slightly sweeter, but the entire thing isn't sopped in icing like a typical cinnamon roll (oh, and there's no cinnamon). I couldn't get my hands on candied fruit, so I used dried currants, but this would be amazing with dried cherries, or sultanas or raisins if that's more your thing. I've also been brainstorming a version with snipped dried apricots and a lavender drizzle because I just can't leave well enough alone. I had to back out a substitute for Bisquick since I can't get my hands on that over here in Scotland, but if anything, I think it made the whole thing taste even better, so I left the substitution listed below.


It’s only lightly sweetened so you won't have a sugar crash an hour after you eat it, and it would be just as tasty without the glaze, so you could lighten the sweetness even more by omitting it. It’s insanely easy to roll and shape and it rose like a charm, even in my freezing-cold Scottish kitchen. Best of all, though, it’s beautiful, festive, and cosy: perfect fare for this time of year!

The verdict:

5 spoons out of five. It's moist and delicious, decadent without leaving you feeling like you gained a kilo just from one slice, and it looks adorably Christmas-y this time of year!

The recipe:

Pull-Apart Coffee Cake Wreath

the directions:

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.
Mix in egg, sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, and oil.
Beat vigorously until dough comes together.
Turn dough onto flour-covered surface and knead until smooth, about 18-20 times.
Roll into a large rectangle (A3-sized or around 16”x9”).
Spread with soft butter and sprinkle with brown sugar.
Sprinkle dried fruit and walnuts evenly over the surface.
Roll up tightly, beginning at the wide end.
With the seam on the bottom, pinch ends of the roll together to form a ring.
Using kitchen scissors, cut ¾ of the way through the ring at 1” intervals, then carefully rotate each section 90 degrees so the spiral is facing upwards.
Let rise in warm place 1 hour, covered loosely with a towel.
Bake 15-20 minutes until light golden brown.
Set aside to cool completely.
Once cake is cooled, make the glaze by mixing together powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk until you have a thick but still runny glaze.
Drizzle over the cooled cake and serve.

the ingredients:

2 ¼ tsp yeast (if you're Stateside, this is one packet)
½ c warm water
1 egg
1 tbsp sugar
2 ½ c flour
3 ¾ tsp baking powder
1 ¼ tsp salt
6 ¼ tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/3 c dried fruit of your choice
½ c walnuts, chopped
1 c powdered sugar, sifted
¼ tsp vanilla
1-2 tbsp milk