Peach & Pecan Streusel Coffee cake is made with a yeast dough enriched with butter, milk and eggs. The tender cake is layered with a brown sugar pecan streusel and chunks of fresh peach. The brown sugar crumb topping and peach glaze are the crowning glory of this luscious breakfast (or dessert) treat.
Ok, let’s get right to it. It took just two tries to get this recipe right. But the first try was a truly spectacular failure. I’m really sorry that I didn’t get any photos. It was so bad it was funny.
I decided to make a coffee cake with some of the fresh peaches from our farm share. I wanted to make a yeast-risen coffee cake with a rich and bread-y cake component that would stand up to the juicy peaches.
The problem was getting those super juicy peaches into the cake without having them turn into mush, or turn the cake into mush.
The first step was to macerate the peaches so they would hold their shape while baking. Even better, macerating also removes excess moisture from the peaches so they don’t saturate the dough. But don’t waste that delicious juice, save it to make a glaze for the top of the cake.
Why was that first cake such a disaster? First of all, I made waaaay too much dough. I rolled the dough to a big rectangle, brushed it with egg wash, sprinkled on the streusel filling and then the peach chunks on top of the streusel. I rolled the dough into a log, then formed the log into a ring. I placed the dough into a buttered cake pan.
Since it was late, I put the cake in the fridge to rise overnight. By the morning it had completely filled the 9″ round spring form pan. I baked it anyway. It continued to rise in the oven and mushroomed way over the top of the pan. Did you ever see that episode of I Love Lucy where she opens the oven and the bread shoots across the room? It was kind of like that.
Because it was so big, by the time the middle was baked the outside was totally burnt. Again, reaaaaly sorry I didn’t get of photo. It was, literally, a hot mess.
I cut it open anyway to see what it looked like inside. The bread part actually had a very nice texture and flavor. But the streusel absorbed all the moisture from the peaches and the filling was just mushy and muddled with no distinct bits of peach or streusel.
Ok, round two. I kept the recipe for the dough exactly as it was, just divided everything in half so the cake would be a manageable size.
I wanted to have two distinct fillings, a ribbon of streusel and a layer of peach chunks. I remembered a technique I had created for my Apricot & Pistachio Buns and it worked perfectly for this coffee cake too.
By layering the fillings into the dough separately I got my two distinct fillings; a crunchy pecan streusel and a nice layer of peach chunks.
The hardest part about putting together this Peach & Pecan Streusel Coffee Cake is just getting it from the work surface into the pan. I’ll be honest, because of the slippery peaches it was a bit of a challenge to roll the log and form the ring. But once the cake was in the pan I pinched the ends together and hoped for the best. I truly expected the cake to fall apart in the oven.
But it didn’t! The dough was able to hold in the fillings, and anything that leaked out into the pan was fine.
- 1/2 cup (4 oz, 120 ml) whole milk, warmed to 120F
- 1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
- 1/4 cup (2 oz, 56g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 2 cups (10 oz, 280g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 stick (2 oz, 56g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 ripe peaches
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup (2.5 oz, 70 grams) brown sugar
- 1/3 cup (2.5 oz, 70 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (4 oz, 115 grams) Pecans
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup (2.5 oz, 70g) all purpose flour
- 1/2 stick (2 oz, 55g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- Butter for pan prep
- 1 egg, whisked
- 1 cup (4 oz, 112g) confectioner's sugar
- reserved peach juice
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon, combine the milk, yeast, sugar, salt, vanilla, cinnamon, egg and 1 cup of the flour. Mix until it forms a thick batter.
- If working on a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook. With the mixer running, add the remaining flour until the dough gathers on the hook and clears the sides of the bowl. If working by hand mix as much flour as you can with the spoon, then finish kneading in the rest of the flour by hand.
- With the mixer running, toss in the butter, a tablespoon at a time. If working by hand knead the butter into the dough. The dough will break apart. Knead until it comes back together then knead for 5 minutes. If the dough is very sticky add a little more flour.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead to a smooth ball. The dough should be soft and silky.
- Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat the dough. Cover the bowl and set it aside to let it rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Prepare the filling
- Peel the peaches and chop into 1/2" cubes. You should have about 2 cups of chopped peaches. Toss the peaches with 1 tablespoon of sugar and a pinch of salt. Set aside for at least 1 hour, or until the dough is ready.
- To make the streusel, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, pecans, cinnamon and pinch of salt in a food processor. Process until the nuts are chopped coarsely but not ground to a powder. Remove 2/3 cup for filling and set it aside.
- Add the flour and butter to the remaining streusel and process until it forms clumps. Set it aside
- Generously butter a 10 spring form or https://amzn.to/2o2KSV3.
- Drain the peaches, saving the peach juice for later. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
- Roll the dough to a 12"x 16"rectangle. Brush the surface of the dough with egg wash. Sprinkle the peach chunks over upper 1/2 of the rectangle. Fold the lower half of the dough over the upper 1/2 to cover the peaches. Use a fork to puncture any large air bubbles that form. Brush the dough with egg wash then sprinkle with the pecan streusel.
- Roll the dough into a log, pinch the seam to seal.
- Bring the two ends of the log together to form a ring. Pinch the ends together.
- Transfer the dough to the prepared baking pan. Brush the surface of the cake with egg wash. Cover the pan and set aside to rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. (See notes for overnight rise).
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Grab large chunks of the crumb topping break them into smaller chunks over the surface of the cake.
- Bake until the cake is well risen and golden brown, about 30 minutes. You can use a probe thermometer to check the internal temperature. It should be about 190°F.
- Cool the cake for 20 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Combine the confectioner's sugar with enough of the reserved peach juice to form a icing with the texture of pancake batter. Drizzle the glaze over the cake and allow it to set.
To work ahead, place the cake in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, take the cake out of the refrigerator and let it warm up while the oven preheats. The cake will probably rise in the refrigerator overnight, but you can let it finish rising if it is still not fully proofed. Once the oven is preheated, proceed with the recipe as written.
The cake is best the day it is baked but will keep at room temperature for 1-2 days.
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