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Feb 6, 2014

Tuscan Coffeecake

Tuscan coffeecake

This Tuscan coffeecake was developed by PJ Hamel (of King Arthur Flour fame) after visiting an Italian bakery in Vermont. As she describes it, it was "Italian-Italian, not American-Italian."

While this is called a coffeecake, it is actually a yeasted bread filled with fruit, nuts, and lightly enriched with a bit of sugar and butter.. but not too much. It is brushed with a vanilla sugar mixture prior to baking to give it a nice crunchy glaze. It's reminiscent of panettone, without all of the fuss.

Tuscan coffeecake

Only issue? How to evenly distribute the fruit throughout the loaf when shaping. I'll have to work on that.

Knowing that certain members of my family who shall remain nameless would probably not like the walnuts included in the original recipe, I substituted chopped dried apricots. I also substituted dried cherries for the dates called for in the original recipe. In addition, I added 1/8 tsp of Fiori de Sicilia, an Italian flavoring that combines the flavors and scents of vanilla and citrus.

Keep in mind that you will need to make the starter the night before making the bread. It can sit out on your counter for several hours to get bubbly and develop flavor. It's super easy so don't let the word "starter" stop you from trying this delicious bread.

This bread was chosen for the Avid Bakers Challenge for February. Each month, we are baking a recipe from the King Arthur Flour website. To see how other bakers fared, check out the Avid Bakers Challenge page. You'll find lots of delicious looking variations.

Tuscan Coffee Cake



1 cup / 4.25 ounces King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or European-Style Flour (I used the European style)
1/2 cup cool water
1/16 teaspoon instant yeast

Final Dough

All of the starter
2/3 cup water
2 3/4 cups / 11.7 ounces King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or European-Style Flour
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 large egg
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/8 tsp Fiori de Sicilia, optional

Add Ins

1 cup dried apricots, chopped
3/4 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup dried cherries, soaked in hot water and then drained


2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon water


  1. Mix the starter ingredients in a one quart bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to sit overnight, until bubbly.
  2. Mix all of the dough ingredients in a stand mixer or bread machine until smooth, about 7 minutes. 
  3. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for about an hour (if your kitchen is really cold, you should let it rise longer). If it doesn't completely double, that's okay. 
  4. Knead the fruit into the dough, and shape it into a ball. Place the ball into an oiled 9 inch cake pan and flatten it a bit, cover with plastic wrap, and allow it to rise for about 30 minutes. It should just crest over the top of the pan (the loaf will rise even more in the oven). 
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. Mix the glaze ingredients and brush the top of the loaf with the mixture. 
  7. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is golden and the interior of the loaf reaches 190 degrees F. 
  8. Allow it to cool in the pan for five minutes. Remove it from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. 
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Would you like to comment?

  1. Very nice. I ordered some Fiori di Silicia ( though not from Tuscany 😁 ) for the next time. I think out will go great with this bread ...

    1. It did go well. I got mine from King Arthur flour.

  2. Very pretty! I bet this tastes great toasted! I'm thinking I would like the apricots better than the walnuts too - or maybe both.

    1. I think both would be great! The apricots were wonderful. We had this bread as breakfast toast for days!

  3. Beautiful loaf Karen! I love how colorful that inside shot is :) I left out the nuts too.

  4. Lovely loaf. It must have been delicious with the added Fiori di Sicilia.

  5. Bookmarking the recipe right now, yours turned out beautifully!

  6. a cake for coffee lovers and that I am - i will be trying it at home tomorrow , thanks for sharing ...

  7. Could this be made with sourdough starter discard (plus a little yeast) instead of the yeast starter?

    1. Yes, that would work as it's the same hydration. Great idea.


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