As the new year starts and an old one closes, I started thinking about intentions and goals for the upcoming 2015. Although I hesitate to use the word ‘resolution’, since it comes with somewhat of a ‘Oh that’s going out the door in 2 weeks’, I do think about what I would want to improve upon or concentrate on for the upcoming year. One of my goals is being more present and in the moment, which might sound cliche, but since getting a smartphone last year (yes, just got one last year!), it becomes all too easy to not stay on one task or thought for too long. I’ve found that multi-tasking sometimes doesn’t do me any favors (burning dinner/half-cleaning the house/half-paying attention to a conversation, all at once) and taking a task a little slower and enjoying the process of this vegan swedish tea log can make all the difference.
Along those same lines of taking things slow, this coffee cake is a perfect example for my new concentration in the new year. I’ve tried my hand at making this cake a few times over the past year or so, cutting out a step or two here and there and making it as simple as possible with all kinds of substitutions, but it never seemed to turn out just right. The last time I made it this past week, I resolved to single tasking the heck out of this cake. No TV shows or music playing in the background, no talking on the phone or trying to also somehow clean the house at the same time, just me and this sweet coffee cake recipe. You know what? It worked! I made the smallest of substitutions to vegan-ize the recipe, let is rise properly (twice!), and stayed close by in the kitchen as it baked. I found that actually slowing down to enjoy the process and the progression of the recipe made me appreciate the creation more, rather than becoming another box I needed to tick off of my to-do list and complete ASAP. Plus, the extra rise time of the dough does wonders for the fluffiness of the cake.
This beloved coffee cake recipe comes from my grandmother, who baked plenty to share over the holiday season and always guaranteed that we had one to dig into on Christmas morning. While I didn’t serve this until New Year’s Day, as soon as I pulled it out of the oven and poured the powdered sugar glaze over the top, I knew I had finally gotten the recipe just right. I’m actually not entirely sure of how authentically Swedish it is, since it’s basically a variation on cinnamon rolls, but in our family it was always known as the Swedish Tea Log, complete with a maraschino cherry and green sugar garnish. Here’s to hoping 2015 goes by a little slower, with a few less distractions and a few more slices of coffee cake!
Swedish Tea Log Coffee Cake
- 1 packet rapid rise yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water not too hot, don't murder your yeast!
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1/2 cup coconut oil melted
- 1/4 cup almond milk or other non-dairy milk
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- For the filling:
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil solid at room temperature and broken into small pieces
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- For the glaze:
- 3-4 tablespoons almond milk or any non-dairy milk
- 2 cups powdered sugar confectioner's sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract optional
In a small bowl, dissolve the packet of yeast in the 1/4 cup warm water and set aside for at least 5 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, 3 tablespoons sugar and salt. Slowly whisk in the melted coconut oil. Continue stirring and add in the 1/4 cup almond milk, baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and yeast mixture. Knead the dough a little bit in the bowl until it comes together. Lightly grease a large bowl and set the dough aside in it to rise for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Lightly grease and set aside a pie plate or cake pan. After dough has risen, roll it out into a long rectangle, about 16 inches by 8 inches, roughly. Sprinkle the rolled out dough with cinnamon, sugar, and the solid coconut oil pieces. Roll the dough up lengthwise, away from you, so as to create a large log. Place the log into the previously greased pan, coiling it around in the pan. Set aside and let rise for an additional 2 hours, at least.
When ready to bake the cake (you can freeze it after the second rise or bake right away), preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and bake for 20-25 minutes. While the log is baking, whisk together the almond milk, powdered sugar, and vanilla to make the glaze. After removing the coffee cake from the oven, immediately pour the icing over the cake and serve.