Streusel Potato Coffee Cake – or IS it bread?? (BBB November 2011)

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BBB: Let's Get Baking summary: recipe for BBB Streusel Potato Coffee Cake (Kartoffel Kuchen); baking times aren’t always correct; information about Bread Baking Babes and YeastSpotting; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

I don’t know what has happened to me; I’m actually posting on time!!

Bread Baking Babes (BBB) November 2011

Streusel Potato Coffee Cake (BBB) Wait a minute!! Coffee cake isn’t bread!! Even though this particular one does have yeast in it.

Question: Are the BBBabes making a sudden change in direction? Will there be a BBBBoard meeting to vote on whether to change the name to AWYBB (Anything with Yeast Baking Babes)?

Being the obedient and dutiful BBB that I am, I questioned no more and began to wash potatoes.

Potato Coffee Cake Diary:

Monday 7 November 18:22 pm:

Look at me!! Being early for once! :-) Of course, don’t let this fool you. I WAS going to start yesterday and bake today….

Tuesday 8 November 06:12 am:

Yesterday, after we had cleaned the living room and dining room rugs, I spent a better part the afternoon fighting with a rented carpet cleaner trying to get the hose attachment to work. With close examinination, it became clear that whoever had used it recently had been cleaning their back garden with it – it was clogged with dirt. Of course, after detaching the hose and stomping towards the garage to take it back to the hardware store, the thing spewed a thin black line of filthy water all over the just cleaned WHITE rug. (Luckily, the hardware store had another clean carpet cleaner available and we were able to re-clean the white rug and do the stairs.)

At last I was able to get to the bread making that I had promised to do. Being the oh so clever and efficient person I am, I got out two bowls and two recipes to make sandwich bread AND the BBBBread.

Even though some of the other BBBabes had translated the BBB recipe measurements into grams, I decided to use cups and ounces as per the original recipe (not to mention that I use cups and spoons for our sandwich bread). I must say, though, that more and more, I’m preferring to weigh ingredients. There’s much less room for errors….

[M]ix together the potatoes, potato water & butter, yeast, sugar, eggs and 2 cups of flour. Beat until smooth. This is VERY liquid at this point. Cover the sponge with plastic and leave in a warm place until it’s bubbling happily.
-Tanna, November 2011 Kitchen BBBabe

I halved the recipe and carefully wrote “[M]ix together the potatoes, potato water & butter, yeast, sugar, eggs and 2 cups 1 c of flour.

Then as the potatoes were boiling, I happily mixed the sandwich bread dough together. As that dough was resting before being kneaded, I drained the potatoes, measured the potato water, added it to the butter to melt the butter, mashed the potatoes, added the sugar to the butter mixture, grated in the nutmeg (measure?? I was supposed to measure the nutmeg???), beat in the egg, added the mashed potatoes, checked the temperature to make sure it wasn’t too hot for the yeast (Oowwww Toooo Hot!!) and quickly switched gear to go and (oops!! good thing I noticed that I hadn’t added the salt yet – I always measure the salt into the lid for the proofing bowl) knead the salt into the sandwich bread. See how efficient I was? :lalala:

Of course, by this time, T came into the kitchen to make dinner. Normally, our kitchen is large enough for two people to work together easily but I had managed to spread myself out all over it and had taken up all the counter space. No problem. I efficiently (cough) moved things over to give him room to make his version of Gordon Ramsay’s sticky lemon chicken using lime instead of lemon (remind me to rave about that; it was brilliant!!) for dinner.

And I proceeded with the BBBBread. As I was stirring the flour into the nice warm butter/potato-water/sugar/egg mixture, I wondered why it wasn’t very liquid. No, not very liquid at all. It was quite dough-like, in fact.

Yes, it’s true; I ended up entirely skipping the VERY liquid sponge step and simply made the dough! (Errrrrrrrr. I MIGHT learn to read and retain one day….) I did notice on the read-through that I was only supposed to add some of the flour to the starter. But I promptly forgot and just dumped all the flour in. Kneading was a breeze. It wasn’t liquid at all. Not even remotely. Unlike Tanna, I didn’t have to add any extra flour. The dough was beautifully soft and silky – aside from the lumps of potato skin that I kept encountering.

OH oh. Was I supposed to peel the potato? I quickly checked the recipe:

1 pound russet or all purpose potato, peeled and cubed
-Tanna, November 2011 Kitchen BBBabe

Oh dear.

As I encountered them, I eased out the larger pieces of peel but decided that the smaller ones would merely add interest to the final product.

I covered the beautifully formed ball of dough and put it in the fridge overnight along with another bowl of rising sandwich bread dough. (Errrrrrm, not very much room in the fridge for two big bowls….)

Oops!! I just remembered that the butter for the streusel is supposed to be room temperature! I’d better go and remove it from the fridge. (See? I’m a model of efficiency.)

07:00 am: When I was getting the butter out of the fridge, I took a peek at the bowls of rising dough. Both have risen to the top and are looking beautiful!! (Hmmm, perhaps I should be getting them out of the fridge and shaping them, rather than sitting here at the keyboard?)

16:04 pm: I just took the coffee cakes out of the oven. 20 to 25 minutes to bake, eh? Try an hour. Or was it more?? Of course, it might have been because I had the oven turned to 375F because I was worried about burning. I also put them on the top shelf.

(We baked the sandwich bread a little earlier and it turned out beautifully. No photographic evidence though, you’ll just have to trust me.)

Oooops!! There was so much oven pop that the two BBB loaves collided with the top coil of the oven. I immediately lowered the shelf one notch and put the pans back into the oven.

But I guess I should back-track. At around noon, things went very well for shaping. I decided to make two cakes with the half recipe, putting the shaped boules into our small spring-form pan and one of the smallish quiche pans. And then I waffled about using a full recipe for the Streusel, finally decided to be cheese-paring and go with the half recipe.

We didn’t have any oat bran, so I substituted with oat groats ground finely in the coffee grinder. There might have been a bit of coffee there too. But this is coffee cake, so that should be okay, shouldn’t it?

As I was throwing in the cinnamon, I suddenly thought of adding a little ground pepper too. Why not? :-)

And then it came time to put the Streusel on the boules. Whoa!!! That’s a lot of Streusel!!! I somehow managed to get most of it to stay on….

I covered them and off we went on various errands before coming home in time to bake the cakes.

Streusel Potato Coffee Cake (BBB) They looked beautiful! And I had no reason to believe that the baking wouldn’t continue to go as smoothly as everything before.

Well! …I can’t remember how many times I checked the inner temperature after the allotted 20 minutes of baking were up. On the outside, the bread appeared to be done. Each time, as the withdrawn thermometer was completely covered in molten dough, there were countless “10 minutes more”, until finally finally, the thermometer came out cleanly and bread appeared to be done.

Streusel Potato Coffee Cake (BBB) I confess that I was very disappointed cranky that the cake/bread wasn’t done after 20 minutes and that one of the loaves collapsed entirely. The one in the quiche pan suffered the most because of being first to be stabbed with a thermometer after 20 minutes of baking when the two loaves weren’t even close to being done. It immediately deflated as I quickly put both loaves back in the oven….

And still, even though the thermometer indicated that the bread was finally “done”, both loaves still sank dramatically as they cooled. And after cutting into it once it had cooled, the inner crumb of the one in quiche pan was decidedly NOT done. The second loaf is languishing in the freezer. Once it comes out, we’ll learn if it’s a little more baked through or not. (I’ll try to remember to report.)

The next day, we tasted the really badly flattened cake first. Inside it LOOKED like bread (underdone). And it tasted more like bread than cake too. Pretty good as well. Although, we both think it could use more salt.

I’m still licking my wounds; I’m not sure that I’m game to make this coffee cake/ bread again soon, even though the dough really was a joy to work with. It’s the baking temperatures and times that would have to be played with. I’m guessing that it would be wise to choose a lower temperature 350F and plan to have the bread in the oven forever… an hour perhaps??? I would also be inclined to somehow get some of the Streusel inside the cake. Perhaps by swirling it.

Here’s this month’s BBB recipe ( And here is what I did to it:

Streusel Potato Coffee Cake
recipe adapted from in One Potato, Two Potato by Roy Finamore

makes 2 medium-sized rounds


  • 2 medium-sized PEI potatoes, cubed (8 ¼oz)
  • 1¾ c potato water ¹
  • 4 Tbsp salted butter, cut into pieces ²
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 6 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • pinch nutmeg, freshly grated ³
  • 2 Tbsp flax seeds, finely ground
  • 1 c unbleached all-purpose flour 4
  • 1½ c additional unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¾ c whole wheat flour
  • ¼ tsp Kosher salt, add only if using unsalted butter 5


  • ¼ c oat groats, finely ground 6
  • ¼ c whole wheat flour
  • ½ c brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ c salted butter, soft
  • 38gm pecans
  • 2 Tbsp Thompson raisins 7


  1. starter The evening before you are going to bake the cake/bread, scrub the potatoes well and waffle about whether to peel them. Choose not to peel them because the skin is young and thin. Coarsely chop the potatoes, put them in a lidded pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes until very tender. Drain, reserving the potatoes and potato water in separate containers.
  2. Mash the potatoes til smooth. Stir in butter and potato water.
  3. Put potatoes into a large mixing bowl and add sugar, nutmeg, eggs and 1 cups of flour. Stir well with a wooden spoon. Check that the temperature is just warm rather than hot (use the baby-bottle on the wrist method) before stirring in the yeast.
  4. If you’ve noticed that that you’re not supposed to add all the flour, this will be VERY liquid. Beat with a wooden spoon until there are no lumps. (If you are like me and didn’t notice and went ahead and dumped in all the flour, stir as best you can until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl, then turn the dough out onto the board and knead it until smooth and silky; let your dough scraper (a spatula works) be your friend when the dough is sticking to the board. Keep scraping up any dough that is on the board and adding it back into the actual dough so the board is always clear.) Cover the bowl with a plate and leave on the counter for about half an hour so the yeast has a chance to get started. Put in the fridge over-night.
  5. actual dough The next morning, if you haven’t done so already, stir in remaining flour and knead the dough until smooth. Wonder why the dough isn’t even remotely liquid or sticky.
  6. Wash and dry the mixing bowl. Put the kneaded dough into the bowl (no need to oil the bowl), cover with a plate and allow to rise until doubled.
  7. topping Stir flour, brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Add the butter. Use your fingers or a pastry fork to mix until it resembles sticky gravel. Mix in the chopped pecans and raisins.
  8. shaping After the dough has doubled, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Evenly divide the dough in two. Gently fold one of the pieces in half. Then gently grabbing the side of one of the ends, make a false braid. Fold the top half over to the middle and gently make another false braid. The dough will want to roll in on itself. This is a good thing. Once it shapes itself into a quasi-ball, put it seam-side down on the board and gently turn it round and round to smooth out any rough edges. Repeat with the other piece of dough. Put each round seam side down into parchment covered cake pans. (I used a quiche pan and a spring-form pan – I buttered the sides of the pans and put the parchment on the bottom.) Dimple the top of each round and as best you can put the topping all over. Push some of it into the dough with your fingers if you can. Try to get the topping to stay on top. Good luck with that…. Cover all with clean tea towels and a couple of plastic grocery bags draped overtop. Leave on the counter (out of drafts) to rise until not quite double.
  9. baking Preheat oven to 375F with a rack on the top-most shelf.
  10. Bake the bread/cake for 20 minutes. Notice that the one in the spring-form pan has really popped and is now touching the top of the oven. Move the rack down one notch.
  11. Turn the bread/cake around and continue to bake for another 10 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to check the inner temperature. Freak out when the thermometer comes out all covered in wet wet wet dough. Freak out more when the bread collapses on one side. Turn the oven down to 350F and bake for another 10 minutes. Check the inner temperature again. Freak out once more that it’s still not baked inside but is quite dark on the outside. Turn the oven down to 325F and bake for 10 minutes more. Keep checking the temperature. Lose track of how many “10 minutes more” are required. Take the bread/cake out of the oven when it MUST be done by now!!
  12. Allow to cool on a well ventilated rack – they’re still baking inside. Freak out just a little more when the bread that didn’t collapse during the baking decides to do so when it is cooling.


1.) Water Temperature: To ensure that the water is the correct temperature, use the baby bottle test on the back of your wrist – your fingers have no idea of temperature! Or you can use a thermometer. The temperature should be BELOW 120F because yeast begins to die when the temperature is higher than 120F.

2.) Butter: I used salted butter and decided not to add that small amount of salt.

3.) Nutmeg: I was too lazy to grate the nutmeg into the ⅛ tsp measuring spoon so just grated some until it looked about right.

4.) Flour: Remember to divide the flour in two!!! The BBB recipe calls for “white whole wheat” but we didn’t have any. I used regular whole wheat flour instead.

5.) Salt: Next time, I’ll add more salt! At least twice what is called for. We both thouht the cake/bread was decidedly lacking in salt.

6.) Ground Oat groats: The BBB recipe calls for oat bran – we didn’t have any….

7.) Raisins: The BBB recipe calls for white raisins. I’m guessing that that’s what I call “golden raisins”. I have a horror of those kind of raisins – too squishy – so I used small Thompson raisins instead.

  • Bread Baking Babes November recipe
    » Tanna (My Kitchen in Half Cups): Streusel Potato Cake (was at
    » Google Books: “One potato, two potato” Streusel Potato Cake (Kartoffel Kuchen) by Roy Finamore
  • recipes from OUR kitchen:
    » bread recipes
    » more bread recipes

We cut the quiche pan one in to wedges and happily, after toasting the wedges, the bread was more or less done. We slathered them with butter – delicious. (no photos – I was too cranky to get the camera.)

Then to add insult to injury, the one that had been in the spring-form pan somehow got turned over while it was waiting to be put in the freezer and it too got flattened even more (no photo of that particular tragedy either).

Streusel Potato Coffee Cake (BBB) But I have to say that in spite of the set-backs, the bread tasted pretty good. T liked it quite a lot. I especially liked it toasted, slathered with butter and served with thinly sliced sharp cheddar cheese and a giant cup of cafe au lait.

As it happens, I think this was more like bread than cake. Perhaps the BBBabes don’t have to call the emergency name-change meeting after all. :-)

Now, if only we could figure out how to make sure it gets cooked through before it turns dark mahogany brown on the outside….

Bread Baking Babes
Bread Baking Babes: Streusel Potato Cake (November 2011)

Tanna (My Kitchen in Half Cups) is the host of November 2011’s Bread Baking Babes’ task. She wrote:

I saw Streusel Potato Cake (Kartoffel Kuchen) in a book by Roy Finamore titled One Potato, Two Potato. When I researched Roy Finamore, he turned out to be someone I think I’d like to know more about, you know I LOVE potato and three it really is a traditional American coffee cake based on an old Pennsylvania Dutch recipe, made with cinnamon, brown sugar, walnuts or pecans, nutmeg.

In spite of all the problems I had with this cake/bread, I do hope that you won’t let my experiences stop you from baking it.

The dough was a breeze to make and knead. It’s just the baking times and temperature that require a major change.

And the resulting cake/bread really is quite delicious – especially toasted and served with butter and/or cheese (both goat’s cheese and sharp cheddar are excellent choices).

Of course, we’re hoping that you will now bake along with us.

To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: bake Streusel Potato Cake (Kartoffel Kuchen) in the next couple of weeks and post about it (we love to see how your bread turned out AND hear what you think about it) before the 29 November 2011.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Thank you, Tanna! I know it sounds like all I am doing is complaining about this bread, but what fun it was!

Please take a look at the other Babes’ results:


Yeastspotting - every Friday ( image)

Each week, Susan (Wild Yeast) compiles a list of many bread-specific recipes from across the web. For complete details on how to be included in the YeastSpotting round up, please read the following:


Streusel Potato Coffee Cake (BBB)

This entry was posted in baking, BBBabes, bread - yeasted & unyeasted, bread recipe, food & drink, posts with recipes, whine on by . BBB Streusel potato coffee cake - ejm November 2011

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7 responses to “Streusel Potato Coffee Cake – or IS it bread?? (BBB November 2011)

  1. MyKitchenInHalfCups

    Marie said let them eat cake … did she mean bread … I call this bread.
    Sorry this gave you headaches with the baking times.
    Thankfully you liked the taste part ;-)

    Yes, Tanna! You must be right. I’ve always pictured this kind of bread whenever hearing “Let them eat cake” (I just looked up the origin of the phrase and one site suggests that the original is “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”. There you go. Bread! – I’m just going to pretend that I didn’t read further to see that another person says the original phrase was “Que ne mangent-ils de la croûte de pâté?” no no no, lalalalalalala not looking not looking – pastry’s neither bread NOR cake.) -Elizabeth

  2. Natashya

    I love the mushroom shaped one! I always have bad luck when I am trying to bake two different kinds of bread at the same time too.
    Mine didn’t sink at all, maybe because I was the only one not to add any extra flour?
    Looks good!

    But I didn’t add extra flour either, Natashya! At least I don’t think I did! -Elizabeth

  3. Elle

    I always love your posts…very chatty and humerous. Guess it pays to allow lots of time for this one to bake…read the same elsewhere. Will see how mine turns out when I can finally bake it. Right now have to sit it out…injured left foot, so no baking at the moment. :(

    Owww!! Poor you, Elle! Hope your foot heals soon! -Elizabeth

  4. Baking Soda

    This was a challenging one indeed! Toast! That’s what I should have been doing with it. I love your choice of toast, butter and sharp cheese. I can happily munch away half a loaf that way. (Picture my hips cheering their agreeement).

    I believe the sharp cheese cancels out the butter, Karen. :-) -Elizabeth

  5. Lien

    Yes the baking time was longer, and my bread sank a little too in the middle after several additional 10 minutes. This is really a bread in our country, they don’t call baked goods with yeast in it cake (that has baking powder) here. A lovely sweet bread!
    I was told that Marie Antoinette said “let them eat Brioche” (well in french obviously), so that’s bread ánd cake in one. I wasn’t present at the time though :)

    Yes, I agree! It’s bread in my books too, Lien. Cake has icing on it. ;-) -Elizabeth

  6. Astrid

    You really should have been in the hangout with us, where Susan and I found out about baking times and such… ;o)
    We need to figure out a better time for this month so you all have a chance to join.
    Mine collapsed too event ho they had an incredible oven spring, no idea why tho…

    I tried; I tried to get to the hangout, Astrid!! When I put the bread in the oven, I raced to the computer to log on and report that I was baking, only to find that there was an interloper at the keyboard trying to find a fix for his ailing computer. Then after one of the “ten minutes” more, I raced back to the computer to see if any of you others had experienced the same thing. Nope. Interloper still there…. :stomp: When I finally managed to log on, I was too late; everyone had already gone home. :-( -Elizabeth

  7. Kate

    It almost looks like a Pannetone. Bummer that they, er, became vertically challenged. It’s probably because you didn’t peel the potatoes. (says she who never peels potatoes, and likely would not have either LOL)

    Yes, that must be it Kate! It was the potato peels! :stomp: -Elizabeth


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