What, no bread? Let them eat Cake! (BBB December 2012)

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BBB: Let's Get Baking summary: recipe for Apple/Cranberry Kuchen; a Bread Baking Babes project; submission for YeastSpotting; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Bread Baking Babes (BBB) :hohoho: December 2012 :hohoho:

I can almost hear Mum saying “It’s just like cake on top…”!

Apple Kuchen This month, Gretchen (Provecho Peru) chose the BBBabes’ task. And like last month, it is not at all a task. This Kuchen is insanely easy to make!

Sure, it might not turn out exactly as bread, but who cares? It’s perfect for a festive breakfast or dessert.

:hohoho: BBB Holiday Apple Kuchen diary :hohoho:

13 December 2012, 17:13

Eeek!!! The 16th is Sunday, isn’t it? How can this be??

I did not make Lucia buns today. I was wrapping presents to get them in the post so they’d arrive at their destination in time for Christmas. (I found out AFTER we got home that the deadline was 10 December. Oh oh.) On the way back from the post office, I managed to remember to buy apples. But did I look at the BBB recipe before heading out? Of course not! And now I see that we need tapioca (!! maybe we have some hiding from when I was doing gluten free baking? !!). And cream cheese. Oh oh. I wonder if creamy goats’ cheese could be used as a substitute.

And I’m pretty sure we have pearl tapioca. I’ve never been a fan of tapioca but T adores it. (However, I simply refuse to buy quick-cooking tapioca just to get a tablespoon’s worth – even if it is for the BBBabes!)

instant tapioca = quick-cooking tapioca = quick tapioca = granulated tapioca = tapioca granules = instant pearl tapioca […] These small, starchy granules are used to make tapioca pudding and to thicken pie fillings. The grains don’t dissolve completely when cooked, so puddings and pies thickened with them end up studded with tiny gelatinous balls. […] [J]ust pulverize the instant tapioca in a coffee grinder or blender. […] To use it in a pie filling, mix it with the other ingredients, then let it sit for at least five minutes so that the tapioca can absorb some of the liquid.[…] Substitutes: […] tapioca pearls (Pulverize these first with a blender, coffee grinder, or food processor) OR cornstarch (Use half as much. Cornstarch breaks down if it’s mixed with acidic ingredients, cooked for a long time, or frozen and thawed.) OR arrowroot (more expensive) OR flour (Use a little more.)
-Cook’s Thesaurus: Thickeners

15 December 2012, 17:16 I decided to make just half the recipe. Where IS our square pan?! (Ha! Of course, it has lasagne with butternut squash and sage in it….) So I eyeballed our oval dishes and buttered the medium sized casserole dish. And then started making the dough.

Hmmm…. It’s not as much as I thought it was going to be. So, before slicing the apples, I buttered the small oval casserole dish.

Mixing the dough was a breeze. I hand-kneaded it in the bowl for a little bit then set it aside to rest while I made the crumb topping and sliced the apples.

I was thrilled to have found the pearl tapioca and ground it up to go with the apples. And because we DO have cranberries in the freezer, I took Gretchen’s idea and threw in a few.

Like Gretchen, I didn’t take the time to find out what apple pie spice is either and made an executive decision that it was cinnamon, cloves and ginger.

I did NOT find the cinnamon, however, to top up the tiny amount in our cinnamon bottle. WHERE ON EARTH is the cinnamon? Did we use it all up when we made Vinarterta? If so, why didn’t I put cinnamon on the grocery list? :lalala:

19:05 I’m just about to put the cake in the oven.

As I was typing the above, I have made a mental note to myself not to forget to put the crumb topping on. (I put it in the fridge while the dough was rising.)

19:40 Because of the sugar, I baked it on the top shelf to prevent it from burning on the bottom – with a cookie tray on the shelf below just in case it overflowed. Good thing too…. But after 30 minutes of baking, even though the apples are bubbling, the crumb topping is not golden enough after half an hour of baking. So now it is on the middle shelf under the broiler (with T monitoring to make sure it doesn’t burn).

Apple Kuchen 20:00 It’s beautiful!! And it smells amazing. I can’t wait to cut into it to try it.

We didn’t have to wait long. Last night, about an hour after it came out of the oven, we sliced into it. As suspected, it was more like cake than bread. But the bottom bread section looked beautifully formed.

T loved it as dessert and said it was like apple cinnamon buns.

I confess that I was a little less enthusiastic. It was very similar to plum duff made with apples and cranberries instead of plums. Don’t get me wrong; I did like it. I just think it will work better for breakfast with coffee.

Here is the BBB December 2012 Holiday Apple Kuchen recipe provechoperu.com/2012/12/holiday-apple-kuchen-yeast-bread/. And here is what I did to it:

BBB Apple Cranberry Kuchen
adapted from a recipe in “Better Homes & Gardens Holiday Baking 2009 Magazine”

Crumb Topping ¹

  • 5 Tbsp flour
  • 5 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • pinch Kosher salt


  • 4 Tbsp salted butter, very soft
  • 4 Tbsp Demerara sugar
  • 4 Tbsp plain yoghurt ²
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp instant yeast ³
  • 1 c + 2 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
  • .25 tsp Kosher salt

Apple Topping

  • 1.5 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 Golden Delicious apples
  • Handful whole cranberries
  • 4 Tbsp Demerara sugar
  • 1 Tbsp fine Tapioca pearls
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger

Optional Creamy Topping 4

  • 4 Tbsp soft goats’ cheese
  • some plain yoghurt
  • demerara sugar, to taste
  1. Crumb Topping In a smallish bowl, whisk flour, sugar and salt together. Use a knife or pastry blender to cut in butter until the butter is the size of small peas. Set aside in the fridge. Remember that it is there!
  2. Optional Creamy Topping In a medium bowl, cream sugar into the goats’ cheese. Beat in enough yoghurt to make the mixture the consistancy you like. Cover and set aside in the fridge.
  3. Prepare the baking dish Using your fingers, butter the bottom and sides of an 8 inch square casserole if it isn’t already filled with lasagne. Alternatively, use a similar sized oval dish. (The “Joy of Cooking” has a very handy page showing how many square inches are in various cake containers.
  4. Mixing the dough In a largish bowl, cream the sugar into the butter. Stir in yoghurt and egg and beat well until the mixture is smooth. Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour and yeast. (If you are using active dry yeast, first whisk yeast into a small amount of lukewarm water to dissolve it.) It should be the consistency of a stiff batter or very wet dough.
  5. Kneading Use your hands to knead the dough in the bowl for about 5 minutes. Scrape as much of the dough off of your hands. Cover the bowl with a plate and set aside on the counter.
  6. Apples Put lemon juice in the bottom of a medium sized bowl (lots of bowls for this, aren’t there??). Peel, core and slice the apples and put the slices onto the lemon juice. Dump sugar overtop to stop the apples from browning. Stir in tapioca, cranberries and spices to mix well. Set aside on the counter.
  7. Putting it together Hand-knead the dough a few more times to make sure it’s smooth. Plop it into the bottom of the buttered casserole dish and spread it out as best you can. Cover the dough evenly with the fruit topping.
  8. Proofing Cover with a clean tea towel followed by a large plastic bag and allow to rise in a no-draft warm place (I put it in the oven with only the light turned on) for about an hour or until doubled in size.
  9. Crumb Topping and Baking When it has doubled, turn the oven to 375F. Evenly scatter the crumb topping over the fruit and try not to be too alarmed that there is no room for the apples to bubble anywhere but out of the dish. Bake the Kuchen on the TOP rack of the oven to prevent it from burning on the bottom. Put a cookie sheet on the rack below to catch spillovers. Bake for about 30 minutes in total, turning it around once half way through to account for uneven oven heat. If the crumb topping isn’t quite golden enough, move the dish to the middle shelf and put the oven on broil for about 5 minutes. Watch it carefully!! You don’t want a black topped Kuchen!
  10. Remove from oven and allow to cool briefly on a well ventilated rack. Serve warm with or without creamy topping.


1.) Topping: Gretchen mentioned that she may or may not have doubled the crumb topping recipe because Gretchen reminded us that “crumb topping really is the best part”. So I made about three quarters of the recipe rather than half. Gretchen called for brown sugar rather than white.

2.) Yoghurt: The BBB recipe calls for milk. Gretchen used low-fat milk. T used 2% milk to make our yoghurt.

3.) Yeast: The BBB recipe calls for “a package” of yeast. This kind of measurement drives me mad! How much is in a package?! In North America, it’s generally accepted that it’s about 7 gm – or 2.25 teaspoons. This time round, I used 1 tsp instant yeast (because that’s what we happen to have in the fridge). If it were active dry, I’d probably use the same amount.

4.) Creamy Topping: I ran out of steam and at the last minute decided not to make this. Even though I know it would be delicious. Gretchen calls for cream cheese, whipping cream and powdered sugar. When I still thought I was going to make it, we had neither cream cheese nor whipping cream on hand. I wrote down what I WOULD have used instead.

Christmas Lights While we were waiting for Kuchen to rise, we hopped on our bikes to take a look at the neighbourhood Christmas lights. We LOVED this house! How brilliant. I hope you can get an idea from this less than adequate photo just how brilliant it was.

When we got home, the Kuchen was pretty much ready to bake. And then it was time for dinner (…leek and potato soup with baking powder biscuits). Mmmm, I do love dinner!

For dessert, we had the Kuchen, still warm from the oven. Because I didn’t make the creamy topping, I decided to put plain yoghurt on my wedge of Kuchen. T added a little more butter and sugar to his wedge of Kuchen. He said it was fabulous that way. He loved it and said he wants to make it again. And again. And again.

Thank you, Gretchen!

Bread Baking Babes
What, no bread? Let them eat Cake! (BBB December 2012)

Gretchen (Provecho Peru) is the host of December 2012’s Bread Baking Babes’ task. She wrote:

I wanted to do something special, but different. I thought about something difficult and labor intensive to finish off the year but knew that even I would have trouble with a challenging recipe. I wanted something, not necessarily “simple,” but a bread that would be delicious as breakfast or dessert. With all the holiday parties coming up, hopefully this can serve as a perfect dish to bring and share.

This recipe is with apples, but I will tell you the honest truth…if I had fresh cranberries around here, I would certainly be throwing in a couple handfulls to the apple mixture. If you want to try a different fruit, you are welcome to.

Gretchen is right! The cranberries look really beautiful and they add a lovely touch of flavour as well.

We know that you too will WANT to bake this Kuchen!! To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: bake Holiday Apple Kuchen in the next couple of weeks and post about it (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 29 December 2012. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to email the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.

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

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ Kuchen:

Yeastspotting - every Friday (wordle.net 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:


Apple Kuchen (BBB)


Please don’t forget to look at my tiny holly ©ejm2005Advent calendartiny holly ©ejm2005.

(Don’t even think about peeking ahead! :hohoho: :-) :hohoho: )


7 responses to “What, no bread? Let them eat Cake! (BBB December 2012)

  1. Lien

    I think cranberries really make it more fitting to the holidays, great choice. Yes it would be wonderful to have this as breakfast on Christmas morning, how decadent, I love that thought… they ate it all though :)

  2. Baking Soda

    I can imagine this not being a cakey cake but ideal to tide you over halfway in the morning, or as a breakfast extravaganza (in our Dutch bread/cheese breakfast eyes that is. We Dutch are very very sad in our breakfast choices). Love the added cranberries!

  3. MyKitchenInHalfCups

    Oh I do wish I’d added the cranberries!
    The Kuchen looks gorgeous Elizabeth and it’s really nice that at least this time T really enjoyed the bread/pie/tray bake/cake.
    Really enjoyed the house photos! Enjoyed your bike ride!

  4. Kelly

    Oh you kept your cranberries whole, like little jewels peeking out. :) I only have large pearl tapioca and have never used tapioca for thickening pies anyway so I went the flour route for the filling. Wow, that house sure is something! Lot of work and ladders. We stick to ground level, ha!
    Have a Happy New Year!

  5. Gretchen Noelle @ Provecho Peru

    Looks just delicious! Many people enjoyed this as breakfast….ours was eaten far before breakfast! So glad you could bake along this month!

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