The Braided Coffeecake

If you’re looking for a coffeecake that will amaze your friends and terrify your enemies, this is the one. Actually quite simple, it will make you look like a true master of the breakfast pastry-shaping arts. It works very well with chocolate. Start by making a simple filling out of three ounces of chocolate and half an ounce of butter. Combine them in a small dish…

…and melt them together in a microwave, applying as many 10-second bursts (on high) as needed, stirring between each. You’ll get something that looks like this:

Now for the shaping. Roll and trim a roughly 14-ounce piece of Danish dough to a square about 14″ x 12″. Using an icing spatula or a butter knife, score the dough lightly into thirds.

Make a series of sloping cuts in the dough, about half an inch apart, down each side of the dough piece. A pizza cutter is the perfect instrument for this job, but a sharp knife will also work.

Carefully cut away the very top pieces…

…and remove them.

Do the same with the very bottom pieces.

Now apply the chocolate filling in the center. You need not use all of it if it seems over-full.

Now, fold down the top flap…

…then start folding in the side strips, left, right, left, right, left, right…

…all the way to the bottom. Pretty no? And so easy.

Slip your hands under the cake and gently transfer it to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Apply a wash of beaten egg to the surface and set the pastry aside to proof, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400 degreed Fahrenheit.

When the pastry is slightly puffy, apply another coat of egg wash, then insert the pan in the oven.

Immediately drop the heat to 375 and bake about half an hour until the coffeecake is a deep golden brown. Allow it to cool completely before serving.

21 thoughts on “The Braided Coffeecake”

  1. Wow! Thanks for sharing this! Perhaps I haven’t explored enough baking blogs, but this is the first and most straight forward directions with pictures I’ve seen on the Internet! That stunning mouth-watering picture caught my eye as I was surfing google images for a braided pasty, –that’s right; pasty not pastry–and I HAD to click on it. You know you have a gorgeous picture when it stops you in your tracks.

      1. Just a question, if you brush the pasty with butter instead of egg wash will it still look just as golden brown as your picture? Exactly?

        1. Butter won’t brown nearly as well as egg wash since it has so little protein in it. I recommend egg for sure. – Joe

  2. I just made this style of danish with apples and cinnamon-cardamon-vanilla flavored mascarpone. THANK YOU for this recipe! This dough is flaky and just sweet enough. I don’t know if I can wait long enough for it to cool before I devour it…

    1. Update: I just ate it, and you should receive a prize for your culinary genius.

      1. Ha! Thanks, Helena…I wish I could take more credit, but I’m someone who stands on the shoulders of giants, as they say. I’m glad it worked so well!

  3. Either you are much, much faster at putting this thing together than I am, or you have spatula hands – I’m afraid I deformed my braid when transferring it to a cookie sheet (it had gotten pretty soft). I’m sure it’s still going to be delicious, but is there any harm to constructing the thing on parchment to make the transfer easier?

    At any rate, thanks for the tutorial – attempt 2 at laminated pastry seems to be turning out well so far!

    1. Hey Nicole! You certainly can shape this on parchment instead of transferring it. That’s a very good idea, in fact.

      These sort of things take some practice, but as you point out, even less-than-perfect versions of coffee cakes are positively delicious. Takes some of the sting out of a mistake, I think. 😉

      Keep up the great work!

      – Joe

      1. Incidentally, it was indeed delicious, and once baked, you could barely tell it was a little warped. Thanks, Joe!

  4. Hi,

    I like this recipe and would like to do it but wonder how can I get the Danish dough recipe . please could you send me the recipe so I could do it,

    1. Hello, Doha!

      Just look on the left side of the blog under “Pastry Components” and you’ll see it there!

      – Joe

  5. I have made several things from you site and they have all been great. Thank you. Where do you get the parchment with the red grid?

  6. Hi Joe,
    I am wondering how thick the dough should be for your coffe cake recipes and the dimensions as well. Also, do you always use the laminated butter method for these cakes or do you also use the sweet yeast dough method?
    Thank you so much…

    1. Hi Melissa!

      Thanks for the question. For something like this it should be quite thin. Not paper thin mind you, but less than one quarter inch. Once it’s rolled the whole shaped coffeecake should be very easy to manipulate, easy to slice and fold, that sort of thing.

      This dough does call for yeast and some sugar, but are you talking about a more “rough puff”-style method? I have tried that but I can tell you I much prefer this one! Cheers,

      – Joe

  7. Аmazing bⅼog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers?
    I’m hoping to start my own bloɡ soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Ꮤould you propose startng with a free platform lіke WordPress oгr go for ɑ paid option? There are so many choicеs out there
    that I’m totalⅼʏ confused .. Any suggestions?

    1. Hello Tadalafil!

      Thanks very much and I do hope you start a blog one of these days. The platforms have gotten very easy to use, so I think you’ll find it easy to get started. I myself use WordPress as my platform, though the site is custom built and hosted privately. A custom site gives you more control over the look and the features, but otherwise it’s the same as using the online app. So you may want to start with a free WordPress blog and see how well you like it. If you do you can move to a more expensive custom blog. Just an idea. The main thing is to have a good time.

      Keep me informed of your progress!

      – Joe

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