Coffee Cake With Yeast Recipe

Let’s bake the traditional Czech yeasted coffee cake with blueberries, generously topped with streusel! An ideal cake for breakfast, it’s incredibly soft and juicy, and I guarantee you will love the recipe.

Yeast coffee cake with blueberries, sliced, served on a plate.

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➜ About the recipe

This is a delicious cake with crumbs made of yeast dough, which is spread on a baking tray, covered with fresh fruit, and topped with a streusel crumble made of flour, butter, and sugar. The cake is perfect for morning coffee at breakfast, or as a dessert for any coffee time.

FUN FACT: Although the authentic recipe comes from the Czech Republic, this cake is also popular with Czech neighbors, especially in Germany, Poland, and Hungary; a similar recipe can be found in their national cuisines.

European yeast cake with fruit, topped with a streusel crumb.

MY TIP: Also try the authentic recipe for Czech kolaches (they are round in shape and there really is no sausage inside!)

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➜ Ingredients

Baking with yeast is much simpler than most people think, and it gives a depth of taste and texture that just cannot be replicated with another ingredient! Do not be afraid of yeast and embrace it. The yeast cake is certain to succeed in this simple recipe with precise step-by-step directions.

What you need for European-style yeast coffee cake:

Ingredients for yeast blueberry sheet cake, with captions.

Yeast dough:

  • All-purpose flour; or plain flour in the UK
  • Granulated sugar
  • Milk; lukewarm to warm but not hot
  • Active dry yeast; or fresh. I’ve gotten into the habit of using instant yeast because it has a much longer shelf life than fresh, plus it’s totally easy to work with.
  • Unsalted butter; softened at room temperature or a few seconds in the microwave. Optionally melted in a saucepan on the stove and then cooled.
  • Egg yolks; with only yolks, the yeasted dough will be more tender. Set aside some of the egg whites to brush the edges of the cake later.
  • A pinch of salt; for taste contrast
  • Lemon zest; freshly grated. Grate only the top yellow layer; the bottom white one is bitter. Scrub the lemon with a brush under warm running water, or take an organic lemon.
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Topping:

  • Blueberries; ideally fresh berries or any other summer fruit
  • Granulated sugar; to sprinkle over the fruit, especially if it is not too sweet

Crumb ingredients:

  • All-purpose flour, granulated sugar (or brown sugar for rich flavor), and unsalted butter. Read more about how to make streusel topping

✅ You’ll find the exact amount of ingredients below in the recipe card, which you can also print out.

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➜ Instructions with photos

STEP 1: Pour lukewarm milk (warm but not hot) into a glass, and stir in a teaspoon of granulated sugar and the dry yeast. Leave in a warm place for 15 minutes to bubble.

STEP 2: Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the soft butter, egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest, and salt. Pour in activated yeast, including all the milk. Using a wooden spatula, beat out into a soft dough, that is a little bit sticky.

Preparing yeast dough, ingredients in a white bowl.

TIP: If you own a stand mixer with kneading hooks, prepare the dough with its help. The robot helps make the job easier.

STEP 3: Cover the dough with cling film or a clean tea towel and leave it to rise in a warm, draft-free place for 45 minutes. After about half an hour, knock the dough down with a wooden spoon to encourage further rising.

⤍ Learn how to make dough rise in the oven.

STEP 4: Meanwhile, make a buttery streusel crumble. Place the butter, sugar, and flour in a bowl and rub between your fingers until you get a crumb.

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Streusel topping.

STEP 5: Grease a baking sheet with a piece of butter. Spread the risen dough on the sheet and use your fingers to press it thinly to the sides. Using the edge of your palm, shape the slightly raised rims along the perimeter of the sheet.

TIP: If you like, mix some of the egg whites with a little water and brush them around the cake edges. They turn out beautifully glossy when baked.

STEP 6: Pour the blueberries in a thick layer over the prepared dough, and sprinkle them with sugar; about two tablespoons of sugar per sheet. Finally, top the blueberries with the streusel crumble.

Topping yeasted dough with blueberries and streusel topping.

STEP 7: Bake the blueberry coffee cake in a preheated oven at 350°F/170°C (lower and upper heating) for 35-40 minutes. Edges of the cake turn golden brown.

Baked yeast coffee cake with fruit.

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➜ Serving

Let the finished cake cool for a while. Then, cut the cake into slices of about 4x4inches/10×10 cm, and serve.

The cake is low with a rich layer of fruit. Still warm it feels soft, so I recommend serving the cake slices on a small plate and eating them with a dessert spoon. Once cooled, the cake firms up and you can bite into it holding the slice in your hand.

➜ Storage

Cover the cooled coffee cake with cling film, aluminum foil, or a clean tea towel. It will keep at room temperature on the kitchen counter for about 3 days.

You can also cut the cake into pieces, and store them in an airtight container in the freezer.

See also  Old Fashioned Coffee Cake Recipe

➜ Why is this cake called a coffee cake?

Let’s briefly clarify this. Coffee cakes usually don’t contain any coffee. They’re just called “coffee cakes” because they are traditionally served with a cup of coffee or tea at breakfast time, for brunch, or for afternoon coffee.

➜ Size of baking sheet

In the Czech Republic, a large baking sheet about 18×13 inches (45×33 cm) is most commonly used for baking. Get this size if you want to bake the cake exactly according to the recipe.

If you want to bake in a 9×13-inch baking dish, prepare the cake with about ⅔ of the amount.

➜ Useful tips

  • Immediately after removing the cake from the oven, drizzle its surface with melted butter to which you have stirred two tablespoons of spiced rum. This is a fantastic twist!
  • If you intend to prepare the cake with fresh yeast, crumble the yeast in warm milk sweetened with a teaspoon of sugar and then follow the same procedure as for dry yeast. Fresh yeast will activate a little sooner because it contains more moisture.
  • This yeasty sheet cake can be layered with any summer fruit, not just blueberries. Apricots, strawberries, raspberries, apple slices, and a mix of fruits – combine black and red currants or gooseberries with some sweeter fruits.

More sweets:

  • Zucchini spice cake
  • Medovnik Czech honey cake
  • Zwetschenkuchen (German plum cake)
  • Chocolate coffee cake (with sour cream topping)
  • Cinnamon apple crumb cake