This coffee cake made the rounds on several blogs a few months ago. At the time, I jumped into my kitchen and made it immediately...and apparently liked it so much that I ate the whole thing before I could get a few photos and share it on the blog. Warm from the oven it was irresistible - soft, light, sweet, and bursting with fresh citrus flavor. It almost reminded me of a citrus version of cinnamon rolls. The sugar that baked up from between the layers created a crunchy crust on top of the cake, which was one of my favorite parts. You can eat the cake either by peeling the layers apart or (after it is nearly cool), cutting it into 1-inch thick slices on the diagonal. I ate it both ways, but my preference was for the peeled pieces, mainly because you got more of the filling in each bite that way! This recipe was simply too good not to share so recently I made it again and managed to restrain myself so I could get it up on the blog.
The recipe isn't difficult despite its many steps, though it is a bit time consuming. The end result is certainly worth the effort! Though I make yeast breads frequently, this was my first time making a yeasted cake. The main difference was the consistency of the dough - it was much more fluid, almost like batter, and fairly sticky. I added a bit more flour than the recipe called for just so I could work with the dough but overall I followed the instructions. The other thing that's a little bit tricky about the cake is determining when it is done. The first time I baked it, I took it out when the top was golden brown, but when I got to the middle of the loaf, I discovered some raw dough. The second time I made it, I was more careful and ended up tenting the cake around 30 minutes so I could bake it a little longer without browning the top too much. The folks over at The Kitchn had a great suggestion - use an instant-read thermometer to ensure the center of the loaf is about 200 F before removing the cake from the oven.
The only thing I might change about the recipe next time is the icing. When I tried it by itself, I really didn't like it. On top of the cake, it was better but still too thick for me with a flavor I didn't love. I definitely think the cake benefits from icing so I wouldn't leave it off completely, just try a difference recipe.
I think this would be a wonderful treat to include as part of a brunch and I may include it in our Mother's Day spread. Though it makes a wonderful breakfast, I also ate it for dessert too a few nights. The recipe is fairly long so I'm not going to re-type it all here, but if you want to give it a shot you can find it here.