Skip to content

Yeast-based coffee cake with orange and cheese

What better way to have your coffee (and tea) with this rich, yeasted cake?

Coffee cake, sliced to show cheese filling

I haven’t tried making this with cream cheese — but if you do, let me know how it turns out! In this recipe, the cheese is a filling, which is kind of fussy, but the dough doesn’t get soggy. Next time I’d like to try with all the dough on the bottom, followed by the cheese, then lastly topped with the streusel — although I’d wonder about the cheese getting too dry or scorched, even underneath the streusel…


  • 3 ounces (90 grams) bread starter
  • 1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active baking yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • zest of 2 oranges, about 2 to 3 tablespoons
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 12 3/8 ounces (350 grams) bread flour; I used a combination of 100 grams Sonora whole grain with 250 grams of unbleached bread flour
  • 3 ounces (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Cheese filling

  • 10 ounces (285 grams) ricotta cheese or fromage blanc, preferably whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons maple or vanilla sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, if cheese is unsalted


A half-batch of streusel, chilled at fridge temperature and crumbled.


  1. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. This provides additional scaffolding as the cake rises during baking, as well as a sling to remove it from the pan.
  2. Prepare the dough by stirring together the bread starter, yeast, sugars, salt, warm milk, orange zest, and eggs in a mixing bowl.
  3. Stir in about a third of the flour, followed by the melted butter.
  4. Place the bowl into a stand mixer with a dough hook or paddle attachment. On low speed, add in the remaining flour. Increase the speed to medium, and beat for about 3 to 4 minutes to develop gluten. It will be a wet, sticky dough.
  5. Detach the bowl from mixer, cover, and let rise in a warm environment until doubled in volume. This can take 2 to 3 hours.
  6. In the meantime, prepare the cheese filling by placing its ingredients into a food processor. Blend until creamy; place in the refrigerator until the dough has finished its first rising.
  7. Beat down the dough. Place half of it into the baking pan. Use a oiled spatula or large spoon to “persuade” the dough to mostly cover the base of the pan.
  8. Pour in the cheese filling, allowing a roughly 1/2-inch gap of dough exposed. Gently top the filling with the remaining dough: I did this by stretching it (with greased hands) into 3 or 4 flattish portions, and covering as much as the cheese as possible.
  9. Lightly cover, while trying to avoid touching the sticky dough. Let the cake rise for 1 hour.
  10. Preheat the oven to 375ºF degrees.
  11. After the rising, top the cake with streusel. I use the streusel to strategically cover cheese gaps as well as open edges and corners. 🙂
  12. Put pan in the oven, lower the temperature to 350°F, and bake for 40 to 50 minutes until the streusel is browned and the dough has pulled away from the pan’s sides. Rotate midway through baking time.
  13. Allow to cool in pan for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Submit a comment

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked with a red diamond, .