Cuccidati Coffeecake


Cuccidati CoffeecakeCuccidati Coffeecake came about because of my love of this Italian cookie.  When I was researching cookies for my cookie book, a co-worker told me about Cuccidati cookies.  I have loved them ever since.

The dough for this coffeecake is a delight to work with.  However, it is very soft and needs to be worked really cold to keep it rolled out to the dimensions called for and to spread the filling out without stretching it.

The look of the cut coffeecake is achieved by cutting the filling topped dough into strips and then arranging them in the pan so they stand up in a circle.  When the Cuccidati Coffeecake is cut the filling is vertical instead of the normal horizontal.  It’s like magic!

Pronounced “Koo-cha-dot-ee”, this coffeecake features the same filling as in the cookies – figs, raisins and dates, almonds, walnuts, lemon and orange zest with just a touch of honey, rum and cinnamon.  Buy the moistest mission black figs and raisins you can find.  Pitted medjool dates round out the trio of fruits.

Every part of this recipe can be made up to three days ahead and refrigerated which is ideal if you’re short on time.  The baked coffeecake can also be frozen.  I particularly love that it stays moist for days and is perfect with a cup of coffee or tea.

Cuccidati Coffeecake DoughIngredients for Cuccidati Coffeecake dough

1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick, 60 grams or 2 ounces)
1/4 cup sugar (50 grams or 1 3/4 ounces)
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream (114 grams or 4 ounces)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour (280 grams or 10 ounces)
1 teaspoon instant yeast

Cut the butter into pieces and place it in a small saucepan along with the sugar, water and salt.  Heat until the butter is melted.  Remove from the heat and let it sit until it is lukewarm.  When it comes to temperature, whisk in the sour cream, followed by the egg and vanilla.Liquid ingredients in the pan

Add the flour and yeast to the bowl of a mixer. Mix it to combine them.

Flour and yeast for dough Add the liquid and beat  on low until it comes together. Liquid added to flour mixture Knead on medium or whatever setting your machine suggests for 3 minutes, rearranging after about 1 1/2 minutes as the dough will adhere to the top of the dough hook and not get beaten.  The dough will be very soft and more of a batter.Cuccidati Coffeecake dough

Place it in a greased bowl or container, cover with plastic wrap and mark the time on it.  Allow it to rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

After it has risen, punch it down, re-cover it and refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days so the butter can firm up.  It will probably rise again in the refrigerator and that is fine.

Cuccidati Coffeecake FillingFilling ingredients

6 ounces Mission black figs, stems cut off (170 grams)*
1/4 cup raisins (40 grams or 1 1/3 ounces)
1/4 cup pitted Medjool dates (50 grams or 1 3/4 ounces)
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted (30 grams or 1 ounces)
1/4 cup walnuts (30 grams or 1 ounces)
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Zest from 1/2 orange
Zest from 1/2 lemon

*I used moist figs and raisins but if yours are really dry, place the figs in a small pan.  Cover with hot water.  Simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes until plumped.  Add the raisins for the last few minutes to plump them also.  Drain very well.  Squeeze out any excess water before processing.

If the figs do not need to be rehydrated,  cover the raisins with very hot water and let them sit while gather the remaining ingredients.Soaking raisins for Cuccidati Coffeecake filling

Place the almonds and walnuts in the bowl of a processor.  Process them until finely ground.  Almonds and walnuts ground Squeeze the excess water from the raisins and Drained raisinsadd them and all of the remaining ingredients including the figs and dates to the processor.  Filling ingredients in processorProcess until a spreadable paste forms.  Add water, a tablespoon at a time or less, if necessary, but keep it thick.  Refrigerate up to a week if not using.Filling processed

Bring to room temperature to use.

Crumb Topping

Go here for how to photos.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (114 grams, 4 ounces or 1 stick)
1/3 cup granulated sugar (65 grams or 2 1/4 ounces)
1/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar (65 grams or 2 1/4 ounces)
3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups cake flour (190 grams or 6 2/3 ounces)

Combine the butter and both sugars in a mixer.  Cream until very light.  Combine the cinnamon, salt and flour; add all at once and beat on medium just until large crumbs form.  Scrape down the sides and the bottom for unincorporated flour.  Mix briefly.

Do not over mix or you will end up with a really thick cohesive mixture. Store the crumbs in the refrigerator while you make the cake or up to 3 days covered.

Cuccidati Coffeecake Assembly

Line a 9×3 inch cheesecake or springform pan with parchment paper.  Spray the paper and sides of the pan with a non-stick release.  Set aside.

Yeast dough
Cuccidati Filling, room temperture and spreadable
1 egg, well beaten
Crumb Topping
Powdered sugar

Note:  The dough is very soft and it is easiest to roll out and fill if it is almost frozen.  Return it to the freezer anytime it becomes too soft to work.

Turn the dough out and deflate it.  Roll it into a rectangle, approximately 8×6 inches.  Freeze until quite firm but not frozen. 6x8 inch rectangle

Roll dough into a 10 1/2 x13 inch rectangle.   Place it on a parchment lined baking sheet.  If it has become soft, return it to the freezer to firm up.10 1/2 inch rectangle

Spread the filling evenly over the dough.Filling spread on dough

Cut it into seven 1 1/2 inch strips from the 10 1/2 inch side.  It is easiest to do this with a pizza cutter. Dough cut into strips

Roll one piece into a tight coil.  First roll of filled doughPlace it in the middle of the pan.First roll centered in pan

Take another strip of dough and place it next to the end of the coiled dough and roll it loosely around the coil.  Continue in this manner until the dough is completely used.  Don’t be concerned about the area between the strips of dough.  It will all come together.Pan filled with strips of dough

Press down lightly to fill the pan.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/1 hours.Risen Cuccidati Coffeecake

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Brush the egg wash on top of the coffeecake.  Distribute the Crumb Topping evenly. Press down lightly.Crumbs on top

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the crumbs are golden brown and a tester comes out clean.  If the middle humps up during baking, just press it down with a pot holder when it comes from the oven.  Cool.  Go around the edge of the pan with a spatula.

Remove the Cuccidati Coffeecake from the pan.  Turn it over to remove the parchment paper.  Turn it right side up.

To serve, dust with powdered sugar.

The coffeecake will last several days when well covered and kept at room temperature.  Or it can be frozen without the powdered sugar and well wrapped for several months.  Thaw at room temperature.  To freshen, wrap in foil, leaving an opening at the top.  Heat the oven to 350°F and warm for about 20 minutes.  Dust with powdered sugar when cool.

I think you might also like these:

New York Style Crumb Cake
Pina Colada Coffee Cake
Chocolate Spiced Coffee Cake

Pastry has not only been my profession, but my passion. If there is anything in particular you would like to see or any questions about baking or pastry, please let me know. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss a post!
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7 thoughts on “Cuccidati Coffeecake

  1. Maureen Kelly

    Helen, your step-by-step photos are the best! So instructive, especially in a recipe like this one with a new technique. Can’t wait to try this!

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Maureen, Thank you for your kind words. I know I learn faster if I can see something so I’m always happy to include the photos. I’m glad they were of help.

  2. Irene Peek

    Yes, I caught that, too, and had to stop and mentally figure out what Helen meant for us to do. Also, in the ingredients for the dough, you call for 1/4 cup of butter but call it 1 stick or 2 oz. I think you mean 1/2 a stick of butter. Again, novices may be confused. But the cake sounds delicious and I’m anxious to try it. To vertical filling technique is terrific! And looks easy! Thanks for the post!

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Irene, Thanks for the editiing. See my reply to Bruce. I usually, do my last edit on Sunday and post on the next day. I’m happy to have such good readers that help me when I need it. The vertical filling is fun and people can’t figure out how it’s done. Now you know!!

  3. yanogatorBruce

    I should have read it all first. In the filling directions, you say to add the figs and raisins (to the raisins and nuts). That should be to add the figs and dates.

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Bruce, This is so funny. The blog was not to have been posted until Monday. I was to finish editing it today. But I obviously got ahead of myself and put the wrong date on the “publish” button. Thanks for the catches. All has been corrected and, having read it again, I think everything is as it should be.

  4. Bruce

    You missed a step, Helen. You don’t have instructions about the flour and yeast (but you do have a picture). You say to add the liquid mixture, but you didn’t tell us what we were adding them to. Experienced bakers can figure it out, but novices could be very confused. I’m eager to try this, because I love raisins, figs, and dates, and REALLY love crumb topping.

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