6F tradition calls for us to write up a list of the stuff we want, as well as the restaurant of choice for dinner, and the dessert of choice as the “birthday cake.” Although we no longer all live together (which I still think is a crying shame :'( ), we try to continue this tradition as much as possible with as many people as we can get. <3 Last year, I couldn’t figure out what I wanted, but managed to narrow it down to monkeybread, cookie dough cheesecake bars, or an apple tart.
I heard mention from Diana about an “ass cake,” but she informed me that she had actually been saying, “Have you asked about the cake?” A good save, but they did admit later on that they had indeed had an “ass cake” in store for me, in honor of Cosmo. However, since Jun caught the plague and Nadia came over by way of Amtrak (which would have made cake transportation rather difficult), they made Monkeybread in my kitchen and exiled me to the family room for a “sexy pahtee” (stated with a hint of a British accent).
Monkeybread is really, really lumpy-looking (hence, the name, I guess), so they told me to pleaseplease request something smoother the following year so they could make the ass cake a reality. I’m on the opposite end of the coast for the time being though, or I would have requested kahlua cupcakes. :O
4 tbsp (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) unsalted butter, divided (2 tablespoons softened, 2 tablespoons melted)
1 cup milk, warm (around 110 degrees)
1/3 cup water, warm (also around 110 degrees)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 package or 2 1/4 tsp rapid rise, instant or bread machine yeast
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
2 tsp table salt
(Brown Sugar Coating)
-1 cup packed light brown sugar
-2 tsp ground cinnamon
-8 tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick or 4 ounces), melted
1) Get oven and pan ready. Preheat oven to 200°F. When oven reaches 200, turn it off. Butter pan with 2 tbsp softened butter. Set aside.
2) Make dough. In a large measuring cup, mix together milk, water, melted butter, sugar, and yeast.
3) Mix flour and salt in standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Turn machine to low and slowly add milk mixture. After dough comes together, increase speed to medium and mix until dough is shiny and smooth, 6 to 7 minutes. (Dough should be sticky, but if it too wet to come together into anything cohesive, add additional 2 tbsp flour.) Turn dough onto lightly floured counter and knead briefly to form smooth, round ball.
4) Mix flour and salt in large bowl. Make well in flour, then add milk mixture to well. Using wooden spoon, stir until dough becomes shaggy and is difficult to stir. Turn out onto lightly floured work surface and begin to knead, incorporating shaggy scraps back into dough. Knead until dough is smooth and satiny, about 10 minutes. Shape into taut ball and proceed as directed.
5) Coat large bowl with nonstick cooking spray or a tbsp of neutral oil. Place dough in bowl and coat surface of dough with more cooking spray or oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in warm oven until dough doubles in size (~1 hour).
6) For the brown sugar coating, place melted butter in one bowl. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a second one.
7) For the bread, flip dough out onto floured surface and gently pat into 8-in. squares.
8 ) Roll each piece of dough into ball. Working one at a time, dip balls in melted butter, allowing excess butter to drip back into bowl. (A fork would be helpful.) Roll in brown sugar mixture, then layer balls in pan, staggering seams where dough balls meet as you build layers.
9) Cover pan tightly with plastic wrap and place in turned-off oven until dough balls are puffy and have risen 1 to 2 inches from top of pan (50-70 min.).
10) To bake the bread, remove pan from oven and heat oven to 350°F. Unwrap pan and bake until top is deep brown and caramel might begin to bubble around edges, 30-35 min. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out on platter and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.