Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

One of the best parts of baking is the people who appreciate what you make. I think for a lot of us, that's why we do it- it's nice to make other people happy. My mom's office knows that I love to bake, and they constantly bug her about when I'll send in something for all of them. So I decided to bake something for my mom to bring in right before she took her Christmas vacation.

I went with an old favorite recipe from Ina, one of my favorite cooks. It's her sour cream coffee cake- a moist, sweet, and delicious cake that reveals a hidden layer of streusel inside, and a streusel and maple glaze on top.

The cake is extremely straightforward, and very easy to assemble, despite its impressive looking presentation. However, be warned- it's not for dieters! (It is coming from Ina, after all). It's got two sticks of butter and more than a cup of sour cream in it (no wonder it tastes so good...). I promise if you try this cake, you'll love it. It's the perfect thing to bring to a casual gathering or for the office- it's simple, delicious, and who doesn't like coffee cake?

The recipe is as follows. I haven't altered anything, so I just pasted it verbatim from the Food Network. You can find that page here: http://http//

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sour cream
2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the streusel:
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional

For the glaze:

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons real maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Finish stirring with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.
For the streusel, place the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a bowl and pinch together with your fingers until it forms a crumble. Mix in the walnuts, if desired.
Spoon half the batter into the pan and spread it out with a knife. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup streusel. Spoon the rest of the batter in the pan, spread it out, and scatter the remaining streusel on top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
Let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Carefully transfer the cake, streusel side up, onto a serving plate. Whisk the confectioners' sugar and maple syrup together, adding a few drops of water if necessary, to make the glaze runny. Drizzle as much as you like over the cake with a fork or spoon.

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