When I think of coffee cake, I think of the Entenmann’s ones of my youth. They satisfied my sugar cravings and were quick for Mom or Dad to pick up on their weekly trip to the grocery store. I remember them most whenever my Granny came for a visit. They were her favorite, so we’d always make sure to have one or two in the house for her to have in the morning with a cup of coffee, usually before the rest of the house had awaken from their slumber. When I’d get up, she’d sit at the table with me and enjoy another piece. Those are great memories, but now that I’m grown, I crave something a little different. Those grocery store coffee cakes just don’t cut it.
Coffee cake should be moist, have some kind of crumble or streusel, sometimes nuts, and some kind of powdered sugar, coating, or glaze. This cake has all of those things. The recipe is from Ina Garten and reminds me of the sour cream coffee cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse in Ann Arbor, my favorite place for sweets when I’m not in the mood to make them myself. Dare I say it might be even better?
I used a Bundt pan, instead of the recipe’s tube pan. This caused me to put all of the streusel on the inside of the cake, but it turned out really well; I actually think that was a change for the best. It leaves a really thick, moist layer of streusel in the middle of the cake, perfect for presentation purposes, not to mention tasty. I also left the walnuts in large pieces, as I like walnuts in some bites, but not others. I mixed the batter entirely by hand, an easy task as long as the butter is truly at room temperature. I often begin creaming, then gather the dry ingredients, before going back to the creaming and so on until everything is done. Then clean up is a breeze.
The cake had a firm exterior that revealed a dense, moist interior. This was really good, definitely meeting the expectations I had comparing it to the coffee cakes of my youth. I would double the glaze recipe in the future, as that would make a really good cake into a great one. The glaze itself was really nice and thick with a good flavor.
My Granny is no longer with us, so she won’t have a chance to try this cake, but I hope she would’ve liked it, maybe even more than the grocery store ones.
- 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs (pasteurized if you like)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cups sour cream
- 2 ½ cups cake flour (not self-rising)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- ¾ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a Bundt pan.
- Make the cake. Cream the butter and sugar with a spatula, making sure to press firmly to combine the two thoroughly, until the mixture is fully incorporated and light and fluffy. This may take a few minutes. A mixer would work as well. Add the eggs, then vanilla and sour cream. Mix until incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the flour to the wet ingredients, mix to combine, making sure to get rid of any bubbles of flour by pressing with the spatula.
- Make the streusel. In a medium sized bowl blend the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, butter, and walnuts with your fingers until it is crumbly.
- Place half the batter in the prepared pan, making sure it is even. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the batter, making sure to cover it all. The streusel layer should be quite thick. Uniformly spread the remaining batter on top. Bake for 45-55 minutes, depending on your oven, until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Let cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then invert the cake onto a cooling rack. It is important to get the cake out before it is completely cooled to ensure clean removal.
- Once the cake is completely cooled, whisk the confectioners’ sugar and maple syrup together. Drizzle over the cake immediately so the glaze doesn’t harden, and enjoy.
- The cake will keep at room temperature for a couple days or in the freezer cut into pieces, wrapped in parchment and foil, and placed in a zipper bag for three months. Thaw at room temperature for a couple hours, or place in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes for a slightly toasted outside or 325 degrees wrapped in parchment paper for 30 to 40 minutes for a soft texture. The glaze will become a bit hard in the oven (still delicious), but the cake will taste like the day you made it.