Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sour Cream Streusel Coffee Cake

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Today was the third Saturday in our annual coffee-and-doughnut open houses, and it was a terrible scramble. The coffee cake, from Rose's The Cake Bible, was late coming out of the oven. (Well, more accurately, I was late putting it into the oven). It was the coldest morning of the year so far--I didn't go outside at all because I was intent on denying how many degrees below zero it was--and we underestimated the number of people who would be here. Hence, we underestimated the number of doughnuts to buy.
The doughnuts disappeared from the platter. The coffee cake's tempting aroma was wafting from the kitchen, but the cake was still not quite done. People were banging their coffee cups against the table, shouting, "We want food! We want food!" Cold January Saturdays seem to put normally taciturn Minnesotans in a rambunctious mood.
At last, I was able to take the cake from the oven. I cut it as soon as I could, barely letting it cool. With the exception of an almost burned layer on the bottom, it was an exceptionally good coffee cake, maybe the best sour cream coffee cake I've ever tasted. One layer of cake, a layer of streusel, another layer of cake, sliced apples, and a final layer of streusel on top. The streusel was crunchy with walnuts, the cake was soft, rich and buttery, and the apples added a slightly tart counterpoint.
It's baked in a springform pan, and it's a high cake--it rises to fill the pan. I'm not quite sure how I could have avoided the too-dark bottom because I took it out of the oven as soon as it firmed up in the middle. I might try turning the oven down from 350 to 325 the next time I make it, or maybe, if I don't have a bunch of hungry people in the next room, I might try taking it out of the oven when it's just slightly undercooked and hope it finishes cooking while it's cooling. It's so delicious that it's worth trying again, and if I ever perfect it, it just might lead to fame and fortune.


evil cake lady said...

i'm serious, this coffee cake DOES lead to fame and fortune, it is THAT GOOD.

i am always thrown by how long it takes to bake; so when i make it for functions i am usually late too!

here's a tip: assemble all the dry ingredients in the mixer bowl the night before, as well as put out your premeasured amount of butter and eggs and make the streusel. that way when you get up you only have to slice the fruit and mix everything up together before throwing it in the oven--saves a lot of time.

so...did everybody else like it??

Anonymous said...

I was looking at that recipe just a couple of days ago, and now I can see what it should look like! I looks really good and it probably tastes just as good. I might try that one, the problem we have here in the UK is the differences in the flours and most of Rose's recipes in the cake bible are made with cake flour which has a different protein content to ours, the AP flour doesn't seem to cause as many problems, at least I haven't found it to. I read your blog regularly and love it by the way, Jeannette.

Doughadear said...

How wonderful that you do this for your friends every Saturday in January. The coffee cake looks delicious and my guess is that it is perfect with a cup of coffee.

Melinda said...

I bet that was just the ticket on a cold January morning. I can imagine the smell of it baking was pure pheromone to hungry guests!
It looks delicious. I think I will try to make it too, soon.

Jeanette...I am sure this would turn out fine with microwave treated flour. I will try it with the Waitrose Organic plain flour, treating it first and write to you about how it turned out.

breadbasketcase said...

Good idea to have everything ready before the morning rush. Did you have the burnt-bottom problem when you made it? That truly was the only thing between this coffee cake and perfection. The guests loved it--although some carefully cut off the bottom-most part.

I think when I go to England this fall, which is the plan, I am going to have to take along an entire suitcase filled with contraband flour. I'm afraid that I think this coffee cake really does need low-protein cake flour for the very best texture, although I also think you could use an all-purpose flour and be quite happy with the results. Thanks for reading.

They don't call it coffee cake for nothing! We started doing the coffee hours because we never saw our neighbors in January--this is great fun for us.

I hope to see pictures of this on your blog very soon. Tell me if you're able to bake it without the worrisome black bottom.

Anonymous said...

Like you and her breads, I've made almost every recipe out the The Cake Bible. This is one of my favorites so I would say to try again for sure. I've discovered that the cheap springform pans burn more easily on the bottom, for what it's worth. Don't know if that applies to your pan...

breadbasketcase said...

Thanks--the pan wasn't especially cheap, but it is a dark metal, which, come to think of it, I've found does burn more easily. It's probably worth trying it in a different pan.

pinknest said...

mmmm i love sourcream coffeee cake of all kinds! this is some serious looking streusel. yum!

evil cake lady said...


My first springform pan is a dark metal pan, and the bottom of the coffee cake would be VERY browned, as in practically burnt.

So I bought an aluminium pan and still, the bottom is well-browned, but not burnt! It does help to take the cake out just as it is finished baking, but before it pulls away from the edge of the pan, as Rose instructs.

AND, I forgot to mention: this pairs quite nicely with strawberry ice cream!

Anonymous said...

Hi Marie,

Your fougasse is absolutely gorgeous!!!! Thank you for trying the recipes, I'm so glad you are having such beautiful success. Thanks for sharing the book with your readers.

Be sure to visit our websites where we post a helpful errata sheet. As much as we tried to catch all the mistakes a few remain!

Thanks, Zoe Francois

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Oh my I think I need coffee cake! Sounds so good with all the layers and high!

breadbasketcase said...

The streusel has walnuts in it, which makes it even better than regular streusel.

Well, I'm just going to have to invest in a new pan. Strawberry ice cream--that never would have occurred to me!

Oops--I think I answered you on the semolina bread post. Did you think about using gram measurements as well as cups in your book? I know it's not an American habit, but now that I've started using a scale, it's hard for me to go back to cups and tablespoons.

As I'm reading this again, I feel like I need coffee cake too.

rpse said...

i wouldn't turn down the oven bc then the streusel may sink. instead bake it a little higher in the oven or put a baking pan under it to create the insulation of a double pan effect. your oven may be producing too much bottom heat but the all egg yolk and long baking time conspires to create this potential problem! i always use the cake strips for the sides to mitigate against it.

breadbasketcase said...

Thanks for the hints--I noticed the hint about cake strips in the recipe, but not until it was too late to go out and get some. They sound like a good investment. The cake is so wonderful that it's worth a couple of tries to make it perfect!