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.