Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Home Cooking

This is another remnant of my cooking marathon last week. What's a cooking marathon without a touch of baking?

I find that when you haven't touched the oven for a long time, it can be very daunting to asign The One recipe to break the drought. Logically, it makes sense to pick something tried and tested so as to steadily rebuild one's confidence. Logic is all fair and good but what about EXCITEMENT? I didn't feel like mucking around with scones and cookies (the only things I can really garuntee success) so I settled into my library of cookbooks and started shortlisting would-be contenders.

I bought lots of cream cheese, mistakenly thinking that this was a common addition to cake batters that emphasized moisture. Um... oops, what I was actuallly thinking of was 'sour cream'. Anyway, I have lots of cream cheese now that I'm sure I will eliminate at a later date.

Back to the main event now. I finally found a sour cream cake recipe that tickled my fancy from Nick Malgieri's Modern Baker. Now, coffee cakes are a common type of cake that I've never made. Growing up in an Asian family, I never really 'got' what a coffee cake was. I always thought they were coffee-flavored. Then, that Seinfeld episode about Drake's Coffee Cake aired and I've never tried them but the show did a great job of describing, so I started picturing moist, soft coffee-flavored sponges with a crunchy crumble top.

Now, after my research, I'm coming to terms with the fact that coffee cakes, like tea cakes, are named so because they are for made for afternoon consumption, along with your caffinated beverage of choice. Ahh...

Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Makes 1 loaf or 1 tube cake


For the filling
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tsps ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 100g walnut pieces, coarsely chopped
For the batter
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 140g butter
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 225g sour cream

1. Set a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 160°C, grease a tube pan (or loaf tin) and set aside.
2. For the filling, combine the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and walnuts in a small bowl and set aside.3. For the cake batter, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in the bowl of an electric mixer. Stir well, by hand, to mix.
4. Add the butter, then beat at a low speed until the mixture is a smooth heavy paste, 1 to 2 minutes. If you find your mixture is too crumbly add a tablespoon or two of water.5. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolks and sour cream until well combined. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium and beat 1/3 of the egg mixture into the butter and flour. Beat for 1 minute.
6. Stop, scrape down the bowl, and then beat in another half of the egg mixture. Beat for 2 minutes. Repeat with the last of the egg mixture.7. Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using rubber spatula, give the batter a final mix to ensure everything is combined.
8. Scrape half the batter into the prepared tin and smooth the top. Scatter the nut and sugar mixture over the top. Scrape the remaining batter over the sugar and nut mixture and smooth the top.9. Bake the cake until it is well risen and firm, and a tooth pick inserted comes out clean, about 1 hour.
10. Remove the cake from the oven and cool in the tin for 5 minutes. Invert a rack over the tin and turn the cake out. Cool the cake completely before slicing.

This cake was an easy one to make. I loved the crumble topping. The sugar caramelized in the oven and effectively candied the walnuts. Yum!

As for the cake itself, it was nice and dense but I think I left mine in the oven too long because it was a tad dry. Initially, I thought this was the type of cake that would taste better warmed up in the microwave but I actually thought it was best straight out of the fridge.

One thing's for sure, it really goes with coffee.

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