Posts Tagged With: coffee

Sour Cream Coffee Cake


I have a lovely friend, Zachary, whom I rarely see for more than 30 seconds at a time.  He has the most fantastic speaking voice I have ever heard, and for some reason, whenever we cross paths, I have a tendency to let out my New York accent (I hail from Boston, so this manner of speaking is entirely foreign and just a voice I imitate), singing “ZACHARYYYY !” from across the room/street/hallway/take your pick.  In order to spend a little more “quality time” together, he suggested brunch.  What to make, what to make….Ooh !  I know !

Cawfeee cake !

My mom used to make this when I was little and bring it over to the relatives’ place for Easter morning nibbles. I thought it would be an appropriate addition to the Sunday brunch spread, as it isn’t a light cake – made with sour cream, it’s very moist and delicious with (what else?) coffee ! (Or tea, if you prefer a little Earl Grey in your life).  The mixture of cinnamon, oatmeal, and sugar on top is divine – I often add more than the recipe calls for.  Also – I did not have pecans in my pantry BUT chopped nuts are a must (if you like them) as they bring a little texture to the cake.

For the topping:

1/2 cup granulated or brown sugar, or 1/4 cup each
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup rolled oats

Put the flour, cinnamon, salt, sugar, cloves, and nutmeg in a small bowl and mix with a fork until crumble.  Add the nuts and oats and stir to combine.  Set aside.

For the batter:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream or plain yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
A sprinkling of cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease one 9-inch square pan,9-inch Bundt or tube pan, or 9-inch springform pan.  When I say grease, I am not joking,  Don’t skimp on the butter or the oil or the Pam when greasing this pan – my Bundt pan is old and dented and definitely not non-stick and I got my cake out just fine; however, know that it isn’t always easy given the nature of the topping.  You have been warned !

In a large bowl, beat the butter until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. It’s not easy to do in a whisk – your arm will be sleepy – but it’s worth it as this smooth incorporation will affect the texture in a positive way later (light and fluffy!).

Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Blend in the sour cream and vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the flour mixture, mixing until just combined.

Assembly :

Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula to make it even and flat.

Sprinkle with half of the streusel mixture – again, smoothing with the back of a spoon to keep the layer relatively level.

Carefully cover with the remaining batter and…

…sprinkle with the remaining streusel.

Bake until the cake is golden and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 50 minutes. It takes a long time to cook, but you’ll smell it when it is done – the top may also crack a little bit.  Set on a rack and let cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes. To remove from the Bundt pan, “run” a knife around the edges (really, just poke knife down the sides and lift a small bit all the way around the cake pan).  Turn the cake out onto a plate and tap the bottom.  If it doesn’t come out, run the knife around the edges again.  Tap tap tap. It should pop out with a little patience.

I prefer to serve this warm with a hot beverage but it’s just as good cold.  Gather your Sunday morning buddies, give them a cawl for cawfee cake and have a bawl !

Bon appétit !

Categories: English | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tiramisu Cupcakes

Tiramisu.  Famous cake.  Fancy cake.  The cake that never really made sense to me (but I always just accepted it because my mother likes it).  I’m pretty sure my dad likes it, too.  Moi ?  I’m not sold.  I never understood what was so appetizing about cookies soaked in syrup with a little whipped cream – the texture was strange, the taste felt wrong, and the temperature never correct.  However, a little mouse showed me a beautiful photo of Tiramisu cupcakes, suggesting I make them sometime.  (Yeah. Right. Sure. I don’t like this dessert, remember ?)

But they seemed so cute.  And approachable.  And oddly…intriguing.  So I skimmed a multitude of blogs to compare recipes and ideas and techniques and put together my own recipe for this Italian sweet.  I made a few changes that are IMPORTANT :  There was no rum involved in this cake.  No cookies, either.  The cake batter is spicy – not just vanilla.  The result ?  A fantastic and surprisingly LIGHT cupcake that made for a perfect breakfast sweet with coffee, an equally good teatime accoutrement, and a delectable (and beautiful) after-dinner dessert.  The cake is not too sweet and has a nice bite from the nutmeg, which sings with the use of frangelico, a hazelnut liqueur, otherwise known as the reason why the rum is GONE.  A little tip : ice these cupcakes as you go – the whipped cream frosting will otherwise make the cupcakes soggy and potentially make a large mess.  Furthermore, if you ice those babies, you’ll have to store them in the fridge…which will dry them out.  Avoid this if possible.  This recipe makes enough for 18 cupcakes (give or take).

For the cake :

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
2 tsp vanilla
6 eggs + 3 yolks
2 cups sugar
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Cocoa powder (for dusting)

Preheat oven to 325F.  Line 2 muffin tins with paper liners.  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  Set aside.  Heat the milk and butter over the stovetop (on low heat – DO NOT LET BOIL) until melted.  Stir in vanilla extract.

Mix together the egg yolks and eggs with the sugar.

Be sure to beat these ingredients until the eggs go from a deep, golden yellow to a light, lemony color.  This stage is called the “ribbon stage” – you’re there when you lift up the whisk and the yolks drizzle off in a long, thin stream – like a ribbon.  Clever, no ?

Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture in three batches. If the butter/milk combination is VERY HOT, mix about half the batter into the milk and then fold that mixture into the rest of the batter – this will prevent the eggs from cooking.  If the milk is at room temperature, you can simply add it slowly to the batter, stirring until JUST combined.

Pour the batter into the tins and cook for 20 minutes.

For the syrup :

2/3 cup STRONG coffee (or espresso)
5-8 tbsp Frangelico
1 tbsp sugar

Combine all ingredients over low heat until the sugar is dissolved.  Let cool.

For the frosting :

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
12 oz mascarpone cheese
1 cup confectioner’s sugar

(Before making the frosting, place the mixing bowl in the freezer to chill – this will help whip up the heavy cream.)

In a large bowl, whisk heavy cream until stiff and peaks form.  In another bowl, whisk together mascarpone and sugar until smooth.  Gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture until incorporated.

Assembly :

When the cupcakes have cooled, brush the tops with the coffee syrup.  I had a little runt cupcake that I used for testing for the syrup – I recommend sacrificing a cupcake (pick the ugly one) to sample.

Repeat this process until all of the syrup has been used.  Allow cupcakes to absorb liquid for several hours (eg 3.  But.  If you are impatient…it’s okay.  Nothing bad happens to those who nibble.)

Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with cocoa powder.  EAT !

Buon appetito !

Categories: English | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

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