By Kim Ode Minneapolis Star Tribune
Just to be clear: There is no coffee in coffee cake.
Rather, it’s a cake generally so rich and gooey with butter and cinnamon and sugar — and, if a truly proper coffee cake, crowned with crumbly streusel — that it’s best nibbled with a mug of strong, steaming coffee within reach.
The origins of coffee cake are both familial and universal. Many cultures have a tradition of a sweet cake for breakfast or for morning or mid-afternoon coffee breaks.
Spicy, streuselly coffee cake seems especially American, though. It’s fair to speculate that many people’s idea about coffee cake came from the recipe that for years was on boxes of Bisquick.
Convenience is lovely, but baking from scratch is fulfilling, especially when the results are as scrumptious as this coffee cake.
Just to be clear: You need four bowls: for the streusel, the filling, the batter and the flours. But each component comes together in a trice, and the cake even can be assembled the night before and baked in the morning.
This coffee cake can accommodate some personalization, as well: Add a layer of thinly sliced peeled apples to the filling, or a smattering of blueberries. Or toast a handful of walnuts or pecans in the oven or a skillet, then chop and add to the topping.
Cinnamon streusel coffeecake
1/2cup granulated sugar
1/4cup all-purpose flour
1/4cup whole-wheat pastry flour
3tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2tablespoons cinnamon
3/4cups unsalted butter, room temperature
11/2cups granulated sugar
1/3cup dark brown sugar
3/4cup plain yogurt
3cups all-purpose flour
3/4cup whole-wheat pastry flour
2 1/2teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4cups milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a tube pan* with removable bottom or a 9-by-13-inch cake pan.
To make the streusel: Combine granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, whole-wheat pastry flour, cinnamon and melted butter. Mix well and set aside.
To make the filling: In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Mix well and set aside.
To make the cake: In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, granulated and brown sugars, salt and vanilla until well combined and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the yogurt and mix.
In a small bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and whole-wheat pastry flours and baking powder.
Add the flour mixture to the batter mixture alternately with the milk, starting and ending with the flour.
Spoon half the batter (a scant 3 cups) into the prepared baking pan, spreading to the edges. Sprinkle the filling evenly over the batter. Spoon the remaining batter over the filling, spreading to the edges. Sprinkle with streusel topping.
Bake the cake until it’s a dark golden brown around the edges and springs back when pressed gently, about 50 to 60 minutes for the 9- by 13-inch pan, or 60 to 70 minutes for the tube pan. Cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Makes 20 servings. Per serving: Calories: 306; Fat: 10 g; Sodium: 206 mg; Carbohydrates: 50 g; Saturated fat: 6 g; Calcium: 96 mg; Protein: 5 g; Cholesterol: 53 mg; Dietary fiber: 2 g. Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 bread/starch, 21/2 other carb, 2 fat.
Note: This recipe is adapted from King Arthur Flour. We swapped in some whole-wheat pastry flour, available in co-ops, for some of the all-purpose flour, but you can make it using only all-purpose, if you prefer.
We made ours in a tube pan with a removable bottom — crucial to being able to release the cake — but you also can make this in a 9- by 13-inch pan, which takes less time to bake. (Check for doneness at 50 minutes with the oblong pan.)
You can assemble this batter the night before, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Then bake as directed in the morning, adding 5 to 10 minutes to the time to account for the batter being chilled.