Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sour Cream Coffee Cake...

We picked up a container of sour cream a couple of weeks ago (hello sale!) with full intentions to bake with it, but as things have been going lately, life turned busy and it somehow managed to crawl back behind a few containers of Greek yogurt. I noticed it again when I grabbed one of those yogurts for a granola snack (which came from a new recipe I need to get posted!) Saturday before menu planning for the week. Sparking the baking fire again, I went searching for a way to use it for the Weekly Wednesday Treat Day item and came across this Sour Cream Coffee Cake that sounded way to good to pass up (and no, there is no coffee used... yes, we get asked that whenever we make these types of cakes!).

The batter for this cake was like a big, overflowing bowl of clouds - light, billow-y and smooth, made using cake flour to ensure the cake will have a lovely tender crumb. I do recommend purchasing cake flour if you don't already have some handy - brands I've used numerous times before are Softasilk and Swan's Down, but I've recently just started using King Arthur's branded unbleached version and have found it works just as well, though the texture is not as ultra-fine. You could always try the common substitution of using all-purpose flour, taking out 2 tablespoons for every cup and replacing them with cornstarch, but I haven't personally used that method.

To give the cake some character, a crumbly streusel is scattered not only on top of the cake, but also used as a hidden layer inside. Half of the batter is spread into a tube pan, followed by the sugar-y crumbles made by working cold cubes of butter into a mixture of flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. For a bit of crunch, walnuts are also stirred into the streusel - pecans would be a good choice here too. I did double the recipe from the original as who doesn't love a boatload of streusel, but feel free to cut those ingredients in half for a lighter touch.

After the cake has baked and had a chance to cool, it easily released from the pan (have to love those two-piece tube pans for that reason alone), we had one more job to do before we called this cake complete - a snazzy maple-laced drizzle! All this entails is stirring together confectioners' sugar with enough pure maple syrup to make a thin enough glaze, which is haphazardly dribbled all over the top and sides.

The sour cream made the crumb incredibly moist, but if you're not a fan of its natural tang, don't be concerned, it doesn't translate into the cake's flavor. Between the rich brown sugar, cinnamon and crunchy walnuts, the streusel does play a starring role here, which made doubling it make sense, but it may have led to an issue I wasn't expecting.

I am a little disappointed in how the cake rose - it was fine on the sides and center near the tube, but the center ring seemed to peter out and stall. I'm going to guess it was the weight of the doubled streusel, but I'm not completely sold on that - any guesses out there? Saying that, Jeff and I both seem to think it did not affect the texture that much (it was a bit more dense than it probably should have been) and the flavor was still spot on.


  1. that is a beautiful cake! i love coffee cakes. yum!

  2. Your cake looks light and moist at the same time. Love coffee cake and this recipe looks like one I'll have to try.


  3. Oh wow. That cake looks fantastic. I especially love the interior shots as well as the beautiful drips of frosting. I find it funny that people ask you if there is any coffee in it. :-) Maybe it's because I cook and bake myself but I've always understood that it goes with coffee, not that there is any coffee in it. I also love the cake flour recommendations. I've only ever tried Softsilk, but now it makes me want to try some of the others.

    As a side bar, I'm up for a recipe contest. I'm sure you're swamped with your move, but if you had even a second to vote for me I'd be ever so grateful. Voting is open through Friday. Just view my video here(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCkllXlndi4) and mark that you ‘like it.’ Note that if you do not yet have a YouTube account it may prompt you to sign up for one. And yes, I’m a bit, err, awkward on camera. I have to say I have even greater appreciation for how hard it must be on The Next Food Network Star.

  4. This is my kind of cake... I make these for my family and they all have a little piece and head for the jelly bean jar. I on the other hand feel guilty seeing the uneaten cake and have extra pieces!

    I actually like how the cake looks with the "sunken" middle... not sure the reason. I've never understood the science part of baking, though I've always meant to learn more about it. Beautiful cake though, nicely done!

  5. Oh yum! This cake looks amazing! If only I wasn't going to be away next week I would definitely love to bake this up over the weekend and have it with my morning coffee during the week!

    I think I like the sunken middle...seems way more delicious with all the yummy goodness sinking it down on top.

  6. looks great but i don't like count nut

  7. oh this is so yummy.. I love coffee cakes!!

  8. LimeCake - Thanks!

    Partricia - Enjoy.

    Kelly - I went to vote!

    Kim - It didn't actually rise up enough to sink, which is odd! I'm guessing it was the weight on top.

    Christine - Good point!

    Angie - Thanks!

  9. Was your oven slightly too hot? When a cake rises round the edge it's normally that the batter edging the metal heats up too quickly and rises and the batter in the middle doesn't have a chance to catch up. It looks totally delish though!

    Great blog, btw, just stumbled upon me.

  10. RVick - Oven is good and since the tube pan has, well, a hollow tube, in the middle, it bakes pretty evenly. Good suggestion though!

  11. I love a good coffee cake. Double the streusel is always a good thing. Bookmarked :)

  12. Avanika - I completely agree!