Travellust.


Tried and True.
1 August, 2007, 11:36 pm
Filed under: Sweets

coffeecake.jpg

I’ve reached a point in my personal studies with food and recipe experimentation, still very elementary, to where I like to pick an outcome, but try different ways of getting there, in search of the “best” if you will. The outcome of this labor is in a great deal of invested product and time, especially when most recipes are of a baking method, which we all know takes time and patience.

When I came across fresh, local and very modestly priced blueberries at the farmer’s market a few weeks back, I decided that I didn’t want to go the usual muffin route, but I didn’t want to get to technical either. So, I settled on an area of baked goods that I hadn’t visited since I first put my hands on the degree button of the oven: quick breads.

To my credit, I have very little experience with making them, so I always turn to a professional who has tried their own recipes at least a dozen times, of which many are favorites at their local shops. This time I chose Ina Garten. Although she is a Food Network “star” and personality, I’ve had great success with many of her treats, so when I came across her sour cream coffee cake, I knew that it would be a great avenue in which to showcase the blueberries’ intense flavor.

The result was exactly as I wanted it to be, excellent. But, for some reason, as metioned before, I was curious to see if there was someone who could do it better, and so I turned to Martha Stewart, whose recipe was just slightly different, and in the end I came out unhappy. I guess it just goes to show you that sometimes, you shouldn’t try to fix it if it isn’t broken.

I’ve adapted this recipe for my own tastes, and because I do not have a tube pan, like most all coffee cake recipes call for, I tried it first in two loaf pans, and then again in one loaf pan and a standard 12-muffin pan. Both resulted in a very moist, dense, but incredibly light and not too-sweet cake.

Again, with most recipes like quick breads, they are flexible after the standard measurements of flour, butter, eggs, and the various powders in which backbone the recipes. I urge you to try this recipe with different fruits, flavors and wet ingredients. Not a big fan of sour cream, I opted for low-fat Greek yogurt the second time, and I was just as pleased if not more than the first.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Adapted from Ina Garten at Foodnetwork.com

Ingredients

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sour cream ** (I used non-fat or low-fat Greek yogurt here)
2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
** I added 2 cups of blueberries to the batter before it went into the pans

Method

For the streusel: 
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed 
1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces 
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional
For the glaze: 
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar 
2 tablespoons real maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and sour cream.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Finish stirring with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.

For the streusel, place the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a bowl and pinch together with your fingers until it forms a crumble. Mix in the walnuts, if desired.
Spoon half the batter into the pan and spread it out with a knife. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup streusel. Spoon the rest of the batter in the pan, spread it out, and scatter the remaining streusel on top.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
Let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Carefully transfer the cake, streusel side up, onto a serving plate.

Whisk the confectioners’ sugar and maple syrup together, adding a few drops of water if necessary, to make the glaze runny. Drizzle as much as you like over the cake with a fork or spoon.

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