Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Are you looking for an easy weekend breakfast or brunch item that can also impress a crowd? This Sour Cream Coffee Cake is sure to fit the bill. It's moist, and sweet and a little crunchy. I make this all the time, but especially for holidays and family morning get togethers.
   The first time I had coffee cake was when I was little. I spent the night at my friend Erica's house and the next morning her mom made a 9x13 of coffee cake. I was very hesitant to try it (to say the least) because I was brought up to stay away from coffee in all forms; but with much convincing and repeated reassuring that there is no actual "coffee" in coffee cake I tried it. I immediately fell in love with the moist, sweet cake and the crumbly crunchy topping. I still remember that day fondly and coffee cake has always held a special place in my heart. Enough so that for my first Thanksgiving breakfast as a married woman I made this coffee cake for my hubby and my in-laws. It was such a hit that I don't even mess with any other recipes.
   I usually make it in two loaf pans, but today I opted for one bundt pan instead. You can make it with only one layer each of cake and topping (like in one 9x13) or in two layers (like I do with 2 loaf pans) or in three or four layers. I chose to do 4 layers today, but it's really up to you. The less layers you do, the more crumbly and crunchy the "topping" layer will be.

The first step is to make the "topping" layer. Brown sugar, cinnamon and chopped pecans.

Mix them all together (I just use my hands) and set the mixture aside for later.

The next step is to combine all the dry ingredients. I just do this in a small mixing bowl. Flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

You can sift them all together, but I usually just whisk them together instead.

In a large mixing bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer) add in the eggs, sugar and vanilla.

The butter (softened) also goes in now. (If you have the time and you want a lighter cake, you can beat the butter and sugar together for a good 10 minutes and then add the vanilla and eggs, but it's optional. Part of why I love this recipe is because it's mostly a dump cake. Just dump the ingredients in, stir and your done.)

Mix the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until completely incorporated.

When you have a smooth mixture, you will add the dry ingredients a little at a time. Start by adding 1/3 of the dry ingredients.

Then add 1/2 of the sour cream.

Next comes another 1/3 of the dry ingredients.

And then the other 1/2 of the sour cream.

Finally, the last 1/3 of the dry ingredients goes in and everything is mixed until thoroughly combined.

Grease your vessel of choice (mine is a bundt pan today), and put down a layer of batter. I'm making 4 layers today so I just put down a little. - Enough to just cover the bottom.

Then sprinkle on some of the "topping" mixture. Make sure the batter is evenly coated.

Then more batter.

And more "topping"

More batter - get the picture?

Add more "topping" (sorry, I forgot to take a picture of this one) and then the last of the batter.

The last of the topping goes on, and then it all gets baked. 350F for about an hour (until a skewer or cake tester comes out clean).

When it's done it will look something like this:

Let it cool until you're able to touch it with your bare hands (and not burn yourself of course), and then turn it out onto a plate, or cake platter.

The last step is to make a vanilla glaze. It's just powdered sugar, milk and vanilla.

Whisk it all together and ta-da! You have your glaze. :) (At this moment I hear Ina Garten in my head saying, "How easy was that?" Ah, the Barefoot Contessa herself. Sometimes you can't say it any better than her.) :)

When the cake is cool, drizzle on the glaze and serve it up! I like to add a little more glaze on each piece also, but that's totally optional.

Isn't it beautiful? And the hardest part was layering. My Baby girl does that with her colored blocks. ;)

I tried to get a shot of all the layers, but the first piece is always a little tricky.

Ah. Just take a deep breath. Breathe in the smell of warm vanilla and a hint of cinnamon.

It's to pretty, it's hard to dig in . . . . but not that hard.

After we had devoured 1/2 of the cake I took another shot so you could see all the layers. A masterpiece! Or at least a pretty cake. ;)
I'm sure you're going to love it as much as we do. Make it, drop a comment and let me know if this coffee cake has changed your life like it has mine. :)

Here's the recipe:
adapted from Betty Crocker

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Brown Sugar Mixture "topping":
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) salted butter, softened
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cup sour cream

Vanilla Glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 to 3 tsp milk

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease either 2 large loaf pans or 1 bundt (12 cup) pan. Mix together the Brown Sugar Mixture and set aside. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, vanilla, sugar and butter until smooth. Slowly add in 1/3 of the flour mixture. Then add 1/2 of the sour cream. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture, and then the last of the sour cream. Finish mixing with the last of the flour mixture until just combined. (Do not over mix.) Batter will be thick. Cover the bottom of your pan with a layer of batter. Sprinkle on a layer of the Brown Sugar Mixture. Continue to layer alternately, the batter and the Brown Sugar Mixture until both are gone. (The loaf pans will have 2 layers of each and the bundt pan will have 4 layers of each.) Finish with some Brown Sugar Mixture on top. Bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes. Cool completely before cutting and serving.    

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