There’s something to be said for recipes that don’t turn out as planned. You can learn a lot, actually.
Take, for instance, the latest recipe that I made from Joy the Baker Cookbook: 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes. The finished product was amazingly delicious. It was this moist, sweet, full of cinnamon and a touch of chocolate coffee cake that puts every other breakfast food, or dessert for that matter, to shame. And it was huge. Like giant. A 9 x 13 coffee cake.
But…the original recipe just didn’t agree with my oven. I assembled this monster of a coffee cake, layering cake batter and filling and cake batter and streusel topping. I lovingly placed it in my preheated oven, and set the timer for 55 minutes. Then, I looked through the oven window every 5 or so minutes, impatiently waiting for it to bake.
An hour is a long time to wait when you are baking something that smells as wonderful as this sour cream coffee cake.
So finally, the timer went off. I did the tooth pick test and it all appeared to be ready to go. And then, because I couldn’t wait any longer, I cut into it, ignoring the suggestion to wait 20-30 minutes before cutting.
I’m so glad that I ignored it, because when I cut into the coffee cake, I discovered that half of it was still batter. It hadn’t baked all the way through. Not even close.
Thus began the game of adding more time while increasing the temperature of my oven until, finally, anther 30-45 minutes later, it was baked all the way through.
Amazingly, it still tasted wonderful. It both satisfied my sweet tooth, and demanded that I continue to eat it throughout the rest of the day. Funny how sweets can do that.
I had to know what went wrong. In my head, there were only two possibilities, my oven wasn’t working right, or there was a typo in the recipe. Both ideas equally horrifying. So I emailed my fellow bloggers participating in the Cookbook Spotlight asking for help, and immediately ran to Target to purchase an oven thermometer.
What I learned was this:
- An oven thermometer is a baker’s best friend.
- My oven is fine (phew). BUT, it takes F.O.R.E.V.E.R. to preheat. In fact, when the beep has sounded indicating that it’s ready, it still has at least 50 degrees to go.
- The recipe is correct. Heather from girlichef and hostess of the Cookbook Spotlight made the original Joy the Baker Cookbook recipe and it worked perfectly in her oven.
- My oven does not like giant coffee cakes. BUT, it does like small ones.
- I prefer a streusel topping heavy on butter and sugar, so it doesn’t crumbly when cut into.
I considered posting Joy’s recipe as it is written in the cookbook, knowing that it worked for Heather, and adding a disclaimer that it didn’t work perfectly for me. But I just couldn’t let it go. I’m obsessive, I admit, and when something is stuck in my head, it won’t go away until I induldge in the obsession.
So, I made the coffee cake. Again. All four layers of it. Only this time I adjusted the streusel layer, and made two smaller cakes, instead of one large cake.
The result, was amazing. Ah-maz-ing. It baked beautifully. Perfectly. The cinnamon-streusel topping had just the right amount of butter to hold it all together. The cake was light, fluffy and moist. The filling, this magical combination of brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cocoa just made my mouth sing.
My obsession was satisfied and I’m now completely confident in sharing this recipe with you. It’s enough to feed a small crowd, seriously, but it freezes wonderfully if you can’t eat it all right away. It will wait for you. Calling from the depths of your freezer. Tempting you every second, of every day.
Pssst…Joy the Baker Cookbook: 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes is coming out this Tuesday, February 28th. Have you pre-ordered your yet?
A light, sweet and moist coffee cake enriched with a cinnamon filling and cinnamon streusel topping. This streusel-topped sour cream coffee cake puts every other breakfast food to shame.
- 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1-1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I used dark chocolate cocoa powder)
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3/4 cups (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 3-3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
- 1-1/2 cups milk
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place a rack in the upper third of the oven. Line two 8x8 pans with parchment paper or spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Stir in the butter until evenly coated. Set aside.
- In a small bowl whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugars until well combined, about 4 minutes.
- Beat in the vanilla.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each one. Scrape the sides of the bowl between each egg, or as needed.
- In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In another small bowl whisk together the milk and yogurt (or sour cream) until well combined (you don't need to whisk out all of the lumps).
- With the mixer on low speed, add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the batter.
- As it mixes, add 1/2 of the milk mixture.
- Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by the rest of the milk mixture.
- Add the remaining 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix until well combined, scraping down the bowl as needed.
- Spread 1/4 of the batter (a little less than 1-1/2 cups) in the bottom of each prepared pan, spreading it to the edges.
- Sprinkle half of the filling on top of the batter (a little more than 1/2 cup per cake).
- Dollop 1/4 of the batter (a little less than 1-1/2 cups per cake) on top of the filling, using a spatula to spread the batter across the pan. This will take a little work.
- Using a butter knife, gently swirl the filling into the batter.
- Sprinkle 1/2 of the topping on each cake (about 1/1-2 cups).
- Bake for 50-55 minutes in a preheated oven, or until the cake is golden brown and a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Cake will last, well wrapped, at room temperature for 4 to 5 days. It can also be frozen. To reheat, thaw overnight on the counter or place in a preheated oven to 300 degrees, and heat until warmed through.
Adapted from Joy the Baker Cookbook
All Amazon.com links are affiliate links.
This post is part of the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted at girlichef
Did you know that you can save my recipes in your very own recipe box, courtesy of ZipList? Just click on the link above, under "recipes" to get started. Want to learn more? Hop on over to read about this awesome new feature.