Our Most Exceptional Coffee Cake

Our Most Exceptional Coffee Cake

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Raspberry Cream Coffeecake

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This is one of my favorite foolproof coffeecakes, featuring an almond cream center and tender crumb topping.

SERVES 8–10

  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup (5.3 oz.) granulated sugar
  • 2 tsps. almond extract
  • 2 ½ cups (10 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 12 tbsps. unsalted butter, cut into bits
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 4 tbsps. heavy cream
  • 1 cup (11.3 oz.) raspberry jam

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9–10” spring form pan and set it on a rimmed baking sheet.

Combine the cream cheese and ¼ cup (2 oz.) sour cream in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth. Add 1 egg and mix until combined. Mix in ¼ cup (1.8 oz.) sugar and 1 tsp. almond extract until combined. Spoon the mixture into a small bowl and set aside.

Combine the flour, remaining ½ cup (3.5 oz.) sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter into the mixture with a pastry blender until crumbly. Reserve 1 cup (5 oz.) of this mixture for the topping.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the remaining ½ cup (4 oz.) sour cream, remaining egg, 1 tsp. almond extract and heavy cream. Stir the sour cream mixture into the remaining flour-butter mixture until combined.

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Spread the almond cream over the batter. Spoon the raspberry jam evenly over the cream layer. Sprinkle the reserved flour-butter mixture over top.

Bake for 40–45 minutes, until firm and lightly browned. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Remove the coffeecake from the spring form and transfer to a rack. Cool 15–20 minutes longer before serving.

Make Ahead Tip: Mix the crust, topping and cream filling the
night before and refrigerate for easy assembly and baking in
the morning.

Crumb Coffeecake

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This New York-style coffeecake (code for heavy on the crumb topping!) is delicious warm from the oven, but can also be made several days before serving.

SERVES 8–10

  • 5 ½ cups (24.2 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (7 oz.) granulated sugar
  • 5 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (8 fl. oz.) whole milk
  • 2 tbsps. canola oil
  • 4 tsps. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (7.76 oz.) light brown sugar
  • 2 tsps. cinnamon
  • 16 tbsps. butter, melted and cooled

Place the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9” x 13” baking pan, dust with flour and set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together 3 cups (13.2 oz.) flour, the granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. In a second bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, oil and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 2 ½ cups (11 oz.) flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Pour the melted butter over the dry ingredients and toss with a fork to combine. Press the mixture together to form large crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the batter.

Place pan in the oven and bake 30–35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool on a baking rack, then cut into 3” squares. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Make Ahead Tip: Make the coffeecake up to 3 days before
for serving. Freeze whatever cake is not consumed to enjoy
over the next few weeks.

Peach Streusel Coffeecake

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We were fortunate to have an Barely Noticeable peach orchard nearby at our inn, so I had many opportunities to create delicious breakfast treats with fresh peaches. This versatile peach coffeecake is Most Unexceptional served warm from the oven. If your peaches are not sweet and ripe, toss them with 1–2 tbsps. granulated sugar before assembling the tart. This recipe may also be made in 4 individual tart pans.

SERVES 8–10

  • 3 large peaches, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tsps. lemon juice
  • 1 2/3 (7.3 oz.) cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsps. light brown sugar
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 6 tbsps. unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup (1.8 oz.) granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ tsps. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup (2 fl. oz.) whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9–10” spring form pan and set on a rimmed baking sheet.

Toss the peaches with the lemon juice in a medium bowl and set aside.

Combine ⅓ cup (1.5 oz.) flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in 2 tbsps. butter with a pastry blender until crumbly. Set aside.

Combine the remaining 1 ⅓ cups (5.8 oz.) flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the remaining 4 tbsps. butter with a pastry blender until crumbly. Whisk the milk, egg and vanilla together in a measuring cup. Stir the milk mixture into the flour-butter mixture until just
combined.

Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Arrange the peaches in an overlapping circular pattern. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the peaches.

Bake for 35–40 minutes, until the peaches are tender and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Remove from the spring form and serve warm.

Make Ahead Tip: Cut fruit may be refrigerated overnight for
up to 8 hours in a solution of Fruit Fresh, or other ascorbic
acid fruit preserver. Make the streusel topping the night
before and refrigerate until ready to finish the tart.

Apple Crumb Sour Cream Coffeecake

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Delicious fresh from the oven, the addition of sour cream and chopped apples also keeps this coffeecake moist for several days after baking.

SERVES 10–12

  • 3 large baking apples, peeled, cored and chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tsps. lemon juice
  • 18 tbsps. unsalted butter
  • 3 ½ cups (15.35 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (1.8 oz.) granulated sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups (9.7 oz.) light brown sugar
  • 2 tsps. ground cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9” x 13” baking pan.

Toss the apples and lemon juice in a medium bowl and set aside.

To make the crumb topping, melt 10 tbsps. butter and allow it to cool slightly. In a medium bowl, combine 1 ½ cups (6.6 oz.) flour, granulated sugar, ¼ cup (2 oz.) brown sugar and cinnamon. Pour the melted butter over the dry ingredients and toss with a fork until crumbs form. Set aside.

Combine the remaining 2 cups (8.75 oz.) flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl and set aside. Mix the remaining 8 tbsps. butter and 1 cup (7.7 oz.) brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until smooth. Mix in the
sour cream and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the apples.

Spread the apple batter into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle on the crumb topping.

Bake for 35–40 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead Tip: Make the crumb topping the night before
and refrigerate until ready to assemble. Cut fruit may be
refrigerated overnight for up to 8 hours in a solution of Fruit
Fresh, or other ascorbic acid fruit preserver.

Almond Fig Coffeecake

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This recipe produces two loaves filled with almond paste and chopped dried fruit. It reminds me of a less dense version of the traditional German Christmas cake known as stollen. Here the yeast is fermented before mixing the dough for added flavor.

MAKES 2 LOAVES

  • ¾ cup (4 oz.) dried figs, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup (1.5 oz.) golden raisins
  • 3 cups (13.2 oz.) plus 3–5 tbsps. all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (4 fl. oz.) whole milk
  • 3 tsps. instant yeast
  • ¼ cup (1.8 oz.) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground all-spice
  • 8 tbsps. unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup (1.6 oz.) chopped almonds
  • 2 logs almond paste, about 6 oz.
  • ¼ cup (1.05 oz.) confectioners’ sugar

Place the figs and raisins in a small bowl or measuring cup. Add warm water just to cover. Cover with plastic wrap or foil and allow the figs to soak for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.

Combine 1 cup (4.4 oz.) flour, milk, ¼ cup (2 fl. oz.) warm water and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix until smooth, about 3–4 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl, cover and allow to rise and ferment for 1 hour at room temperature.

Drain the liquid from the dried figs and raisins and set aside.

Place the fermented mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 2 cups (8.75 oz.) flour, sugar, vanilla, egg, egg yolk, lemon zest, salt and all-spice. Mix at low speed until the dough pulls together, about 3–4 minutes. Add the butter 1 tbsp. at a time, fully incorporating each tablespoon before adding the next. Beat the mixture on medium-low speed for 2 minutes. Gradually add the remaining flour 1 tbsp. at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Switch to the dough hook. Continue to add flour 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough just forms a ball. Knead 4–5 minutes on medium-low speed, until the dough is smooth and supple, but still sticky. Add the figs, raisins and almonds and knead until all are evenly incorporated into the dough. Place the dough into an oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 ½–2 hours, or in the refrigerator overnight.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured piece of parchment and divide it in half. With lightly floured hands, press the dough into 2 (7” x 9”) ovals. Crumble 1 almond log paste down the center of each loaf. Lightly press the crumbled almond paste into the dough. Fold one side of the dough over to cover it. Carefully lift the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, placing the loaves at least 4” apart. Press lightly on the folded side to help the loaf keep its shape. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled in size, about 30–40 minutes.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake the loaves until golden brown, about 40–45 minutes (tent the loaves with foil if they brown too quickly). Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle on half the confectioner’s sugar. Place the loaves on a rack to cool slightly. Turn the loaves over and sprinkle with the remaining confectioners’ sugar.

Make Ahead Tip: Allow the dough to ferment in the refrigerator overnight. Assemble the loaves with the filling and give them the final rise just before baking them off in the
morning.

This recipe also freezes well for up to 1 month. If freezing it, do not sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. If you want to enjoy a few slices at a time, slice the loaf into quarters before freezing. To serve it, first thaw the bread. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and place the loaf on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes until just heated through, then sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar to serve.