Coffee Cake

Bday cake

Half a year has already passed by and it seems like just yesterday that we celebrated the start of a new year. Sumner is on its full bloom now, after what has been a very long winter. It feels so good to look outside at the clear blue skies and the greenery all around. I have come to appreciate such days even more, thanks to the East-coast weather.

Last couple of weeks have been quite busy. With the weather improving tremendously, the weeks go by planning summer events, weekend trips and concerts. Reading, movies and friends occupy the rest of the hours. And now-a-days of course the soccer matches. The blog had been going down in my list of priorities. It was only as I was changing the calendar for the month of July that I remembered this post pending since May. So finally, here it is. And though I silently promise to be a bit regular on my blog, I have stopped apologizing to my readers for my disappearances once in a while with the hope that they must have gotten used to it by now.

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Today I will talk about the cake I made for my husband’s birthday. Though I love baking, I have not really tried out different cake recipes. Reason is that both of us prefer the sponge cake (recipe) that I had learnt from my mom. However this time I wanted to make something different. A while ago we had got an amazing coffee cake for a friend’s birthday from a nearby bakery. Since then I had been wanting to bake one of my own and what better day to do this than a birthday.

Interestingly, Coffee cake has no coffee in it, quite contrary to what I had assumed. It is known as a coffee cake as it is usually had with coffee.

Stephanie’s Joy of Baking had this recipe of a coffee cake which looked exactly like the one I had had. Being a big fan of her website which has wonderful baking videos and techniques, I did not want to look any further. The original recipe can be found here, the only change that I did was used plain yogurt instead of sour cream. As the recipe suggests using yogurt instead of sour cream gives a lighter textured cake.

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Ingredients:

  • All purpose flour – 1 2/3 cups or 215 gms
  • Baking Powder – 1 tsp
  • Baking Soda – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Unsalted butter (at room temperature)- 1/2 cup or 113 gms
  • White Sugar – 1 cup
  • Eggs – 2
  • Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • Sour Cream / Yogurt – 3/4 cup or 180 ml

For the Crumb topping –

  • Walnuts or Pecans – 1 cup (I used a combination of walnuts and pecans, but you can use other nuts of your preference.)
  • Light brown sugar – Little less than 1/4 cup
  • Mini Chocolate chips – 1/3 cup. (I used the semi sweet ones but you can use any that you prefer.)
  • All purpose flour – 1 tbsp
  • Ground cinnamon – 1/2 tsp

Crumb Topping

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Prepare a baking pan, preferably a spring form pan so that you don’t have to flip the baked cake which might result in messing up the crumb topping. I did not have one so i used a Bundt pan and needless to mention some of the crumb topping came out while flipping it. Whatever pan you choose, grease it with butter and dust it lightly with flour or line the greased pan with a parchment paper.

Prepare the crumb topping –

  • Dry roast the nuts on stove top or bake in a preheated oven at 350F for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant. Let them cool. Coarsely chop them.
  • In a bowl mix the chopped nuts with the other ingredients mentioned for crumb topping – sugar, chocolate chips, flour and cinnamon and keep aside.

Prepare the Cake Batter –

  • In a bowl mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, whisk together and keep aside.
  • In a  separate bowl add the softened butter and beat it well using a hand mixer / stand mixer.
  • Gradually add the sugar and beat well till light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition. Using a spatula or a spoon scrape the sides of the bowl so that everything is well incorporated.
  • Beat in the vanilla extract.
  • Next gradually add the flour in three additions alternating with the sour cream. Mix till everything is well combined and there are no lumps.

Assemble the Coffee Cake –

  • Since the batter will be thick, spoon out half of the batter into the prepared pan and smoothen the top with a spatula or the back of the spoon. If using a Bundt pan spoon out the mixture and place dollops of it all over the pan. This makes spreading the batter, in the Bundt pan, easy.
  • Sprinkle evenly approximately half of the crumb topping on top of the batter.
  • Again spoon out the remaining batter into dollops all over the crumb mixture. Lightly level it out so as not to disturb the crumb layer.
  • Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly.
  • Bake for about 40 – 50 minutes or until the cake is done and a toothpick inserted in tehe middle of the cake comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes.
  • If using spring form cake, release the sides of the pan. If using any other cake pan, do what I did – gently flip the cake onto a plate. At this stage some of the crumb topping might come out. Take another plate and flip it once again so that the side with the crumb topping on top faces up. Gather the crumb topping that had come out of the cake and sprinkle it on top of it and press gently.

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Note: For a denser texture use sour cream and for a lighter cake use yogurt. Though I used yogurt, I would want to use sour cream the next time to for the denser texture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Butter Cookies

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All those who know me or read my blog will know how much I love to bake. There is no better mood-booster than beating up a dough and baking it till perfection. So when my husband got a $50 gift coupon from Sears beginning of this year, I knew instantly how to put it to good use. Thereby came home an electric mixer and a food processor. And thus my effortless entry into the world of baking.

More than savoring the home-baked goodies, I like the process of preparing it; taking out my measuring cups, scooping out the flour, kneading the dough with my hands, sprinkling flour, the wonderful aroma – everything is like a therapy for me.

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Last winter was terrible. With 3-4 inches of snow piled outside there was no way I wanted to go outside to buy those blue boxes of Danish butter cookies; so when the craving set in, out came my bakers hat and I inaugurated my hand mixer with this butter cookie recipe from here while BBC helped me in clicking some of the pics. Since that winter morning I never got around to upload this post and was looking for a special occasion to do so.

Now as I participate in the Bake Fest Event #21 hosted by AmritaVishal of Sweet ‘n’ Savory , I think it is a good timeBakeFest-200 to share this entry of Home Baked Butter Cookies with you all. And trust me, if you have a hand mixer you can do this in a jiffy!

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 Ingredients:

  • Butter, unsalted and softened – 1 cup or 8 oz
  • Granulated sugar – 3/4 cup
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Vanilla extract – 1 1/2 tsp
  • Egg yolk – 1 large
  • All-purpose flour – 2 cups

Method:

  • In a big bowl add the softened butter, sugar, salt and vanilla and beat them together until smooth and creamy.

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  • Add the egg yolk and beat in till everything is well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

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  • Add the flour and beat just until incorporated.

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  • Sprinkle some flour onto a work surface and transfer the dough.
  • Knead it lightly just till the dough smooths out.
  • Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a log (round or square) that is about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
  • Using the flat surface of the knife smooth out the sides so that you have sharp edges.

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  • Wrap each log in a plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until firm (at least two hours or preferably overnight). Can also freeze the unbaked logs for up to two months.

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  • Before baking, preheat the oven to 325°F. and line the baking sheets with a parchment paper.
  • Once the log is firm, with a sharp knife, slice the dough about 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick or as you want.
  • Place the slices on the lined baking sheet about 1 inch apart.

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  • Sprinkle some finely chopped nuts like walnuts or almonds if you want to and press them onto the surface of the unbaked cookie.
  • Bake them for 12 – 15 mins or just until done.
  • Once done remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

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Note:

  • While shaping them into logs ensure that the dough is tightly packed or else you might get holes in the center. Some of my cookies got that, but not much so it was okay.
  • Baking time may vary from oven to oven. Remember that the cookies keep baking even after taking them out of the oven. So do not over bake and allow them to cool on a cooling rack completely; if they are still soft, you can put them back in the oven for a couple of  minutes again.
  • You can roll out the dough and cut them in various shapes using a cookie cutter.
  • You can decorate it using colored sugar or dip them half into chocolate.

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