1.03.2011

Crunchy Coffee Cake

Deciding on what to make for a New Year's Day brunch, especially since I knew we'd be drinking a LOT, was tricky.  I finally settled on a menu of quiche, bacon, and coffee cake.  This cake is great because you can make it the night before and its crunchy topping just gets a little crunchier, which is a good thing.  It's got a simple flavor that's slightly addicting if you aren't looking for anything complex.  I tweaked it just a bit to make it healthier (just a tiny bit though!).

Crunchy Coffee Cake

Coffee Cake:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
Topping:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat an 8-inch cake pan with butter and dust with all-purpose flour.
  2. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl. Beat in the butter one heaping 1/4 teaspoonful at a time, using an electric mixer set on low speed, until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Beat in the sugar a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture resembles fine damp sand. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
  3. Add the vanilla, lemon extract, and milk, beat on medium-high, just until blended. Do not over beat.
  4. Set aside 1/2 cup batter. Bake remaining batter in an 8-inch cake pan at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes.
  5. Make the topping: Cut the 4 tablespoons of butter with the granulated and light-brown sugars, the cake flour, and the cinnamon, and mix with reserved cake batter. Sprinkle over the baking cake and continue to bake until a skewer tests clean and the topping is bubbling — about 15 more minutes.

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