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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ashkenazic Sour Cream Coffee Cake


I have had my eye on this recipe for quite a while - it's from Epicurious. There's something about the winter cold that makes me want to make fulsome, simple, thick batter cakes so this is what the Office team is going to get tomorrow.

Right now it's baking, with another 30 mins. to go. It will be a new type of recipe for me as I have not made a coffee cake before.

Here's the recipe:

Ashkenazic Sour Cream Coffee Cake (Smeteneh K├╝chen) Epicurious | October 2000

by Gil Marks
The World of Jewish Desserts


Coffee cakes rank among the most popular of comfort foods, welcomed at breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and as the name indicates, coffee breaks. A coffee cake batter is generally more liquid than a quick bread one and contains a bit more sugar, and as a result, the final product is lighter and moister. On the other hand, coffee cakes tend to be less sweet than butter cakes. There are many versions of kuchen, this streusel-topped sour cream type being a very popular one. It is commonly served at the meal following Yom Kippur, or Shavuot, and on Sabbath afternoons or the melaveh malcha ("accompanying the queen") party following the Sabbath. For the later occasion, spices are added to the batter and topping, reflecting those used during the havdallah ceremony signaling the end of the Sabbath.

Yield: One 9-inch square or Bundt cake; 6 to 9 servings


Streusel Topping:
1/2 cup granulated or brown sugar, or 1/4 cup each
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg or cloves (optional)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans, grated coconut, golden raisins, or chocolate chips, or 1 cup any combination (optional)

Batter:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
1 cup granulated or brown sugar or 1/2 cup each
4 large egg yolks, or 3 large eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream or plain yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)

Glaze (optional):
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk or water


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (325°F if using a glass pan). Grease one 9-inch square pan,9-inch Bundt or tube pan, or 9-inch springform pan. Line with parchment or waxed paper, grease again, and dust with flour.

2. To make the streusel: Combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg if using. Cut in the butter to resemble coarse crumbs. If desired, stir in the nuts.

3. To make the batter: Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time. Blend in the sour cream, vanilla, and zest if using. Stir in the flour mixture.

4. Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of the streusel. Carefully cover with the remaining batter and sprinkle with the remaining streusel.

5. Bake unitl the cake is golden and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 50 minutes. Set on a rack and let cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Wrap the kuchen in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

6. To make the glaze if using: Combine all the glaze ingredients, stirring until smooth and of pouring consistency. Drizzle over the cake and let stand until set.


HINT:

When baking and storing a cake containing acidic ingredients such as sour cream in an aluminum pan, line the bottom with parchment paper to prevent the juices from reacting with the aluminum and creating a metallic flavor.


VARIATIONS

Single-Layer Coffee Cake:

Spread all the batter in a 13-by-9-inch pan, sprinkle with all of the topping, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.


Fruit-Filled Coffee Cake:

After adding the middle layer of streusel, top with 1 cup peeled, cored, and thinkly sliced cooking apples, 1 cup peeled, pitted, and sliced peaches, or 1 cup pitted cherries, blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries.


Cheese Coffee Cake:

Combine 8 ounces softened cream chees, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 large egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Spread over the top of the batter, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. If desired, spread 1/2 cup melted blueberry, cherry, raspberry, or strawberry preserves or pie filling over the cheese mixture. Sprinkle with the streusel.

My Notes: This cake was very popular at work. It's quite a light coffee cake and fairly plain. Well worth making again.