I come from a long line of coffee cake eaters. In fact, the family motto is” we never met a coffee cake we didn’t like”. Our family’s coat-of-arms is a cheese Danish and a cup of coffee. So you get my drift, right. We like coffee cake, so much so that I can’t bake ‘em as fast as they eat ‘em. But that’s okay, it keeps me on my toes.
This Apple Streusel Coffee Cake is a particular family favorite. Why, because it’s all apple-y, and streusel-y, and cinnamon-y, and nut-y. I can think of no better combination of flavors. Well, maybe coconut and bananas, but that will be another blog posting.
Apple Streusel Coffee Cake
Adapted from Gale Gand’s Brunch!
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 apples, peeled and cored, and chopped (I like to use a tart Granny Smith apple)
- 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut up
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Using a pastry brush and melted butter, grease an 8-inch baking dish.
- For the cake, sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer (or I used an electric hand-mixer) beat the egg and then mix in the milk and melted butter. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until everything is incorporated. Add the apples and walnuts to the mixture and pour into the baking dish.
- To make the streusel topping, mix the sugar, flour, cold butter and cinnamon in a medium bowl by pinching them together with your fingers until combined. Spoon the mixture over the top of the batter.
- Place the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden, and when a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan, and then cut into squares.
Not all apples fare well when added to baked goods. The varieties that I find work well are; Granny Smith, Fuji, Rome Beauty, Gala and Honeycrisp. I like to use a combination of these apples instead of just using one kind.
Today’s post is about a tea cake with tons of fresh citrus, sweet butter and eggs. But wait…there’s more! Act now, and you get the toasted walnuts and shiny orange glaze too. So, do I have your attention, sound good, huh?
Recently for reasons unknown to me, I decided that a 4pm each day, I was going to stop what I was doing and sit down and have a cup of tea. A quiet time to reflect on what I had accomplished in my day so far, and to contemplate what tasks were still on my agenda. It seemed so civilized to me. Certainly one couldn’t have tea without it being accompanied by a proper tea cake. One of my all-time favorites is this Orange Walnut Bread. It’s not overly sweet, and the bits of orange rind give it that fresh citrus-y flavor which compliments the earthy crunch of the toasted walnuts.
I really think that this new ritual of mine will help me to be more productive, or maybe I’m just kidding myself. Maybe it’s just another reason I’ve drummed up to eat more cake .
Orange Walnut Bread
Adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook
- 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, separated
- grated rind of 1 large orange or 2 small oranges
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- pinch salt
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted*
- Orange Syrup
- Orange Glaze
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan. What I find that works best is to melt a little butter and using a pastry brush, brush the melted butter inside the pan in all the nooks and crannys. Then dust it with flour, shaking out all the excess.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter. Add the 3/4 cup sugar gradually, beating until light. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, and the grated orange rind.
- In a medium bowl, sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry mixture to the batter alternately with 1/2 cup orange juice, beginning and ending with the flour. Gently mix in the walnuts. Transfer this mixture to a medium bowl and set aside.
- Wash out your mixer bowl and dry completely. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold them carefully into the batter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, set on the middle rack and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until lightly golden and skewer inserted in center comes out clean.
- While cake is baking make the syrup mixture. When cake is done, using a wooden skewer or toothpick, poke holes in the top of the cake and spoon the hot syrup over the bread. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/4 granulated sugar
Combine the orange juice and sugar in a small saucepan and simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until a light syrup forms.
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
- 3-4 tablespoons of fresh orange juice
Place these ingredients in a small bowl and whisk or stir with a fork until you achieve the desired consistency for the glaze. If you like a thicker glaze add more sugar, if you prefer a thinner glaze, add more orange juice.
*Toasting Nuts: I always like to toast nuts when I’m adding them to baked goods. Why, you ask? Toasting nuts releases their natural oils and gives them a deeper flavor. Toasting will make the nuts crispier too, giving your baked goods more texture. I place the nuts in a small frying pan over a medium heat. I constantly stir them with a wooden spoon because you don’t want them to burn. It takes about 6-8 minutes to toast them, you’ll start to notice a fragrant smell coming from them as they begin to toast.
Egg Whites: When beating egg whites, make sure there is no yolk in the whites or they will not become stiff. Also make sure your mixer bowl and utensils are completely clean and free of grease, butter or oil, as this will cause your egg whites not to become stiff also.
Southern Californians are a funny lot. No matter how cold it gets, and for the past two weeks it has been very cold, Southern Californians will wear shorts and flip-flops no matter what. I noticed this strange phenomenon yesterday as I was shopping at an outdoor mall. Me, bundled in a winter coat and scarf, and everyone else lollygagging about in their Tommy Bahama Hawaiian shirts and sundresses. I really admire their spirit, and for some folks it really is an endless summer. And why not. Maybe it’s the thin, east-coast blood that runs through my veins, but I was headed home to have a big bowl of chili and these homemade corn muffins. I was embracing the brisk winter weather with some down-home comfort food.
Anyway, son #1 had given me the Bouchon Bakery cookbook for a gift and I was anxious to try out some of the recipes. What I like most about the book is that it’s recipes are written in both cups and grams. As a gal whose obsession is baking, naturally I prefer gram measurements. Why, because baking is a science and grams are a precise measurement. When you weigh your ingredients your chances of a successful end product are almost guaranteed. Even if you’re just an occasional baker, I highly recommend you get yourself a digital food scale. You know I would never steer you wrong.
Thomas Keller explains in the book that the reason for allowing your batter to sit overnight is for the purpose of hydrating the flour. When the mixture absorbs the liquid ingredients, the result is a very moist corn muffin.
From Thomas Keller Bouchon Bakery
- 1 1/4 cups + 3 tablespoons (201 grams) all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup (51 grams) cornmeal
- 2 1/2 teaspoons (12 grams) baking powder
- 1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons (135 grams) sugar
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 2/3 cup (168 grams) whole milk
- 2 large eggs (90 grams)
- 1/4 cup + 2 1/2 tablespoons (90 grams) canola oil
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (72 grams) frozen corn kernels
* If you do not have a scale to weigh out the eggs, take your 2 large eggs and lightly beat them in a bowl and then remove about 1 teaspoon and that will be about 90 grams.
- Place the flour in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Sift in the cornmeal and baking powder. Add the sugar and salt and mix on the lowest setting for about 15 seconds to combine. Add the milk and eggs and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds, just until combined. With the mixer running, slowly pour in the oil, then increase the speed to medium-low and mix for about 30 seconds to combine.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate all the dry ingredients that may be stuck to the bottom. Fold in the corn. For best results, transfer the batter to a covered container and refrigerate overnight.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, and line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with liners. Lightly spray the liners with nonstick spray. Spoon the batter into the cups about 3/4 full.
- Place the pan in the oven, lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F, and bake for 22-25 minutes, or until muffins are lightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. When done, place the pan on a cooling rack and cool muffins completely.
Makes 12 standard size muffins
I guess this recipe is going out to all the chocolate lovers out there. Those of us who openly and freely admit that we love chocolate. I was having a real hankering the other day for something chocolatey, and so I took out the doughnut pans and decided, why not make these baked Chocolate Doughnuts with a Chocolate Glaze.
In retrospect, these may have even been a bit too chocolatey even for me. Next time I may douse them in a vanilla glaze, or simply just dust them with a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Nonetheless these were still delicious, and extremely easy to make. You will however need a standard sized doughnut pan to accomplish the task. I found mine at my local baking supply store, but you can also easily find them online was well. I won’t try to con you into thinking these are not highly caloric, but the upside is that these are baked and not fried, so that’s a good thing, right?
The secret ingredient here is the espresso powder, as it really enhances the chocolate flavor. But, if you don’t have access to it, don’t worry, they will still taste amazing. And then, bring out your array of sprinkles and jimmies because that’s the best part of this entire process. Really, who doesn’t like jimmies!
From King Arthur Flour
- 2/3 cup good quality cocoa powder
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons vinegar, white or cider
- 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) melted butter or 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 6 tablespoons half & half or cream (light or heavy)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the wells of two standard doughnut pans. If you don’t have two pans, simply bake the batter in two batches.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, sugar, baking powder, espresso powder, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips. Set aside.
- In a large measuring cup or medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla and vinegar.
- Add the wet ingredients, along with the melted butter or vegetable oil, to the dry ingredients, stirring to blend; there’s no need to beat the batter, just make sure everything is well-combined.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan(s), filling them between 3/4 and full.
- Bake the doughnuts for 13-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean.
- Remove the doughnuts form the oven, and after 30 seconds or so, loosen their edges, turn the pan upside down over a rack, and gently let the doughnuts fall onto the rack.
- For sugar-coated doughnuts, immediately shake the doughnuts in 1 tablespoon granulated sugar; add 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder to the sugar for an additional touch of chocolate.
- If you want to ice the doughnuts rather than shake them in sugar, allow them to cool completely before icing.
- To make the glaze: Combine the chocolate chips and half & half or cream in a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup. Heat in 20 second increments, stirring the mixture in between until you get a smooth consistency.
- Remove from the microwave, and stir until the chips have melted and the glaze is smooth.
- Spread glaze on the doughnuts.
Makes 18 doughnuts
Let your doughnuts cool completely before you cover them in the glaze.
Store doughnuts in an airtight container, and they should last for three days…if you don’t finish them first.
I had neglected the blog recently as my attention had been directed elsewhere in the past few weeks. I have just returned from a trip back east where I attended my high school reunion, and boy, was it a good time. The last time I saw many of these folks they were 17 years old. It was actually kind of sweet how many of the guys were whipping out their iPhones and showing me pictures of their grand-children. Everybody was there; the captain of the cheerleaders, the homecoming queen, the jocks, the potheads, all just a little bit older and a little bit grayer (if that’s even a word). So, now the party’s over and it’s time for me to get back to my real mission in life, and that’s cake.
Today was one of those rare days in Los Angeles where it was cold and cloudy and actually raining. It was the perfect day to put on the thick fuzzy socks, a heavy sweatshirt and break out the KitchenAid and just bake. And did we ever have a good time, me and the KitchenAid that is. When November rolls around I like to make things with cranberries. Personally I think that they’re a terribly underrated fruit, but they really shine in this Cranberry Lemon Bundt Cake. If you’re looking for a good cake to bring to a Thanksgiving dinner, this one would be a winner.
P.S. And I just want to give a little shout out to Mindy and Greg for reading the blog. Thanks!
Cranberry Lemon Bundt Cake
From Williams Sonoma
- Unsalted butter for greasing pan, plus 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
- 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 3 cups fresh cranberries, about 12 oz.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 lemons
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more as needed
- Preheat an oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 12-cup Bundt pan with butter. I used a silicone bundt pan, and the cake easily came out of the pan. Sprinkle the brown sugar in the bottom of the pan, then evenly distribute the cranberries over the sugar
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Next, add the granulated sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Finely grate the zest from the lemons over the sugar and mix briefly.
- In a small bowl, squeeze the juice from the lemons, use a sieve to strain out the seeds and pulp. In a liquid measuring cup, combine 2 Tbs. of the lemon juice, the buttermilk and vanilla; reserve the remaining lemon juice.
- Add the 12 Tbs. butter to the lemon zest–sugar mixture and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk mixture in 2 batches. Raise the mixer speed to medium-high and beat for 2 minutes to aerate.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly over the cranberries. Bake until the cake is browned and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert the cake onto a cake plate, lift off the pan and let cool completely.
- Once the cake is cool, in a bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and 1 1/2 Tbs. of the reserved lemon juice until thick and smooth. Test the consistency by drizzling a bit of glaze over the cake. If it runs off the cake, whisk in a little more confectioners’ sugar; if it sits on the cake without moving, whisk in a little more lemon juice. Drizzle the glaze over the cake and let set for at least 15 minutes.
I would suggest that you invest in a silicone bundt pan. My experience with metallic bundt pans is that often, the cake can get stuck in the crevices of the pan even when properly buttered and floured. When I use the silicone pan the cake always relases perfectly.
Wow, what a week it’s been. I think this was the first time in two decades I’ve been all alone in the house for an entire week. Imagine that folks. The husband was away on business in New York, son #1 was working and son #2 is away at school. I suppose this was my golden opportunity to do all those things a gal likes to do when there’s no one else to attend to but yourself. So, woo hoo! yippee! party time…okay, so maybe not. Did I squander my week of being unencumbered, should I just have let it rip?
Well, I let it rip okay. I spent the week on a non-stop bake fest. A real bender if you will. Seven days of cookies, cakes and breads. I finally had to say to myself, “girlfriend, just step away from the oven”. I ended my maniacal bake-a-thon with this Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake. What with autumn just around the corner it seemed so appropriate. So I’ve decided to give the KitchenAid a rest and return to normal activity.
Oh come on people, don’t judge me.
Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake
For the streusel:
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
- 1 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted (see note below)
For the batter:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup sour cream
For the glaze:
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp. whole milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat an oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan or a 9-inch cake pan with 3-inch sides.
- To make the streusel, in a bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Combine the butter using 2 table knives or a pastry cutter, cut it into the dry ingredients until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in the pecans. Set aside.
- To make the batter, in a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until well combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the pumpkin puree and sour cream and mix with the spatula. Stir in the flour mixture. The batter will be quite thick.
- Using a small off-set spatula, spread half of the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle half of the streusel over the batter. With a small off-set spatula, lightly spread the remaining batter over the streusel spreading the thick batter as best you can. Top with the remaining streusel. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for about 15 minutes. Remove the sides from the pan and slide the cake onto a cooling rack.
- To make the glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla. Drizzle over the top of the cake. Cut into thick wedges and serve. Makes one 9-inch coffee cake.
To toast your pecans: Place them in a small frying pan over medium heat tossing constantly until fragrant.