I’ve noticed a strong similarity between 90% of my baking books- they all have a cinnamon swirl coffee cake recipe. It’s like a necessity amongst your everyday baking cookbook. And what I take away from this is that bakers believe that it is important for everybody to have a solid cinnamon swirl coffee cake recipe in their arsenal. I don’t disagree. Coffee cakes can be casual and they can be celebratory. You can bake them for when company visits, for Holiday breakfasts, to enjoy on Sunday mornings… the list goes on. Very rarely is coffee cake not an appropriate treat.
Okay, so I may be a little bias… Coffee cake is one of my particular favorite treats. I’m a simple baked-goods kind of girl. Toss me a muffin or a scone over a piece of fudge any day of the week.
You should see me when I walk through the grocery store. I could spend hours in the bakery department, salivating… where as I haven’t even glanced at the candy by the registers since I was 10.
What really does it for me though are those squares of coffee cake piled high with boulder-like crumbs that you can usually find at coffee houses. LOVE those. I dream about crumb toppings.
What makes this coffee cake stand out above the rest are the little tweaks that the BAKED boys gave it. They’re all about making trendy desserts and creating a new spin on an old classic. This one doesn’t stray too far from the norm, but it does include a touch of cocoa powder in the cinnamon swirl and toasted pecans in the streusel. And let’s not forget to touch upon the cake itself! SO moist. Perfect taste and texture, all thanks to a good friend of mine- sour cream : )
This coffee cake is awesome. Awesome and HUGE. Haha, be forewarned- this thing will extend to the farthest reach of your 13-by-9-inch pan, threatening to spill out over it. It won’t, but it definitely gets you a little nervous as you watch it bake. It is incredibly tall, which makes for these beautiful thick, square slices. Pretty impressive to serve to your guests.
Also impressive are the TWO layers of cinnamon swirl that divides your cake into thirds. If you can get the proportions right when pouring the batter into the pan, then this will look really cool. I went a little bit light on my bottom layer this time, but the first time I made it I somehow managed to get the layers even. Nothing makes my day like perfectly dividing cake batter… hehe.
You should know- this is the only cake Dave will voluntarily eat. He doesn’t like dessert aside from Apple Pie, but he holds a sweet spot for cinnamon coffee cake. I actually baked him this exact recipe in little aluminum loaf pans and sent them to him in Afghanistan when he was deployed this past year. He was ecstatic. Of course they were probably 6 days old or more by the time he got them… but he was still thrilled!
- For the Crumb Topping:
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- ¾ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ¾ cup pecans, toasted
- 6 Tb unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1-inch cubes
- For the Swirl:
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- For the Sour Cream Cake:
- 3½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2¼ cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 16 ounces sour cream
- 1½ tsp vanilla extract
- For the Crumb Topping: Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse for 5 seconds to mix.
- Add the pecans and pulse until the pecans are finely chopped and thoroughly incorporated.
- Add the butter and pulse until combined. The mixture will look like coarse sand. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in the refrigerator.
- For the Swirl: In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, and cinnamon and set aside.
- For the Sour Cream Cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. If you use a metal pan, the edges of the cake will be crispy.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth and ribbon-like. Scrape down the bowl and add the sugar. Beat until the mixture is smooth and starts to look fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.
- Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat just until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in three additions, scraping down the bowl before each addition and beating only until each addition is incorporated. Do not over mix.
- Pour one third of the cake batter into the prepared pan. Use an offset spatula to spread the batter evenly.
- Sprinkle half the chocolate cinnamon swirl mixture over the batter, covering the entire surface of the batter. Spoon half of the remaining batter over the swirl mixture and spread it evenly. Top with the remaining swirl mixture, then the remaining batter, and spread the batter evenly. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the top of the batter.
- Bake in the center of the oven, rotating the pan three times during baking, for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then serve.
- The cake will keep for 3 days, tightly covered, at room temperature.
adapted from “Baked: New Frontiers in Baking” by Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito