- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What is a coffeecake? Why can’t I have a cup of coffee with a chocolate glazed tart or a strawberry and whipped cream cake?

Obviously I can, but it doesn’t fit the definition of a coffeecake, which is a simple baked cake without frosting or buttercream filling. Then there are tea cakes. My research suggests that a tea cake is usually baked in a loaf pan without frosting. A drizzled glaze might appear, but certainly not a rich, creamy filling or topping.

Apple spiced streusel coffeecake

STREUSEL:

½ cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

½ cup finely chopped walnuts

CAKE:

21/4 cups all-purpose flour

1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

2 apples, such as Granny Smith or Golden Delicious, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped

11/4 cups buttermilk, mixed with 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 10-cup Bundt pan or a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

Prepare the streusel: In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, flour and butter. Rub together all the ingredients between your fingertips until they are evenly distributed and the mixture resembles large bread crumbs. Mix in the walnuts, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Prepare the cake: In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In another bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugars, continuing to beat until very light. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well each addition until fully incorporated. (Don’t overbeat or the cake will be tough.) Gently stir in the chopped apples.

With the mixer on low speed, alternately beat in the flour mixture and the buttermilk, in 2 batches, ending with the buttermilk and beating until just mixed. Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with one-third of the streusel. Spoon on the remaining batter, using a rubber spatula to smooth it into an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining streusel evenly over the top. Pat the streusel down gently.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top of the cake is firm , the streusel is crisp and golden brown, and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove to a rack and let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. If using a Bundt pan, invert the cake onto the rack and then invert it back onto a serving platter so that the streusel side is on top. Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

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