Coffeecake is the best thing I can think of to have for breakfast. Fresh from the oven, it’s warm and sweet and fills my house with the spicy smell of cinnamon and butter. A thick wedge of it and a steaming cup of hot tea are power enough for a long day.
Often spelled coffee cake or coffeecake (I prefer the latter), this hearty baked good is a rich cake perfect for breakfast or brunch. I once served it as dessert at a dinner party, and it somehow looked and tasted out of place. Some coffeecakes are made with yeast, but most are often made with baking powder or baking soda. Coffeecakes often contain a filling made of cinnamon, sugar, butter, and crushed nuts called a streusel, which can also be used as a topping. I am a sucker for streusel ”“ the more, the better. My Bin has caught me on more than one occasion eating streusel raw and straight from the mixing bowl. Sometimes if I don’t forcibly restrain myself, I can eat a bowl of streusel all by myself and not leave any for the cake I happen to be making. (Streusel tastes better baked, though).
Anyway, most coffeecakes are made with plenty of eggs and sour cream, although it’s not necessary. Sour cream however, does provide an added luxurious taste and flavor component that cannot be replicated. Sour cream also reacts with the leavener in the cake, providing the “lift” that gives the cake its characteristic lightness, and makes the cake more moist and soft.
Coffeecakes are great to bake in bundt pans, those gorgeous fluted pans made from heavy-duty aluminum. I shamelessly admit to owning several of those in all the different designs, and I love using them because it does away with the need for frosting, which I don’t like to bother with. Here, I used the traditional bundt pan. Because these pans’ interiors are usually so dark, it’s best to turn the oven down 25° than what it states on the recipe. The cake will still cook in the same time, about 40-50 minutes, but it will be a beautiful golden brown, and not a burnt-earth color like mine. As it is in baking, it’s all in the details.