What do you do when you wake up early on a gloomy Saturday morning, while all the little Muppets are still sleeping peacefully? If you’re the Muppet Mom, you bake a Sour Cream Coffee Cake, and then watch them all smile when they wake up and smell that cinnamony sweetness wafting up the staircase.
Ina’s intro note mentions that this cake is her take on a Drake’s coffee cake — but this one is a million times yummier. The sour cream makes it incredibly moist, and the flavor is all butter and vanilla. The walnuts are optional in the crumb filling/topping, and I included them this time. I remember making it in the past without the nuts, and I found the crumbs to be much too cloying. The nuts give it a wonderful crunch that I really missed without them. The confectioner’s sugar and maple syrup mixture is literally and figuratively the icing on the cake.
My biggest problem was getting the cake out of the old fashioned two-piece tube pan. Since you don’t flip the cake over, it’s not the easiest thing in the world to transfer the whole thing without having it fall apart. It took three of us to do — Dave had spatulas at 3:00 and 9:00, I grabbed it with my hands at 12:00 and 6:00, and then we needed to yell for Matthew to gently ease the cone of the pan through the middle of the cake and out the bottom. At least Dave’s engineering degree paid off for something.
If I had one complaint, it would be that the crumbs are a bit too sugary, adding a sweet grit that can eventually get unpleasant. But I’m really picking nits here. It was pretty awesome with a cup of tea.
And now a public service announcement for Ben, who is still in dreamland at 11:30 a.m., and will probably read this before he’ll drag himself downstairs: Good afternoon, sunshine! Yes, we saved a piece of cake for you, Mr. Sleepyhead.
Barefoot Contessa Sour Cream Coffee Cake
From Barefoot Contessa Parties, ©2001
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 extra-large eggs at room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups sour cream
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For the streusel:
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional
For the glaze:
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons real maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Finish stirring with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.
For the streusel, place the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a bowl and pinch together with your fingers until it forms a crumble. Mix in the walnuts, if desired.
Spoon half the batter into the pan and spread it out with a knife. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup streusel. Spoon the rest of the batter in the pan, spread it out, and scatter the remaining streusel on top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
Let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Carefully transfer the cake, streusel side up, onto a serving plate. Whisk the confectioners’ sugar and maple syrup together, adding a few drops of water if necessary, to make the glaze runny. Drizzle as much as you like over the cake with a fork or spoon.