Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Clouds in my Coffee...Cake

Maybe it was a sign - it probably was not such a great idea to make a coffee cake in the midst of a water emergency in Boston where you can’t buy a cup of coffee this week- even Starbucks isn’t making coffee, because all water has to be boiled before usage.  In any event, I wanted to bake for friends and thought the description of this coffee cake sounded delicious (“crumb topping sinks into the berries, the berries sink into the cake”) - or at least what I’d like to wake up to. But I was disappointed with the results.  The recipe calls for mixed berries but allows for substituting apples or pears.  I used apples and added some yellow raisins, because that was what I had on hand- and I think that was my mistake. Berries would definitely make a more moist cake to go with that phantom cup of coffee. Have to try this again when the environmental circumstances are more favorable.

Fresh Berry Coffee Cake with Walnut Crumb Topping from Once Upon A Tart by Frank Mentesana and Jerome Audureau
For the Topping
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
½ cup walnuts, chopped fine
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
¼ cup almond paste
I would consider doubling or at least making 1 ½ times the amount of topping.
For the Cake
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup cold buttermilk
1 cup fresh raspberries rinsed and dried on paper towels
1 cup fresh blueberries rinsed and dried on paper towels
1 cup fresh strawberries rinsed and dried on paper towels and cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease heavily a 13x 9 inch cake pan and dust lightly with flour (or spray with baking spray with flour). Toss the topping ingredients in a food processor and pulse until topping looks moist and crumbly.  Don’t pulse it so much that it comes together in a ball. Refrigerate while making the batter.

In a mixer, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy and light lemon yellow in color, about 5 minutes.  Reduce speed to low and beat in the eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla and almond extracts.

Whisk the flour and other dry ingredients together in a bowl.  Stir half the buttermilk into the butter/sugar/egg mix.  Then add half the dry ingredients.  Repeat until all the ingredients are combined and no flour is visible.

Scrape batter into the prepared pan and level it with a spatula.  Cover the batter with the fresh fruit.  Sprinkle the topping over the fruit in an even layer.  Bake for 50 minutes to one hour until a toothpick or small knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean.  The topping will be golden brown and the cake itself will have risen through the gaps in the fruit.  I would start checking before 50 minutes to make sure cake does not get overdone and dry.

Remove the pan from the oven and let cool on a wire rack before cutting into squares. ((post by susan))


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