New York Kawfee Cake

I joined this group about a year ago… It’s a bunch of Yankees fans who get together to watch games, how could I not? The thing is, I work a full-time job, and most of the games are east coast times which means 4pm on weeknights, so the first time I even made it to watch a game was Labor Day Weekend. Finally, a Sunday morning game that didn’t coincide with work or football. We were having breakfast at the hostess’ house, and since it was pot luck I decided to try my hand at baking again. (Technically my hiatus was broken with the Carrot Bread, but this somehow seemed like a more legitimate trial of my skills. What can I say, I wanted to make a good first impression!)

I decided that nothing better would go with Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and eggs than a Coffee Cake. (Pronounced with the accent I’m told I have.) I’ve had this recipe logged away forever, again from Brown Eyed Baker, and still had streusel in my freezer from the Muffins I’d Marry, so how hard could it be? Well, let me just be honest with you for a second…

I don’t recall the last time I really felt like I messed up something I baked. I know certain recipes that were difficult, but they always came through for me in the end. This sounds terrible, I know, like why is she even posting about this? Here’s the thing, the cake came out FANTASTIC – each person had more than one piece and raved about it. The thing is, 3 of the pieces came out unbaked, and I am still, over a week later, miffed as to how it happened. Not 3 pieces in the middle, or 3 pieces on a certain side, but 3 random unrelated pieces. The only thing I can imagine made a difference was that I used aluminum foil to line the pan instead of parchment (I’m out).

So now that I’ve completely scared you away from the idea of even considering trying to make this cake, I apologize. I promise, the pieces that did cook all the way through (and yes, I put those 3 pieces back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes on their own and it still didn’t help 2 of them, they had to be thrown out) were light and fluffy and moist. I would recommend using Brown Eyed Baker’s crumb topping recipe, because although mine was fab, it seems better suited for a muffin topping than a cake. (Too crumbly, irony?) One thing I wondered, in fact, was whether or not my crumb topping contributed to the downfall of those slices – like if it inhibited baking in someway… Yes, it’s haunting me!

Let me be clear though, this recipe is amazing! My month or so without baking seems to be the problem here. I feel like Mandy Moore in “Because I Said So,” where she’s a baker and messes up a souffle for the first time in her life and it was a metaphor for a relationship she was in and how it was off and she couldn’t even trust herself. Strangely, I feel I can relate. Also, mercury was retrograde, so I’m sure that tied in somehow.

Anyways, make this recipe, you won’t regret it. I made one minor substitution (sour cream) but only because I didn’t have buttermilk!

COFFEE CAKE

  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

If you don’t already have streusel in the freezer, prepare according to her directions.

Preheat oven to 325F. Prepare an 8″ square pan by greasing and flouring, then lining with cut parchment or aluminum foil. (I think I may have been foiled by the foil, try parchment first if you have it!) Fold the parchment so it’s 7″ wide, and don’t worry if there’s overhang, let it do its thing.

Next, mix your dry goods – including sugar – in the bowl of your mixer. When those are combined, add your butter in one piece at a time, mixing on low until the batter is crumbly. Add the remaining, wet, ingredients and mix on medium until it’s all combined.

Don’t overmix at this stage or your cake could become dense and tough. The batter will be thick and pretty sticky, so be patient when spreading it into the cake pan. (I think this is why I might stick to muffins) Crumble the streusel evenly over the top.

Bake 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a tester comes out clean. The recipe calls for 8-10 squares, but I divided mine into 12 (4×3). 16 would have made each slice way too small for a serious consumer.

Wait til it cools before lifting it up by the foil/parchment and cutting into it. Just before serving, you can dust it with powdered sugar. (I did this after cutting, but I don’t think it matters.)

Hopefully you’ll have better luck with these and won’t have to explain why 2 are already missing from the platter at 10am… But for anyone who tries one of these, there will be an assumption on their part that’s pretty easy to understand ;)

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