I want to preface this post by saying that it absolutely drives me nuts when you’re trying to check out a recipe and you have to scroll through paragraph after paragraph of someone’s autobiography or their whimsical recollections of each and every single ingredient used- because I know that many of us just want to see what is needed and how long it takes to prepare.
That being said, I’ll keep this as brief as possible.
I had a recent health scare just over a week ago that was completely unexpected and turned my world upside down- and this past weekend I underwent a series of tests, lab work and x-rays- leading up to a minor same-day procedure/surgery to get myself back on track and on the road to what I’m hoping is a speedy recovery and a healthier future. While I’m healing and preparing for the necessary follow-ups to make sure I’m in the clear, I have felt out of control of my body, my emotions and at times- my mind. It’s been an incredibly draining, scary and stressful experience.
To occupy my thoughts and my days, I have been focusing on the things I do feel control of- including my work, this blog, and preparing for the holidays. I’m hoping I’ll feel well enough to attend Thanksgiving at my mom’s house next week. If I do, I’m going to bring this easy-to-prepare, caffeine-infused cake to celebrate and treat both myself and my family.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
FOR THE BATTER:
- 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup sour cream
FOR THE STREUSEL:
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder (not instant coffee!)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
WHAT YOU’LL DO:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch-by-9-inch cake pan with baking spray.
2. MAKE THE CAKE BATTER: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and mix to combine.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in three additions, alternating with the sour cream and starting and ending with the dry. Set aside while you make the streusel.
4. MAKE THE STREUSEL: In a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar, espresso powder and cinnamon. Set aside about ⅔ of this mixture for the middle layer of the coffee cake. To the remaining mixture, add the flour and salt and stir until combined. Add the melted butter and mix until combined.
5. Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan, then top with the reserved brown sugar mixture. Top with the remaining batter, followed by the streusel.
6. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center of the pan comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs, 45 to 55 minutes. Cool the cake completely before slicing and serving.
Incredibly rich, crumbly and decadent- this coffee cake has become one of my favorite desserts this Fall. I highly recommend enjoying it with some mulled cider, hot chocolate or a cup of coffee if you want an extra caffeine kick!
I hope to have good news in regards to my procedure/surgery soon, and writing about my experience while sharing a recipe might seem a little odd to some- but it’s honestly very on-brand for me. I try to include something light and fun with the heavy and somewhat traumatizing. I’m grateful I’m able to do that, and grateful for my friends and family who have been so helpful and supportive throughout the process.
‘Til next time.