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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sour Cream Streusel Coffee Cake

Sour Cream Streusel Coffee Cake
I just brought this old-fashioned sour cream coffeecake to a Chanukah party, and was so flattered to be asked for the recipe. It's one I've happily used for many years: light and moist, with a delicious melted cinnamon-sugar layer in the middle. The recipe is virtually universal—you'll find variants of it all over the place, claimed by several different ethnic traditions. (That means it must be good, right?)

Thoughts for Buffets cookbook, ca. 1958
Amended by Anne (with thanks to Laurie LeMaster Stern)

For cake:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten to blend
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup commercial sour cream

For filling/topping:
1/2 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4-1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325˚
  1. Cream the butter until soft.
  2. Add the 1 cup sugar and beat until mixture is uniform, light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, and stir in vanilla.
  4. Sift dry ingredients together.
  5. Stir in dry ingredients, alternating with sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Stir just until combined: do not overbeat.
  6. Spread half the batter in a greased and floured 9x9” baking pan.  (Use a 9x13” pan if you want a cake that is larger and thinner; I much prefer the tall version myself.)
  7. Mix all topping/filling ingredients well, and sprinkle half of this mixture over batter.
  8. Drop blobs of the remaining batter all over the pan and gently spread until it covers the filling in a uniform layer.
  9. Sprinkle with remaining filling-topping mixture.
  10. Bake at 325˚ for 40-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Makes about 20 moderate-sized pieces

This recipe was given to me when I was twelve, by my cousin Laurie.  She said you could use any type of nuts, not just pecans, and that you could add whatever spices you wanted in place of or in addition to the cinnamon.  “Just put in whatever you like,” Laurie said, which was remarkably liberating.  I tried many combinations over the years, and find I like the recipe best the way it is.

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  1. Yum! I'd like to try one with a black russian too.

  2. Do you think I could get away with a 8X8" pan? I have two of those but no 9X9's.

  3. I think your 8x8 pan might overflow. (My 9x9 is very full when I make the whole recipe.) You should probably use a little less than all of the batter—about 7/8 should do nicely—with all the filling/topping mixture. Best of luck!


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