Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl

 Last night, Charlie and I sat on the sofa, looking at Baked. We were all watching Julie & Julia, (not for the first time) and this was one of the recipes we bookmarked. This morning, I decided to bake this instead of dealing with the overgrown aster issue in the garden. Or the laundry.

 I haven't found my sour cream coffee cake nirvana yet, but I really need whole family craves it. This coffee cake is delicious, I love the cinnamon swirl and crumb topping. Because the cake bakes in a 13x9 pan, is perfect for taking along to a picnic or even on a car trip. I do like coffee cakes baked in tube pans too, they look so pretty at brunch.

Baker's Notes: I use metal baking pans, so the edges were a bit crispy but not burnt. From the title, one might expect a more chocolaty flavor, but its subtle, which I liked. It's important to scatter the crumb topping evenly to the edges of the pan, otherwise, the topping can sink into the cake, and you will miss the lovely swirls. You can make the crumb topping and the swirl mixture ahead, keeping the latter in the refrigerator. In fact, next time I may freeze the crumb topping, so there's less chance of it sinking too far into the coffeecake.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake with (Chocolate) Cinnamon Swirl
adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

Crumb Topping
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup pecans, toasted
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces
Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon  
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but cool
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
16 ounces sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Crumb Topping:
Put the flour, sugar, and salt in bowl of food processor and pulse to combine. Add the pecans and pulse until they are finely chopped and incorporated. Add the butter and pulse until mixture looks like coarse sand. Cover and refrigerate.

Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl:
Mix ingredients in small bowl.

Sour Cream Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350° F, and put the oven rack in the center position. Butter a 9×13-inch baking pan. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth. Scrape down bowl and add sugar. Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping bowl as needed. Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat just until incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients in three additions, scraping down the bowl before each addition and beating only until each addition is just incorporated. Do not over mix.

This part takes a bit of patience. Pour one third of the cake batter into the prepared pan. Use an offset spatula to spread batter evenly in pan. Sprinkle half of the chocolate cinnamon swirl mixture over batter, covering the entire surface of the batter. Spoon half of remaining batter over the swirl mixture, this is easier if you use a large spoon or a spatula to dollop batter over the swirl mixture and then spread it evenly. Top with remaining swirl mixture, then the remaining batter (dolloping again), and spread the batter evenly. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the top of the batter.

Bake in the center of the oven for one hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes, I would wait an hour before serving, as the cake falls apart easily when warm.

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