Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Raspberry Madness Coffee Cake

So you know how everyone has a *thing* for a certain kind of food? Like, some people can't pass up chocolate and Nutella makes them weak at the knees. Some swoon for truffles and some will go to the ends of the earth and beyond for that really good croissant or cupcake. Me? I'm weird. Chocolate leaves me fairly indifferent and ice cream will get only very polite attention. Cheesecake might make me stop for a moment and contemplate, but eventually I will probably pass it up. But a really good roasted chicken -- the kind that warms the house and smells of garlic, lemon and herbs -- now that, that will get me running and pushing everyone out of the way. Also, my grandma's kugel and my mom's buttermilk-ricotta tart with raisins (that I will tell you about pretty soon, it's awesome), and, strangely, coffee cake. I love coffee cake. What is it about this unassuming little cake that gets me so excited? I don't know, but if there is coffee cake around, especially laced with a hefty dose of raspberries or blueberries, and maybe swirled with cream cheese, don't leave me alone with it unless you want to come back to some crumbs and a sheepish face. I can't control myself, people, I've tried.

Surprisingly, I've never actually made a coffee cake. Oh, I've made bundts and apple cakes and muffins, but for some unknown reason, an honest to goodness coffee cake has eluded me. Until last weekend, that is. You see, when you've had a hell of a week, and work felt like a boxing rink with you as the referee, emails as boxing gloves and no rules, and the weekend just added to the exhaustion, all you really want is to curl up on the couch with a steaming cup of hot tea and a big (and I mean BIG) slice of raspberry coffee cake and shut the world off. If the world had an off switch, that is. Which, when I'm alone with my coffee cake, it apparently does. You've been warned.

For my maiden voyage in coffee cake making, I chose Deb's Big Crumb Coffee Cake because, frankly, I trust a New Yorker to choose a coffee cake, and especially I trust Deb to choose any kind of food. Now, the cake part of this cake was really delicious - soft, moist and fragrant, with a lovely crumb that cushioned the ungodly amount of raspberries I dumped into it. But I have a bone (a crumb?) to pick with the topping. Maybe it's because I didn't use brown sugar, but raw Hawaiian sugar, and maybe it's because I'm the only person in the universe who likes less crumb and more cake (I accept my limitations in this regard), I have to say that, while the topping was very good, it left me craving my aunt's cherry coffee cake where she uses the cold-diced butter method for the streusel rather than this melted-butter one. Next time, I am keeping the cake part of the recipe and re-doing the topping in the way that comforts me the most and gives that extra bit of a crunch that I was missing (my aunt dices cold butter with flour, sugar and cinnamon - oh, it's so good). Overall, though, I have to say my first experiment with coffee cake can be deemed a great success, so thanks Deb for another winner of a recipe!

Raspberry Coffee Cake
via Smitten Kitchen


Butter for greasing pan

For the raspberry filling:
1/2 lb fresh or thawed raspberries (this works out to be about a cup, but I used a cup and a half)
1/8 to 1/4 cup of sugar, depending on the tartness of the fruit

For the crumbs:
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (I didn't use this)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted butter
1 3/4 cups cake flour (or all purpose worked well too)

For the cake:
1/3 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour (again, all purpose was just fine)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons softened butter, cut into 8 pieces.

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan. For filling, toss the raspberries with sugar. Set aside.

2. To make crumbs, in a large bowl, whisk together sugars, spices, salt and butter until smooth. Stir in flour with a spatula. It will look like a solid dough.

3. To prepare cake, in a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add butter and a spoonful of sour cream mixture and mix on medium speed until flour is moistened. Increase speed and beat for 30 seconds. Add remaining sour cream mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition, and scraping down the sides of bowl with a spatula. Scoop out about 1/2 cup batter and set aside (note: the batter will be very thick and hard to spread, and there won't be much of it - that's ok).

4. Scrape remaining batter into prepared pan. Spoon raspberries over batter. Dollop set-aside batter over raspberries; it does not have to be even.

5. Using your fingers, break topping mixture into big crumbs, about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in size. They do not have to be uniform, but make sure most are around that size. Sprinkle over cake. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean of batter (it might be moist from raspberries), 45 to 55 minutes. Cool completely before serving.


Sara said...

Your cake looks gorgeous, look at all that streusel on top! I have to bring in breakfast for my office in a few weeks, I think I'll try this recipe.

Finla said...

I love coffe cakes like these, and this looks so yumm.

Elyse said...

I have a weakness for coffee cake as well. I must say that, I'm a more crumb is good kind of girl, and your crumb looks fabulous. BUT, I can't wait to see what kind of cold butter crumb you come up with! The cake sounds divine. And can we talk about our mutual love of kugel? It is one of my favorite things ever!

Ash said...

mmmm... this looks very good! I love coffee cake! Raspberries are a huge fav at the moment!

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

Irene- this looks like what i need right now with a cup of coffee!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A gorgeous coffee cake! It looks really scrumptious!



Emily said...

Gorgeous pictures! They're just lovely.

The coffee cakes looks so good. I'm the same way - I can't resist coffee cake. And who doesn't love raspberry?

Joie de vivre said...

Irene! Thanks so much for visiting me! It's always fun to have a new friend over. What are you doing to me with this picture of the coffee cake? Oh, the sight of that crumbly topping makes my will power crumble! What a gorgeous, gorgeous cake and recipe. Thanks so much for finding me!

brandin + kari said...

I can't get enough crumb. Actually, I could just eat the crumb with a spoon and ditch on the whole cake thing:)

Irene said...

Perfect - we can split the cake right down the middle, you can have all the crumb and I can have all the cake! :) My husband and I eat pizza that way - I only like the crust. :)

Dewi said...

Cake sounds delicious, I never made coffee cake either.

Eileen said...

I just purchased several cartons of raspberries. I may have to make this coffee cake today!

Admin said...

I have a secret fantasy to confess. I wish I had a Jewish grandmother so I could talk about eating her Kugel growing up. :) I LOVE the stuff. :)

Irene said...

The good thing about Jewish grandmothers is that they are universal. They feed everyone! :) Also, as we speak, I'm buttering up my grandma for her kugel recipe.

ChichaJo said...

The topping looks scrumptious and the cake's crumb looks so perfectly moist and delicious! Wish I could have a slice!

Betsy Eves @JavaCupcake said...

This is heaven!!!!

test it comm said...

That coffeecake looks really good!

La Cuisine d'Helene said...

This looks such like the perfect coffeecake.

Y said...

Beautiful photos! We might differ on chocolate and ice-cream, but I'm glad we're on the same page when it comes to coffee cake :)

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

It looks so incredible! I've never thought about using raspberries in coffee cake!

muddywaters said...

Beautiful cake. I've bookmarked this one for a future breakfast. Thanks for sharing.

Charlotte said...

I made this cake the other day and it was unbelieeevable!! Probably the best cake I've had in a very long time! Thanks for this great recipe!

Bernadetta said...

Thanks for sharing....I made it this morning.....YUM!!!!

Unknown said...

Super yummy! You hooked me with the raspberries ... but we only had cherries (sigh). Still DELICIOUS!

Love your sense of humor. Thanks for sharing such yummy recipes!

Andrea said...

Looks delicious! I was planning on making it this morning before work, but it'll have to wait till tonight. No vanilla right now, so may sub some OJ, also, I have other plans for the sour cream, so may use plain yogurt. We'll see how it turns out! Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

Anonymous said...

Very good. Kids liked it too. Assuming the cake serves 8, with fairly reasonable size pieces, there are 475 calories/serving. Well worth it.

Elizabeth said...

Just took it out of the oven!! It is divine.... thank you for this delicious recipe :)

Organic Coffee said...

The raspberry coffee cakes looks amazing! I usually make raspberry bars which everyone loves but I will have to give this one a try. Thank you.

Staceface said...

Thank you for the recipe. I had double the crumb that I needed. I will definitely cut that in half next time. It is about double the volume of the cake batter, so unfortunately, I just threw half of it away. Also, I think I will incorporate the raspberries into the batter next time. 1/2 the batter did not even cover a thin layer of an 8x8" baking pan so I had to use more than 1/2 initially but then the layer of raspberries did not get covered by the rest of the batter.

Staceface said...

Thank you for the recipe. Here is my feedback: Way too much crumb! I suggest cutting the crumb in half. And, I would incorporate the raspberries into the batter rather than trying to layer. I think the volume of the cake part needs to be increased. It was fun trying a new recipe, but I won't use this one again.