Saturday, September 3, 2016

Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake

Nothing says home like freshly baked coffee cake. Every good cook should have a great coffee cake recipe on hand that you make several times a year, particularly when you are expecting guests. This cake has a filling layer of cinnamon and pecans which makes it extra special and always a hit with friends and family.

Julian's Classic Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake
This was originally a Martha Stewart recipe which I think is still pretty true to the original. I added egg yolks to increase moisture. In the photos shown here I've also reduced the amount of streusel topping as I don't like it piled quite so high. But I make the entire batch and reserve the excess to use on other baked goods. It holds well in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Also the glaze drizzle is optional and I rarely use it.

A nice cinnamon nut later in the center.
I'm using my round spring form pan with the tube insert. I like this cake pan because it bakes the dense cake more evenly. In other words it bakes from the center and outside at the same rate ensuring the cake's evenly baked without being overdone near the edges. With that said, it is tricky to get out of the pan, as this type of pan is designed for a cake with no topping. Normally you would turn it out upside down. Or with the flat insert (no tube) you would open the side, remove the outer ring and slide the cake off the bottom plate. But with the tube in the center that isn't possible with my pan. So after cooking, I carefully lift it off the base and ring.

Cutting in the butter to create the streusel.
Ingredients

Topping and Center
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
salt
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

Cake
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
food release or butter for the cake pan
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large whole eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream

Glaze
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk

Instructions

Make the streusel topping: Mix together 1 3/4 cups flour, only 3/4 cups of the brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon of the cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cut in butter using a pastry cutter or use a food processor to pulse until small to medium clumps form. Mix in 1/2 cup pecans. Note this is not the full amount you have chopped. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Make the streusel center: Mix together remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 cup pecans.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Make the cake batter: Spray or butter a 10-inch spring form tube pan (removable bottom, open center). Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a bowl.  Beat butter and granulated sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour. Continue to beat until well combined.

Spoon half the batter into pan. Sprinkle streusel center mixture evenly over batter. Top with remaining batter, and spread carefully to cover the streusel. Sprinkle streusel topping mixture evenly over batter until fully covered.

Bake until cake is golden brown and a pick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45-55 minutes. Check frequently to ensure it does not over bake. Transfer pan to a wire rack, and let cool 15-20 minutes. Open the spring form pan and lift out the cake. Let the cake continue to cool on a wire rack with the bottom piece/tube in place. When room temperature, carefully lift the cake off the base and center tube and transfer to your serving platter or cake saver.

Make the optional glaze: Mix together confectioners' sugar and milk, adding milk a little a time until you get the correct consistency. This should be thin enough to drizzle over with a spoon but thick enough not to run down and off the cake. Let set for 15 minutes before serving.

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