I, like any other person, love any excuse to eat sweets for breakfast, and coffee cake gives me this opportunity without the guilt. After all, isn’t coffee cake supposed to be eaten at breakfast? I mean, it has “coffee”, the beloved breakfast drink of millions, in the title. That has to be a sign that coffee cake for breakfast is a totally acceptable choice, or so I keep telling myself. I have always loved coffee cake; I can remember eating it as a kid and loving the dense texture and the explosion of cinnamon as I bit into the streusel. Every time I eat a slice, I think: “this is heaven.” I searched for years to find a good recipe for coffee cake, but could never find one that had all of the things that I love about it. Some were too much like bread covered in cinnamon; others had the texture of birthday cake (which I love, but not what I was looking for in a good coffee cake). I’m not sure where I found this particular recipe, but I am so amazingly glad that I did. It is some of the best coffee cake I have ever had, plus it has pecans in it, which make everything better.
Here’s what you need:
12 Tbls. (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla (yes, that is a giant bottle of Mexican vanilla)
1 1/4 cups sour cream (regular or reduced fat)
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbls. cold butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup pecans
Here’s what you do:
Grease and flour a bundt pan, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cream 12 Tbls. butter and sugar until creamy. Add in the eggs, vanilla, and sour cream mixing until fully incorporated. Combine dry ingredients (2 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/2 tsp. salt) in a medium bowl and slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Set aside. The batter may grow as it is resting as a result of the leavening reacting with the sour cream. This is what gives the coffee cake its dense, but moist texture.
Combine the brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour, cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 3 Tbls. cold butter in a medium bowl. Use your fingers or a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the other ingredients, until you have a fine crumble and everything is mixed together well.
Spoon half of the cake batter into the prepared bundt pan. Cover with all of the streusel and pecans. I use whole pecans that I crush lightly with my hands as I am sprinkling them in to get a variation in size. Cover with the rest of the cake batter, making sure to cover all of the streusel.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake rest in the pan for about 10 minutes, then loosen the cake from the pan by running a butter knife around the edges and center and invert the cake onto a serving platter.
At this point, you can drizzle with a powdered sugar glaze, spoon over melted cake icing, or dust with powdered sugar. I like mine plain, or maybe with some homemade Mexican vanilla ice cream…