Posts Tagged 'streusel'

Cocoa Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Well, I survived my first week of teaching 8th grade, and honestly, it was easier than I thought it would be. Part of me is still in shock that I was actually able to land a teaching job, especially given the fact that California still hasn’t passed a budget and there were thousands of teachers laid off at the end of last year.
But somehow, I scored this amazing job at a truly AWESOME school and I’m loving it!

I also survived a week with spotty electricity. There were record-breaking high temperatures all over the Bay Area last week, and possibly due to that, we ended up losing power. Eventually the neighborhood got their electricity back, but we didn’t. Although they hooked us up to a generator for a few hours a day, our street was crawling with electric company trucks and our building didn’t get power until a few days later. Now that we’re living with an electric stove and oven (not my first choice, but that’s life), it meant a longer-than-I-would-have-liked hiatus from baking and cooking. But last night, as soon as the lights came back on, I
pre-heated my oven and got this coffee cake going.

I’ve made this before and it’s always a crowd pleaser. It’s got great chocolate flavor, and how can anyone resist streusel topping with pecans and chocolate mixed in? The recipe in the book calls for mini chocolate chips, but I always buy the normal ones and roughly chop them. If you have a 13 x 9 x 3 inch pan, you can bake it all in a single pan with no problems, but because my pan is shallower, it works best for me to do a 13 x 9 pan plus 6 muffins. Watch the cake carefully because the streusel can burn quickly. About 55 minutes at 350 should work well, but ovens vary, so keep an eye on it! (Muffins will take closer to 25 minutes)

(adapted from Baking By Flavor by Lisa Yockelson)

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups roughly chopped chocolate chips
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups sour cream (reduced fat is fine)

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar (firmly packed)
pinch salt
12 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup roughly chopped chocolate chips

To make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a 13 x 9 x 3 inch pan (or a shallower pan, plus line 6 muffin cups).
Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together and set aside.
Cream the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium for about 3 minutes. Beat in the granulated sugar one cup at a time, scraping down the bowl between additions. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing for about a minute after adding each egg. Mix in the vanilla extract.

Add the sifted flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream in 2 additions, mixing on low speed and scraping in between. Gently fold in the chocolate chips. Pour into the pan(s).

To make the streusel, mix the flour, sugars, and salt together with a fork. Add the butter and blend with a pastry blender until it looks like small pebbles. Toss in the chocolate and pecans, and work between your fingers until evenly mixed.

Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the cake and muffins. Bake for about 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comesoujt clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack, then cut into squares to serve.

Banana Coffee Cake with Peanut Butter Streusel

Banana Coffee Cake 2
I love good banana bread as much as the next person, but sometimes I can’t help but feel there is something missing. Like streusel. Or peanut butter. Or some magical combination of the two.

A year ago I attempted to make a peanut butter banana bread but was seriously underwhelmed with the results, so this time I knew I had to go in another direction.

I caved in and bought an 8″ round cake pan a few days ago because my sanity was beginning to wither away due to a lack of baking.  Fortunately, with this cake, it seems to have returned. 

With mushy bananas on my counter and a jar of peanut butter in my care package (you’re the best, Mom!) I knew I had to make another attempt at the banana bread and peanut butter combination.  I have always been the kind of person to eat coffee cake for the streusel (and cucpakes for the frosting), so I decided I would make a banana coffee cake with peanut butter streusel.  And I am so glad I did.

The cake is denser and moister than other coffee cakes I’ve had, but I think that provides a great base for the streusel.  I scaled down the original recipe, which was written for an 8″ square pan, because the only baking pan I own is the aforementioned 8″ round one. 

Banana Coffee Cake 4

(cake adapted from Epicurious)
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup mashed banans (this was 3.5 small bananas for me)
1 cup plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp plain yogurt

2 tbsp peanut butter (I used natural crunchy)
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Grease an 8″ round cake pan.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Beat in the egg and vanilla, then the bananas.
In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together with a fork.
Add to the banana mixture and stir gently until combined.
Stir in the yogurt, then pour into the pan. Set aside while you make the streusel.
To make the streusel, put the peanut butter and butter into a bowl and mix them together.
Add the flour and sugar and rub between your fingers until the mixture looks like wet sand with little pebbles.
Sprinkle over the cake evenly and bake for about 35 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool in the pan on a rack, then cut into slices to serve.

Banana Coffee Cake 6

Apple Pie with Cinnamon-Crunch Topping

We had a party for my neighbor, who is getting married next month.  I asked her what dessert she wanted, and she requested apple pie with a crunchy topping.  I used Dorie Greenspan’s apple pie recipe, then added some cinnamon-streusel topping.  It just cries out for a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side!

[from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan]
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp sugar
1 1/4 sticks (10 tbsp) very cold butter, cut into cubes
2 1/2 tbsp cold shortening, cut into 2 pieces
3/4 cup ice water
Combine dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times.  Drop in the butter and shortening, and pulse until there are pieces from rice grain to pea-sized.  Pulsing the machine, gradually add about 3 tbsp of water.  Keep pulsing and adding water, a little at a time, until the dough looks evenly moistened and so it sticks together when pinched.
Gather the dough into a ball and press into a disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill.
6 apples (I used 2 Gala and 4 Granny Smith) – about 3 1/2 pounds
3/4 cup sugar
zest of one lemon
2 tbsp quick-cooking tapioca
1/2 tsp gound cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp graham cracker crumbs
Roll out the dough so it is about 1/8″ thick.  I like to roll it between two sheets of plastic wrap so I don’t have to add flour.  Fit the dough into a pie plate and trim so there is a 1/2″ overhang. 
Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
Preheat the oven to 425 F.
Core the apples and slice 1/4″ thick.  Place in a large bowl, and mix in the zest, tapioca, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  
Take the crust out of the refrigerator and sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs over it, then pile in the apples.  Put the pie on a baking sheet and make the topping.
Cinnamon-crunch topping:
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp flour
4 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pulse the sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a food processor.  Cut the butter into small pieces and drop into the dry ingredients.  Pulse several times, until you have small rice grain-sized pieces.
Sprinkle onto the pie, and put the pie (on the baking sheet) into the oven.  
Bake for 15 minutes, then lower to 375 F.  Bake another 45 minutes at that temperature, then remove to cool on a wire rack. 


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