This post is as much about this delicious coffeecake as it is about how to make the perfect buttercream filling. This is not a recipe from my mother’s recipe box, but from my first, dating back to when I set up housekeeping directly out of college in the late seventies. I’m not sure where I found this recipe, but back then it took me a long time to prepare and, as a consequence, I didn’t make it very often. Happily, these days, with food processors to make short work of chopping nuts and creating the perfect streusel topping, things go quite a bit faster.
While I liked this cake in my ignorant youth, and loved the sweet, buttery taste of the filling, it seldom turned out as I had hoped. It was not as thick as I had expected and tended toward the grainy. Fast forward way more years than I care to count and loads of wisdom, and that problem is solved. Years, experience, and many failed recipes have taught me that there is a decided difference between “creaming” butter and “beating until incorporated.” My guess is that most, if not all of you reading this post do not know that difference and, instead of creaming butter and sugar, simply beat it until it is incorporated. Perhaps, well incorporated, but merely incorporated and not fully creamed.
Here is the difference. When you cream butter alone or with sugar it needs to be beaten at medium-high to high speed for 5 to 7 minutes. (I generally split the difference and beat for 6.) This is where a stand mixer can be a most welcome appliance in your kitchen. The process of creaming should cause the sugar to melt into the butter forming one light, creamy, fluffy mixture. Do this one simple thing and you will always have the very best cookies, cakes, toppings, and fillings. It is really that simple.
Now try out your new-found knowledge with this delicious, bakery-shop-worthy coffeecake. It will be the crown jewel of your breakfast or brunch.
1/3 cup butter
¾ cup flour
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup chopped walnuts
In the work bowl of a food processor, pulse together the butter, flour, sugar and cinnamon until crumbly. Add walnuts and pulse once or twice to blend. Set aside.
1-1/2 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cardamom
½ cup butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 extra-large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon Buttery Sweet Dough Flavor (optional)
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 9” x 9” pan with foil, allowing a 2” overhang on two opposite edges. Spray foil and exposed sides of pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
Sift flour with baking powder, soda, salt, and cardamom into a medium bowl. In a large bowl or the work bowl of your stand mixer that has been fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium-high to high speed for 5-7 minutes. Gradually add sugar during the last minute and beat for 5-7 additional minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in vanilla extract and Buttery Sweet Dough Flavor (if using).With mixer set at low speed, add dry ingredients alternately with sour cream to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
Spread mixture evenly along the bottom and into the edges of the prepared pan. Sprinkle with streusel topping, covering completely. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until cake tests done. Remove to a wire rack and allow cooling for ten minutes before gently lifting from the pan using the foil “handles” to another rack. Slide foil from beneath cake and allow to cool completely.
Slice the cake in half horizontally. (I use the toothpick method described here.) Fill with Buttercream Filling. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Do remove from the fridge about 20 minutes prior to slicing.
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan set over low heat, combine flour, salt, and milk. Cook, whisking constantly, until very thick. Cool. In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter for 5-7 minutes. Gradually add sugar during the last minute and continue beating for 5-7 additional minutes. Add cooled flour mixture and beat until light and fluffy 1-2 minutes. Blend in vanilla extract.
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