Imagine this … You are snuggled in your warm bed, just starting to wake up. Before you open your eyes you can smell fresh hot coffee, bacon sizzling in the skillet, and something sweet baking in the oven. Ahhhh, it’s going to be a great day!
In an ideal world we could make cinnamon rolls, pastries, and bread in under an hour. Unfortunately, unless you’re willing to get up at 3am to start baking, these are pretty much out of the question for breakfast. I am always looking for something I can throw together quickly, slip it in the oven, and while it is baking, make the rest of breakfast. My husband, James, loves coffee cake. He orders it every time we go out for breakfast. He buys it to eat with his espresso at Peet’s. He gets the biggest grin on his face when I tell him I am baking one for him. He is a coffee cake aficionado and he loves mine!
Gale Gand is one of my favorite cookbook authors and when I saw her coffee cake recipe I knew it was a winner. I’ve tweaked it a little over the years and it is a no-fail recipe. The cake is tender, not too sweet, full of nuts and raisins with a streusel topping. Every time I enter it in baking competitions it wins a blue ribbon, it is often a Judge’s Favorite, and once it won me a Best in Show! I know you will get rave reviews when you make it for your family and friends.
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 tsp all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1-1/2 cups pecan halves or large pieces
- 8 tbsp butter (1 stick), slightly softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp finely grated orange zest
- 4 drops orange oil, optional
- 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup sour cream, stirred to soften
- 1 cup golden raisins
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter cake pan (see sizes above). If you will be serving the cake outside of the baking pan, e.g. on a special platter or cake display, drape the with parchment sheets, hanging over the sides for easier removal of cake.
- Make the Topping: Combine the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the butter and process until mostly incorporated. Add the pecans and pulse until nuts are chopped and the butter and sugar are a sandy consistency.
- Make the Cake: Cream the butter in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the sugar and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the eggs, zest, and orange oil and mix until the mixture is light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Sift the dry ingredients together into a separate bowl. Add to the butter mixture, 1/3 at a time, alternating with dollops of sour cream. Stir in the raisins. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth into the corners. Sprinkle topping evenly over surface.
- Bake until the cake is raised and golden, about 30 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes in the pan before cutting.
- Yield: 1 cake (use a 9-inch deep round cake pan, a 10-inch square, or 9x13-inch)