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Sour Cream Coffee Cake

I remember making this as a teenager, probably from this same recipe. It comes from my aunt, Virginia Malgieri, who is married to my father’s brother. Aunt Virginia has always liked to bake, and this is a recipe she makes frequently. It’s a good cake for breakfast, brunch, tea or whenever you feel like having a piece of cake. Thanks also to Alan Cohen, who shared a similar recipe.

Makes 1 10-inch tube cake, about 16 servings

1 cup (about 4 ounces) walnut pieces, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
One 8-ounce container sour cream

1 12-cup tube pan, buttered and floured

1. Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Combine topping ingredients and set aside.

2. Combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda and stir well to mix.

3. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer. Beat with paddle on medium speed until soft and light, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating smooth after each addition.

4. Decrease mixer speed to lowest and beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture followed by half the sour cream. Stop the mixer and scrape down bowl and beater. Beat in another 1/3 of the flour mixture, then the remaining sour cream. Stop and scrape again. Finally, beat in the remaining flour mixture.

5. Remove the bowl from the mixer and give the batter a final mixing with a large rubber spatula.

6. Scrape half the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with half the topping. Cover with the remaining batter and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the remaining topping.

7. Bake the cake until well risen and a deep gold color and a toothpick inserted midway between the side of the pan and the central tube emerges clean, about 50 to 55 minutes.

8. Cool in the pan on a rack for 30 minutes, then invert onto a plate. Lift off the pan and replace with a rack. Turn the cake right side up again on the rack and cool completely.

9. Store wrapped in plastic or under a cake dome. Wrap and freeze for longer storage.

Vary the topping by adding 1/2 cup raisins or currants to it.
Bake the cake in two buttered and paper-lined 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans (especially good if you intend to freeze the cakes). They will probably be done in around 45 minutes, but check at 35 to 40 minutes.

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