Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Cinnamon Crunch Coffee Cake

A few weeks ago, I had a craving for coffee cake. Have no clue why, but the thought of it just made my mouth water. I didn’t have a recipe in mind, so off  I went to troll the Internet for ideas. While looking at all the options, I couldn’t help but remember all the boxes of Entenmann’s coffee cake that regularly showed up a various office meetings. Anyone else have a soft spot for this? What I always found so amazing is that their cakes never seemed to go stale. You could leave those babies in a half-opened box for what seemed like days, and they still tasted the same way they did when the box was first opened. I probably don’t want to know why that it is.

Anyway, after perusing untold number of recipes, I decided to give a Cinnamon Crunch Coffee Cake a whirl. Because it was intended to just serve the two of us, I decided to halve the recipe. There were also a few other changes I needed to make, so follow along with the fun.
I started off beating the butter, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinammon and vanilla.
It might be helpful to know that the brown sugar available here is not like the brown sugar you get in the States. This brown sugar is coarser, doesn't pack down (I guess because of less molasses), and seems sweeter to the taste. After working with it for the last eight months, I only added a regular 1/4 measure (remember, I'm halving the recipe).
Once all those ingredients were well combined, I added my egg and let it work its way into the mixture.
A quick aside about our eggs. In Belize it is against the law to sell white shell eggs. All the eggs are brownish in color and none are refrigerated. While that may cause some agita to certain folks, it turns out that fresh eggs can last around two weeks without refrigeration. The reason? Non-processed eggs have a natural film over them when the hens lay them that keeps the eggs from spoiling. If you do decide to put them in the fridge, they can last up to three weeks. Knock on wood, I haven't run into one rotten egg in all the time we've been here.
Because I wasn't paying much attention about a week ago when I bought a bag of eggs, I just grabbed whatever was closest to me. It was only when I got home that I realized I had some jumbos.
Jumbo egg on left, regular egg on right. I feel a bit sorry for the hens who had to lay some of these big ones. It hadta' hurt! And oh, the jumbo egg isn't a white as it looks in the picture. Think more along the lines of a very light tan.
So far, I've had two with double yolks. How cool is that? And while I used a regular sized egg for this recipe, I thought this quick, little egg lesson might be helpful. Your welcome and now back to our recipe.
With the egg in the batter, I then alternated adding the flour and yogurt.
And now it's time for a quick aside about the yogurt. The recipe calls for non-fat, plain Greek yogurt. That wasn't going to happen, because I knew our stores don't carry any Greek yogurt -- plain, flavored, fat, or non. As it turns out, I couldn't find any plain yogurt either, but did spy a container of apple yogurt. Apples go with cinnamon, right? Figured I'd give it a try.
With the batter all incorporated, it was time to spoon it into the pan.
Now those of you with the eyes of an eagle might notice that this isn't a 9x13" pan. Why? I don't have one. Also, because I was halving the recipe, this springform pan seemed to be about the right size for the job. Work with what you got.
I combined the topping ingredients in a separate bowl:
Like with the batter, I used a regular 1/4 cup measure for the brown sugar. Walnuts and pecans were MIA in the grocery stores, so I decided to use sliced almonds. I'm telling you, if you don't improvise when you cook now, you'll quickly learn when you move here.

Anyway, I sprinkled the topping over the batter...

 ...and popped the pan into a pre-heated 350-degree oven for about 30 minutes.
After it was finished baking and allowed to cool for a bit, here's the final result:
The verdict? In spite of the substitutions, it turned out really well. But I must admit that the full compliment of topping made it a bit too sweet for me. Having now made this recipe a few times, it seems to taste best if I add only about a third of the topping. Also, the apple yogurt worked fine, but have since found and used plain yogurt with great results.

So the next time you're craving a coffee cake or spy an Entenmann's box, why not give this cake a go? It only takes about 15 minutes to put it together and 30 minutes to bake. In less than hour, you can indulge yourself!

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