Our test kitchen opens up for public tours the second Friday of each month. Groups come in, we show them our kitchen and we feed them coffee cake. That's the drill. The coffee cake recipe is always the same and it's delicious—other editors from around the institute always come by for scraps in the morning after we trim and cut the cakes. The original recipe calls for pears (as seen below) but we'll use whatever seasonal fruit looks best.
GOOD HOUSEKEEPING SOUR CREAM COFFEE CAKE
SERVES: 10 to 12
FOR THE STREUSEL
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons margarine or butter, softened
2/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
FOR THE CAKE
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
6 tablespoons margarine or butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups sour cream
3 firm Bosc pears (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚. Line a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil; grease the flour and dust with flour.
2. Prepare the streusel: In a medium bowl, mix the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon with a fork until well blended. With your fingertips, work in the butter until evenly distributed. Add the walnuts and toss to mix; set aside.
3. Prepare the cake: In another mediun bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
4. In a large bowl with a mixer on low speed, beat the sugar and butter until blended, scraping down the bowl often with a rubber spatula. Increase the speed to high, beat until creamy, about 2 minutes, occasionally scraping down the bowl. Reduce the speed to low; add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
5. With the mixer on low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture and the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, until the batter is smooth, occasionally scraping the bowl. Fold in the pears with a rubber spatula.
6. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Sprinkle the top with the streusel mixture. Bake the coffee cake 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack 1 hour to serve warm, or cool completely in the pan to serve later. Makes 16 servings.
[Recipe from Good Housekeeping. Photographed by me!]