Sunday, August 07, 2005

Cinnamon Nut Coffee Cake

When I was little, my mom occassionally went to coffee klatches. As far as I knew, the ladies in the neighborhood drank coffee and ate coffee cakes and danishes while discussing whatever was on their minds-sharing their own troubles. I wouldn't know first hand because it was also an occassion to leave the kids at home with Dad. I don't think there was much gossip spread like there might be in a more "keep up with the Joneses" neighborhood typical of American suburbia. In this farming community, people had their own things to worry about...the crops, the cows, the machinery. Perhaps these coffee klatches were simply a very short vacation from the labors that awaited them when my mother and the neighborhood ladies returned home, or perhaps they were looking for an excuse to eat coffee cake...

There's nothing quite like coffee cake. Dense, rich, sweet, nutty. I love to have an excuse to make coffee cake and I found one yesterday when a friend of mine threw a brunch for another friend's birthday! I made my own favorite recipe that I evolved from one my mom used to make. Moist and slightly sour, the batter is perfect for swirling with a sweet and sticky brown sugar and cinnamon filling. There's no need to wait for an event to make this cake, but it's a crowd pleaser, so be prepared to share it.

Cinnamon Nut Coffee Cake

For the Batter
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature or just softened in the microwave (not melted)
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoons salt
2 cups plain nonfat yogurt

For the Filling
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until incorporated.
Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl and add to the creamed mixture alternately with the nonfat yogurt. Beat until the batter is smooth.

Combine the ingredients for the filling in a small bowl. Spoon 1/3 of the batter into a tube or bundt pan, then spoon 1/3 of the filling over the batter. Do this 2 more times, ending with the filling.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-70 minutes, depending on your pan and oven. I use a skewer to test it to be certain it is done. Let cool for 10 minutes in then pan, then flip it out onto a cake plate and allow to cool completely.

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