Monday, November 10, 2008

Mary Williams' Coffee Cake with Streusel

Coffeecake. Simple, homey, comforting and delicious even without that cup of brew. My weekly search for Shabbat baked goods ended with coffeecake. And I'm so glad it did. I suggested it to my sister who was over with her husband and kids and she responded with a resounding, MD LOVES coffeecake. Well that was enough for me. As it turns out, everyone else loves it too and it received raves. I wonder why I never thought to make coffeecake before as it can do triple as breakfast, a simple but in no way plain dessert, and delightful accompaniment to that afternoon cup of tea.This recipe comes from Heirloom Baking with the Brass Sisters, one of my latest additions and a book I was dying to try something from. This book is a collection of recipes that was gathered from old cookbooks and manuscripts and gives a wonderful overview of the things housewives way back when used to whip up. I'm glad I stumbled upon it on a trip to Costco and even more glad I finally put it to use. I was initially afraid of how it would turn out because due to my ditziness, or maybe all the distractions from the delicious nieces, I doubled the flour and not all the other ingredients. Thankfully I realized my mistake, as the amount of liquid would not have compensated for all the dry ingredients so I quickly doubled up on everything else. Not gonna lie, I was too lazy to make the streusel topping again. The cake baked nicely in the pan even doubled which I would do again but would certainly make at least a double streusel recipe. I also ran out of brown sugar and substituted regular sugar for the topping which resulted in a deliciously crisp top crust, a feature of the cake I really liked. Really, this cake had no downside and is slowly disappearing.

Mary Williams' Coffeecake with Streusel
from Heirloom Baking with the Brass Sisters

For streusel:
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp cold margarine or butter
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

For the cake:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk, or non dairy substitute
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350. Line and grease an 8 inch square pan.

In a small bowl, place the sugar, flour, and cinnamon.
Stir well.

Cut in butter

until you have formed pieces the size of small peas.

Add pecans and stir. Set aside.

In another bowl, place the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Stir to combine.

Cut in the margarine or butter until small pieces are formed.

Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. Be careful not to overmix though!

Spread half of the batter in the pan,

and top with half the streusel. It does look a bit anemic, I know. Gently spread the remaining batter on top,

and sprinkle with remaining streusel. Bake until a beautiful golden brown, about 35-40 minutes. Test with a toothpick or a knife and make sure it comes out clean.

Take a test pieces for yourself and enjoy!!

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