Wednesday, September 22, 2010
I've been baking a lot this week. Testing recipes and frequently finding myself disappointed by the results.
It's been a little frustrating. Especially when Mr. Humble and I are at odds over the verdict for a particular baked treat. Like the well reviewed Epicurious pumpkin spice cake with my own mascarpone dulce de leche frosting. He loved it and insisted I should post it. I thought it tasted less like spice and more like salty-metallic baking soda.
He says he can't taste it but I think that's just because he has corrupted his taste buds with too much rooster sauce.
So we 're posting something we can agree upon today, a relatively simple coffee cake. It has passed the taste test, even though Mr. Humble professes a greater fondness for the plain version of this cake I make. He doesn't seem to understand that I made four cans of dulce de leche this week and they need to find a purpose before I start eating the stuff straight from the can from a spoon.
The dense and tender coffee cake is lovely baked in 6" rounds. However, I prefer baking it in a tube pan when serving it to guests. Slices of the coffee cake-ring will plate up beautifully for fall brunch or tea.
Dulce de Leche Coffee Cake
adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook
yields one 9" tube pan or two 6" rounds
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
yields a very generous amount of streusel. Recipe can be halved for a thinner layer of topping or extra can be frozen and kept for up to a month.
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed light-brown or confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup dulce de leche
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons of dulce de leche
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch tube pan or two 6-inch rounds with a little butter or non-stick spray; set aside. I recommend using removable bottom tube/round pans as inverting a coffee cake out of a pan can be tricky (but not impossible. So if you're careful and okay with a few lost strusel crumbs, you can use standard pans and invert the cakes.).
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
Prepare the topping by combining the streusel ingredients (minus the dulce de leche) in a large bowl. Using your hands, press and rub the ingredients together and the butter is evenly distributed. Press handfuls of the mixture in your fist and then break the streusel chunks to form a variety of crumb sizes of crumbs; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla on medium speed until light and creamy (2 to 3 minutes). Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the sour cream and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat the batter until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Arrange a thin layer of streusel on top of the batter. Gently warm the dulce de leche until it is fluid and drizzle it over the top of the streusel. Top with the remaining streusel, making sure it is evenly distributed over the top of the batter.
Bake until the topping is golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean (save for a smear of dulce de leche) 45 to 50 minutes minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and allow the cake cool 10 to 15 minutes. Remove cake from the pan and allow to cool completely before glazing.
To make the glaze, combine the powdered sugar and dulce de leche until a paste forms. Mix in the milk, a teaspoon at a time, until a thick glaze has formed.
Using a fork, drizzle the glaze over the cake. Let cake sit until glaze is set, about 5 minutes, before serving. Cake can be kept at room temperature, wrapped well in plastic, for up to 4 days.