Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy 100th Birthday to Julia Child!

Dear Lauren,

Sour Cream Coffee Cake.

I've been making this your whole life. The same recipe!

I received this recipe at one of my bridal showers and I don't recall who gave it to me. But the shower was a neat concept. Each guest brought me a favorite recipe along with a piece of equipment to make it. This recipe came with a springform pan, which terrified me! Ha! I thought it was far too complicated for my skill level and I didn't use it for years.

Such a shame.

This morning I made a new recipe from a new (to me) cookbook. But guess what? The new recipe has only very minor variations from the original I received year ago. I'm going to share my recipe and then I'll share the variations so you can:

1) make it both ways, if you want
2) know that you can vary recipes and they'll not only come out fine, you might discover you like the new way even better!
3) take this Julia Child quote to heart (today would be her 100th birthday, you know)

I bought these from Alexandra's Kitchen. I HAD to! One of the notecards says "I think every woman should have a blowtorch. My friend Woo has a blowtorch. So I HAD to send her that card!

Sour Cream Coffee Cake
by a wonderful lady at my bridal shower many years ago

¼ pound butter
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ cup flour
½ teaspoon vanilla

½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons chopped nuts (more if you want)

Cream butter, add sugar and cream together. Add eggs, one at a time, add sour cream alternating with flour that has been sifted with baking soda and baking powder. Add vanilla. Turn half the batter into a greased 9” spring form pan. Sprinkle half the topping mixture (see below) over the batter, cover with remaining batter and sprinkle remainder of mixture on top. Bake 35 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

The Variation
Seattle's Best Sour Cream Coffee Cake from Seattle's Best Coffee in the Pike Place Market cookbook, 2003 edition

Follow my recipe, with these changes:

  • Make a cup of double-strength coffee or espresso (I used instant - it tasted great!) and let cool to room temperature. After adding the eggs to the batter, add 1 tablespoon of your double-strength brew.
  • To your dry ingredients, add an extra 1/4 cup flour, an extra 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • Use this topping recipe: 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar, 1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts (toasted), 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Use a bundt pan instead of a springform pan.
  • After baking, let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then invert it onto a flat serving plate and drizzle the following glaze on top allowing it to soak in at least 15  minutes prior to serving.
  • Coffee Glaze - whisk together: 1 cup powdered sugar (sifted), 3 tablespoons double-strength coffee or espresso (cooled), 1/2 teaspoon cream or half and half, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • Dust with a just a little powdered sugar and a pinch of ground coffee (I used instant!) just before serving.

The glaze goes on first.

Then comes the powdered sugar and the coffee.

And here's the center of the cake. So delicious!

You see which way you like it better! I made the variation for Erin to take to work today and everyone raved about it. I know you want to know if I sent the whole coffee cake or if I kept a slice for me...what do you think?


P.S. Did you see the link I put in the recipe for the chopped hazelnuts? That's where I bought mine. The Pike Place cookbook is rich with information. Did you know that 97% of all hazelnuts are grown in Oregon (3% in Washington). And that if the wind doesn't blow the nuts to the ground when ripe, they hire a helicopter??? The grass below the trees is mowed like a golf course putting green so the harvest can be easily raked up. The Holmquist Hazelnut Orchards grows a variety called DuChilly and unlike other varieties they don't have the dark, bitter skin of other hazelnuts. I find all of this fascinating! So I ordered some hazelnuts from Holmquist in the spirit of cooking from this book. They're delicious!

P.P.S. Next time I make this, I'm making my version but using the hazelnut topping recipe from Seattle's best instead of my topping. I loved the hazelnuts, brown sugar, and nutmeg combination!!


  1. Replies
    1. You know what? It was! That coffee flavor took out some of the usual super-sweetness of my usual recipe. So I guess that just gave it away that I did take a piece of it for myself before I sent it with Erin to her job! haha!