Thursday, December 24, 2009

C.I.'s sour cream coffee cake - who cares that i didn't read the recipe correctly

sour cream cinnamon coffee cake (cook's illustrated) - 11I was going through my saved Cook's Illustrated recipes (the ones I randomly find off Google) and I was dying to try their Sour Cream Coffee Cake. My grandma, who likes everything, was also excited to make a coffee cake. This recipe used a 10-inch tube pan, but first of all- that's a huge recipe for two people, and second of all- I would have to go through cupboards and cupboards of crap at my grandma's to find the right size pan (it already took us hours to find these pans). So with the help of Google, I found that half that would be an 8x8 inch pan.

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So recipe was divided to fit into a 8x8. Yeah, I know, the recipe won't come out quite the same...and we all know how much I hate this. It almost hurts me to not follow the recipe precisely, because then I wouldn't know who to blame if it comes out wrong- me or the recipe.

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This coffee cake has multiple layers of cake and cinnamon, but I only chose to repeat 2 of each. I don't think it would have come out the same if I followed the amount of layering while keeping the recipe itself halved.

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Oh, I should also note how I messed up the recipe. Yes, I am taking the blame for once. Sometimes I rush when I read through recipes, so I didn't see when they said to separate the cinnamon mixture to have one part purely-cinnamon-mixture and the other part (reserved for the top layer) as the cinnamon-crumble-mixture. Basically this means I had one whole batch of cinnamon-walnuts-butter-mixture, which essentially does nothing wrong for the recipe itself. It just has more nuts and butter in the filling of the layers of cake- no biggie.

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And now onto the crumble layer. This is obviously not a crumble. I tried to mix everything like a food processor would have, but using two spatulas just won't cut it. Speaking of which- that is another thing that I will put on hold until I absolutely can't stand it anymore (prime example- my hand mixer- which ended up costing me only $7). Not having a food processor at home can be a real pain in the ass when things like these are necessary. Whatever, I'll make life harder for me.

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Ugh, not happy. The crumble (which should have had butter thoroughly mixed throughout) did not get evenly incorporated- notice how some parts are dry. Also, I hate halving recipes for wrong size pans. These are obviously a different height than the original recipe would have been, meaning the tops are slightly more done than the center. I could go on and on about crap that went wrong... but...

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They came out friken' awesome!

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Granted, they were a little decapitated and some fell over, but the overall taste was delicious.

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The layers came out fine, and most of the bars had visible lines of cinnamon swirled throughout. The center pieces had better butter separation for the crumble part, and tasted great. The cake part was especially moist, which is saying a lot from me, because I usually don't care for cake.

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So I won't rule this one out of the books. Next time I'll have to read the recipe more thoroughly, and probably invest in the right size pan, as well as a food processor. Blehh...

Taken from Cook's Illustrated.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar (I used light because it was all I had)
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter , cold, cut into 2 pieces
1 cup pecans , chopped (only had walnuts)

12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1+1/2 sticks), softened but still cool, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus 2 tablespoons softened butter for greasing pan
4 large eggs
1+1/2 cups sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2+1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1+1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon table salt

1. For the streusel: In food processor, process flour, granulated sugar, 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, and cinnamon until combined, about 15 seconds. Transfer 1 1/4 cups of flour/sugar mixture to small bowl; stir in remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar and set aside to use for streusel filling. Add butter and pecans to mixture in food processor; pulse until nuts and butter resemble small pebbly pieces, about ten 1-second pulses. Set aside to use as streusel topping. (Oops, hehe.)
2. For the cake: Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 10-inch tube pan (who the hell owns a 10-inch tube pan?) with 2 tablespoons softened butter. Whisk eggs, 1 cup sour cream, and vanilla in medium bowl until combined.
3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl of standing mixer; mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add butter and remaining 1/2 cup sour cream; mix on low speed until dry ingredients are moistened and mixture resembles wet sand, with few large butter pieces remaining, about 1 1/2 minutes. Increase to medium speed and beat until batter comes together, about 10 seconds; scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula. Lower speed to medium-low and gradually add egg mixture in 3 additions, beating for 20 seconds after each and scraping down sides of bowl. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until batter is light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
4. Using rubber spatula, spread 2 cups batter in bottom of prepared pan, smoothing surface. Sprinkle evenly with 3/4 cup streusel filling (without butter or nuts). Repeat with another 2 cups batter and remaining 3/4 cup streusel filling (without butter or nuts). Spread remaining batter over, then sprinkle with streusel topping (with butter and nuts).
5. Bake until cake feels firm to touch and long toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean (bits of sugar from streusel may cling to tester), 50 to 60 minutes. Cool cake in pan on wire rack 30 minutes. Invert cake onto rimmed baking sheet (cake will be streusel-side down); remove tube pan, place wire rack on top of cake, and reinvert cake streusel-side up. Cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.

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