Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

Photo by: K. Henriques

For my final coffee cake recipe for this month I decided to try this Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake. I don’t think I’ve made coffee cake in a loaf pan before but I’m not sure why because that seems super fun and makes it easier to serve (in my humble opinion).

I made the streusel first and I’ll be honest, I was a little unsure of things since I wasn’t sure how the cinnamon and chocolate would mesh together. I know it’s not an uncommon combination by any means, but it’s not normally my favorite together so I wasn’t sure how I’d like the end result. I chose to use pecans since those are usually my favorite with paired with chocolate.

The cake portion is quite very simple to throw together. Because this recipe makes two loaves, I decided to make a half batch because I don’t need that much coffee cake lying around the house. I knew it was going to be a little tricky since the full recipe calls for three eggs, but I went did it anyway and used two. I spooned about half of the mixture in the loaf pan and then sprinkled some of the streusel on; then you spoon the rest of the cake portion and top with the remaining streusel. I threw a couple more chocolate chips on top for good measure.

I let it cool just a little bit before cutting a piece and ate my while it was warm since that was recommended in the recipe. I didn’t love the cinnamon in this recipe, but it wasn’t as weird as I thought. I’d probably leave it out the next time I make this though and am giving it a 9 for taste merely because it’s not my favorite. I definitely would make this again though and I loved the crunchiness of the pecans and the chocolate!

Baking Ease10
Time Spent10
Taste9
Visual10

Recipe Used: Beyond Frosting

Gluten-Free Coffee Cake

Photo by: K. Henriques

I have several friends who can’t have gluten so I thought it would be fun to try a gluten-free coffee cake. As you can imagine, there were no shortage of recipes online, but I chose this one because it looked easy and I wanted to do a half recipe and this seemed easy to do.

Not to sound like a broken record, but this isn’t difficult to throw together. I’ll spare everyone from reading what is basically me walking you through my process; just follow the recipe. I used Measure for Measure gluten-free flour by King Arthur and then unsweetened almond milk since I had some on hand. If you want to make this dairy-free as well I imagine you can use vegan butter and dairy-free sour cream, but I just used real butter and regular sour cream.

I might have gotten a little too carried away marbling the cake and filling layer but at least I didn’t forget it this time! Instead of doing an 8 inch cake pan I used a 6 inch and baked this for 30 minutes. I thought this ended up tasting really good and it was easy to half so it’s perfect if you are only making this for 2-3 people (depending on how big you cut your cake!).

Baking Ease10
Time Spent10
Taste9
Visual10

Recipe Used: Food Faith Fitness

Blueberry Coffee Cake

Photo by: K. Henriques

Side note, I’m not coffee cake connoisseur, but I always assumed coffee cake just meant it had the brown sugar/cinnamon/butter filling in a middle layer. I’ve noticed a lot of recipe call themselves coffee cake even if they don’t have that and opt for the streusel topping. Regardless of what actually defines coffee cake I’m still on a quest to try various coffee cake recipes. I love blueberry muffins so I got excited when I ran across this particular recipe.

For starters, it’s very easy. Again, you’re making a cake so you cream the butter and sugar together, add eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest and then add your pre-mixed dry ingredients (alternating with the milk). Once everything is mixed then fold in the fresh blueberries and add the streusel.

I decided to make a half batch and since there were only 2 eggs it was super easy. It ended up making an 8×8 pan and I cooked it for 35 minutes rather than what was listed. I looked really pretty and so far has been my personal favorite, but again, I love blueberry muffins so I had a feeling this might be a favorite!

Baking Ease10
Time Spent10
Taste10
Visual10

Recipe Used: Once Upon a Chef

Bananas Foster Coffee Cake with Vanilla Rum Sauce

Photo by: K. Henriques

I should probably start off by noting that I actually have never had Bananas Foster. It’s something I’ve been wanting to try for a while, but there aren’t a lot of restaurants I’ve been to serving it so I just haven’t had the chance yet. I ran across this recipe while searching for different coffee cake recipes since I was wanting to shake things up a little. I’ve really enjoyed doing various themes, such as coffee cake, because it showcases all of the different ways you can make something. Plus, it’s fun to try so many similar in theme, but different in taste recipes. Just as an FYI, they’ve got a video you at the beginning of this recipe that shows everything from start to finish.

I felt like this recipe was a little complicated to read, mainly because so many of the ingredients are divided. You’ll want to pay close attention to the amounts as you follow the instructions because if you’re not paying attention you could accidentally add too much of something. I am usually terrible about missing stuff like that, but I guess multiple mistakes have made me more cautious so thankfully I didn’t mess anything up this time. I found it was easier for me to just follow the steps instructions since they list a lot of the amounts there.

This recipe takes a little more time than other coffee cake recipes since you do cook the banana mixture. I actually had some bananas in the freezer so I thawed those and used them instead of fresh ones since that’s what I do for banana bread or muffins. Other than cooking the bananas, this recipe is fairly standard; however, this is the first time I’ve used cream cheese in a coffee cake recipe. I loved that this recipe called for pecans as part of the streusel since I really love pecans and feel like they always add a nice texture. The vanilla-rum sauce wasn’t difficult to make and smelled amazing while it was cooking! It also made a LOT so if I made this again I would probably half the sauce recipe.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect taste wise but this was really good. The bananas weren’t overpowering but added a nice flavor to the coffee cake and I loved the pecan streusel on top. Adding the vanilla-rum sauce was literally the icing on the cake since I could have eaten that by the spoonful! I made the coffee cake the night before and then just heated up the sauce to pour on top and that worked great so I’d definitely do that again.

Baking Ease8
Time Spent8
Taste9
Visual10

Recipe Used: Southern Living

Cinnamon-Streusal Coffeecake

Photo by: K. Henriques

I have a favorite coffee cake recipe I’ve been using for a few years now, but I figured if I was going to spend a few weeks trying new recipes I ought to start with the basic version first. The topping is honestly the best part of coffee cake (in my opinion) so I set out to find one that went above and beyond. I found several contenders, but after reading The Kitchn do a coffeecake showdown I chose their winner: King Arthur.

Compared to my normal recipe, this one is a little more time intensive. The topping and filling mixtures were easy to throw together; though I was surprised to see a little unsweetened cocoa powder in the filling as that’s unusual. I used dutch processed since that’s what we had on hand. I was also slightly shocked at how much sugar goes in this whole thing! I realize it’s coffee cake, but something about putting a cup of granulated sugar in the topping, a cup of brown sugar in the filling, and then additional brown/granulated sugar in the cake seemed like a lot. I think I could feel my insulin spiking just thinking about it. I digress…

The cake portion isn’t difficult and very standard for an actual cake in that you cream the butter and eggs before adding other ingredients. Once you’ve got everything mixed you start creating the coffeecake. Cake batter, filling, cake batter, topping. Mine was abut 20 minutes into baking when I realized I forgot to do the marbling…. 😦

Despite the marbling, this looked really nice and tasted delicious as well. Personally, I do think you could cut back on the sugar in the cake portion but everyone else that had it said it was great so maybe it’s just me. This was a winner at our house and at least gives me more than one go-to coffee cake recipe when I need it!

Baking Ease9
Time Spent8
Taste9
Visual10

Recipe Used: King Arthur

Fresh Blueberry Scones

Photo: K. Henriques

I’m celebrating scones this month so each week during the month of February I’ll be trying different scone recipes. Last year I tried Cranberry Scones, Bacon-Cheddar-Chive Scones, and Cinnamon Swirl Scones; so I’ll be focusing on some different recipes this month. I’m kicking things off with this Lemon Blueberry Scones recipe from King Arthur.

Firstly, this recipe recommends weighing your flour so be sure to take note of that as too much flour can create very dry scones. It says to use your fingers to work the butter into the dry ingredients but I actually used a pastry cutter and felt like it worked well. I did find it a little difficult to mix in the blueberries because it’s a firmer dough and you don’t want to crush the blueberries so take your time otherwise you’ll just end up with a purple mess.

I completely forgot to cut these before baking so I ended up having to bake this longer since the middle wasn’t quite done. That’s an important step but know that if you forgot like I did then just keep an eye on these so they don’t burn and let it bake a little longer.

I didn’t eat these right out of the oven but I’m sure they would be delicious with some butter right out of the oven as the recipe suggests. I loved the blueberry taste for these but didn’t really notice the lemon so I’d probably either up the zest next time or use lemon oil. I also felt like mine were a little dry, but I know that’s probably because I forgot the cutting step and had to bake it longer so all of the scones were done which probably resulted in some being too dry. Despite these small missteps, I would 100% try these again!

Baking Ease10
Time Spent10
Taste8
Visual9

Recipe Used: King Arthur’s Baking Companion p. 74 or their website

Crispy Belgian Waffles

It’s waffle time again! Last time I made waffles I used the King Arthur recipe so in the interest of experimentation I found another recipe to try this time. I prefer a really crispy waffle so that was my goal in searching for the right recipe.

One key difference between this recipe and others is that it’s designed for a Belgian waffle maker, though I’m sure you could use a normal waffle maker if you needed to. According to this recipe, “The secret ingredient to get them extra crispy is the cornstarch!” I know I’ve said this before, but I really hate folding whipped egg whites into a batter. I always feel like I either don’t mix enough, or mix too much. Thankfully this is something my husband is good at so I always pull him in to supervise.

Once you’ve got your batter done just pour some of it onto the hot (and sprayed) Belgian waffle maker and wait. This is the only part about making waffles I hate, because it feels like it takes forever and if you’re making a batch you risk the waffles getting a little soggy while you wait for the others to cook. We always turn the oven on and throw the waffles in there to help keep them crispier.

I definitely noticed a difference in crispness over the King Arthur recipe. It still wasn’t quite as crispy as I prefer, but I also think I could have left mine in the waffle maker a little longer. They were very good though and this recipe warrants another try in the future!

Baking Ease10
Time Spent9
Taste9
Visual9

Recipe Used: Jo Cooks

12 Days of Christmas Baking- Pastry Edition Day 12: King Arthur’s Almond Galette

Photo: K.Henriques

Final day! I’ll be honest, this wasn’t easy. Our oven went out three weeks ago so I’ve been borrowing people’s kitchen since then to make these recipes. Many thanks to all those who allowed me to do a bit of a kitchen takeover! Because of the oven situation, I had to make some changes to what I wanted to make for this challenge to accommodate feasibility and drive time. Enough chatter though…. let’s talk about today’s recipe. I’m finishing the 12 days with an Almond Galette, which is usually served on Epiphany (January 6).

I made the crust the night before since it could sit in the fridge overnight. I had a little issue with this particular dough as it was super crumbly and wasn’t holding together well after mixing in the sour cream. I added a little more and then felt like it was a little too wet. It was a bit of a mess trying to roll this out and do the folding, but I made it happen. Once it was all done I wrapped it in plastic wrap and hoped for the best.

The next day I prepped the filling, which was easy. Thankfully my dough had firmed up a good bit so rolling it out was much easier. It was still a little wet and broke in a few places, but for the most part I got a 10″ circle. The filling is quite thick, so I had a little trouble spreading this onto the delicate pastry layer. I rolled out the 11″ circle and that was a little more difficult since it was obviously a little thinner than the 10″ layer. In hindsight, I almost wonder if rather than cutting the dough in half to make the 2 pastry circles if you should do one just slightly bigger. I might try that when I make this again.

I was kind of nervous about making the design since you don’t want to cut into the dough. I tried something simple since this was the first time. Be sure to do the egg wash first as that helps create some distinction when you cut into the dough. That’s your final step before popping this into the oven!

I rotated the pan halfway through the baking process since I noticed one side was getting darker than the other. I also noticed the butter from the pastry dough was seeping out a little so that made me nervous about how it would turn out. Thankfully when I pulled it out of the oven none of my sides had split so it must have just been seeping from the dough. It looked really nice and golden brown, though you really couldn’t see the design. I actually watched a well known pastry chef make this on Instagram while it was baking and noticed they used a really sharp knife to cut into the dough and it kind of looked like the knife was held at an angle to cut the dough without actually going through. Obviously theirs was stunning looking, but they also do this for a living!

Minus the issues I had with the pastry dough, this was actually pretty easy. I would highly recommend making the dough the night before as it makes the process seem faster. I’m not normally a huge fan of almond paste, but I really liked this and would definitely recommend eating it while still warm if possible. My goal when making this again would be to try and do a more intricate design that ends up being seen a little easier.

Baking Ease9
Time Spent8
Taste10
Visual8

Recipe Used: King Arthur

12 Days of Christmas Baking- Pastry Edition Day 11: King Cake

Photo: K.Henriques

Before I begin talking about the recipe I feel like I should give a disclaimer. Apparently you’re not supposed to eat king cake before Epiphany (Jan 6) because it’ll bring you bad luck. I’m not superstitious so I figured a little earlier wouldn’t hurt….

I’ve made a king cake twice before. The first time I tried a gluten-free version that didn’t turn out great, and then I tried this version a few years ago. I was initially intrigued by this recipe because it’s America’s Test Kitchen and I usually have good experiences with their stuff. Plus, I liked they used a Bundt pan to make the ring because mine always look kind of sad. This recipe is actually pretty easy in that you mix everything together, let it knead in a stand mixer for about ten minutes and then you leave it to rise for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Once that’s done you mix the filling together (pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon) and then roll the dough out to the correct size and put the filling in the middle like you would for cinnamon rolls. Then you roll it up and put it into the Bundt pan and honestly that was the hardest part. Once it’s cooled then you put the glaze on and sprinkle mardi gras colored sanding sugar on top.

This tasted good, but I should have rolled my dough a little tighter because the swirl on the inside wasn’t as pronounced as I would have like. A lot of the filling mixture was just in the middle rather than throughout. It was definitely breadier (I’m just making up words now….) than a standard king cake, but it was good. Maybe not the iconic king cake you think of when you’re craving one, but it was certainly a great backup option. It’s also the prettiest king cake I’ve ever made too!

Baking Ease10
Time Spent8
Taste9
Visual10

Recipe Used: The Perfect Cake p. 281

12 Days of Christmas Baking- Pastry Edition Day 10: Napoleons

Photo: K.Henriques

While many of the pastries I’ve made are more modern pastries, the Napoleon is a classic french pastry. Since I didn’t make my own puff pastry for the few earlier 12 Days of Christmas Baking pastries I knew I had to try it at least once during this challenge. I chose King Arthur’s recipe because they’re good at explaining things and when I’m trying a new recipe with unique techniques for the first time it’s helpful to have their tips and photos.

I started off by making a half batch of their Blitz Puff Pastry. I made it the night before and having just finished making croissants, this was actually fairly easy since I was used to some of the same techniques. While there is a lot of folding and chilling, this recipe isn’t too difficult and yields a great puff pastry. I had to bake this at my grandparents house so I wasn’t able to roll out my pastry as thin as it needed to be but there were a lot of nice flaky layers.

I did cheat a little on this recipe and use the leftover pastry cream I made for the chocolate eclairs a few days ago. I had quite a bit leftover since my eclairs didn’t really turn out so there was no sense in wasting it.

Right before I assembled everything I made the glaze, which was super simple. I also melted my chocolate on 50% heat in the microwave for 15-30 second intervals. I trimmed my puff pastry down so I had the same size rectangles. My puff pastry cut really well, but I think that’s because it was a little too thick. Once everything was ready to go I started assembling: puff pastry on the bottom, layer of pastry cream, another layer of puff pastry and pastry cream, then take the final piece of puff pastry and gently spread the glaze on top. I cleaned up the sides and then put it on the layered puff pastry and pastry cream sandwich. I made a few vertical lines using the chocolate and then took a toothpick and made horizontal lines to create the iconic design seen on Napoleons. Visually I think it could have been a little cleaner so I didn’t give it a full 10.

Taste wise it was really good, but my puff pastry was a little too thick making it chewy and a little difficult to eat. Had it been a little thinner I think it would have yielded a better taste. This wasn’t crazy difficult, but it was a little time consuming. It was certainly fun to make my own puff pastry and create such a delicate and elegant looking dessert.

Baking Ease8
Time Spent8
Taste9
Visual9

Recipe Used: King Arthur