For some time now I have been contemplating coffee cake. Whether it’s to be eaten as breakfast, served with afternoon tea, or be devoured as an after-dinner treat, the one thing that is for sure is that coffeecake, at its best, is absolutely delicious. The question is what type is the best?
Doing a Google image search for photos of coffee cake shows that everyone has a different idea of what good coffee cake really is. Some showed pictures of tall, moist confections, filled with gooey fruit. Others depicted short, dense cakes with tunnels of cinnamon and sugar. As usual, after perusing many recipe sites, I walked away with a bunch of ideas, but no real complete recipe.
In the case of my coffee cake, I found a basic batter recipe for the cake, and then I tweaked—not a lot, but enough to make it mine. Once I had the basic batter, I had to decide what filling I wanted. I had apples that needed to be used, and I also was left with some fresh cherries that a houseguest who lives fairly far away left behind. Which to use? The answer was totally obvious; I needed to make two coffee cakes. And that’s just what I did. Then we all ate some of each. Here’s how it went.
Coffee Cake Creation Number One:
Cinnamon-Apple Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel topping
Verdict: Great texture when freshly baked, but not as good the next day. Maybe I shouldn’t have refrigerated it—the spongy texture was nowhere in sight; instead, the cake became more like a thick crust. It was still good, but not at all the texture for which I was trying. The apple filling needed something gooey. The apples were cooked and spiced perfectly. The amount of nuts was perfect. Maybe a glaze drizzled over the top would tie it all together. I’m going to increase the batter a bit, and maybe I’ll try a smaller pan, too. And I will definitely not refrigerate it next time.
Coffee Cake Creation Number Two:
Cherry-Cream Cheese Coffee Cake with Streusel topping
Verdict: Good, but not great when freshly baked. It was really good after being refrigerated overnight. Despite that the cake batters were identical, and the same thing happened to them after being refrigerated, it managed to complement the filling in this recipe instead of detracting from it. I think I’ll halve the batter recipe for this cake, but I’ll increase the cream cheese and cherry quotient. I’ll also toast the almonds instead of just sprinkling them over the cream cheese. Maybe some swirl action. Hmmm.
In any event, I’m not ready to post recipes for these guys just yet. I’ll have to do another tweak (hopefully on one more), and then if that works, I’ll see if I can recreate it a couple more times. Hopefully, everyone won’t be sick of coffee cake by then.