This is an updated post from the recipe archives.
If English isn’t your primary language, coffee cake must be very confusing. I mean, there’s no coffee in it normally. It should be called “Cake you eat with coffee.” Of course, that doesn’t roll off the tongue really so people just say coffee cake.
My point is that some people are probably disappointed when they eat their coffee cake and discover that it has no actual coffee IN IT.
So I decided to fix that.
1) Brew a very strong cup of coffee and cool it off in the fridge before continuing. You could do this the day before.
2) Finely chop your pecans or walnuts or pulse them a few times in a food processor. Then mix them with the cinnamon and sugar to finish the streusel. Set aside for later.
3) Combine all your dry ingredients for the cake and mix together.
4) Combine the cold strong coffee with the buttermilk and vanilla and whisk together. Set aside.
5) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and if you're using a bundt pan, lightly butter it and dust it with flour so your cake will come out easily.
6) Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat together the sugar and soft butter until light and fluffy. About 5 minutes with a stand mixer or 10 minutes with a hand mixer.
7) Mix in one egg at a time, mixing on low after each egg.
8) Add your dry and wet ingredients to the batter in the following order, stirring after every step: 1/3 dry mix, 1/2 wet mix, 1/3 dry mix, the remaining wet mix, the remaining dry mix. Mix well and scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is well combined.
9) Pour half of your batter into your dish or bundt pan. Add all your streusel in an even layer. Then top with rest of your batter.
10) Bake at 350 degrees until a wooden skewer comes out cleanly, about an hour but it could vary based on your pan so just check it regularly.
11) Cool the cake for 10 minutes on a rack and then, if you used a bundt pan, invert it on a plate to carefully remove the cake. You can slide a knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake a bit.
12) Cool the cake completely.
13) If you're using glaze, mix sifted powdered sugar and coffee until smooth, then drizzle over cake.
14) Let glaze harden for a few minutes then serve immediately.
Adapted from a Gourmet Today recipe.
Coffee Coffee Cake
The Coffee part
A lot of recipes like this use instant espresso but I just decided to brew a really strong pot of french press coffee and use that in place of some of the liquid. It worked like a charm.
So this coffee cake is like most coffee cakes in that it’s filled with a really tasty cinnamon sugar streusel. There are some pecans mixed in as well although they are totally optional.
If you’re using the pecans though, chop them really finely or give them a spin in a food processor.
Mix the chopped nuts with the cinnamon and sugar and set it aside for later.
Once you have your coffee brewed, be sure to cool it off in the fridge. Adding hot coffee to a cake batter is a recipe for failure.
Then just mix all the liquid ingredients together. This will smell really intense actually.
For those that are recipe curious, I just adapted the recipe I was using to replace 1-for-1 the buttermilk for the coffee. But I still kept a good amount of buttermilk because it gives the cake some great moisture.
In a separate bowl, stir together the dry stuff (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt).
Making the Batter
Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until they’re light and fluffy, about 5 minutes with a stand mixer or 10 with a hand mixer. Then add the eggs one at a time, mixing in between each one.
Next, you need to incorporate the dry ingredient mix and the wet stuff into the creamed butter. This is the same process for pretty much every cake, but it goes like this:
– Add 1/3 of your dry ingredients to the creamed butter and combine.
– Add 1/2 your liquid and mix together.
– Add 1/3 of your dry ingredients and stir.
– Add the rest of your liquid and stir.
– Finally, add the rest of your dry ingredients and combine. If you’re using a stand mixer, be sure to scrape the bowl down.
You should end up with a really light and fluffy batter that smells like, well, COFFEE.
If you’re using a bundt cake (which I recommend), be sure to lightly butter and flour the pan so the cake comes out easily after baking. Then pour HALF of your batter into the prepared pan and even it out. Add your streusel layer to that!
Then pour the rest of your batter over the streusel. It’s okay if some of the streusel is poking through, just do your best to even everything out.
Baking the Cake
Bake your coffee coffee cake at 350 degrees until a wooden skewer comes out clean. Mine took about an hour. Be sure to check it with a skewer though because depending on the pan you’re using, your cooking time could vary by 10-15 minutes.
Anyway, you’ll end up with this delicious looking thing which you should let cool on a rack for 10 minutes.
Once it’s reasonably cool, you should be able to remove it from the pan pretty easily. I just flip my pan over onto a plate and the cake should come out. If you’re worried about it, slide a knife around the edges to loosen it.
I decided to prepare a quick coffee glaze for the cake also. Just combine some coffee with sifted powdered sugar until it’s smooth. Be sure that the cake is cool before you glaze it though. I let mine cool for about an hour before I glazed it.
Once the glaze is mostly smooth, it’s time to drizzle!
Slice it up and serve it! This cake will keep pretty moist for 3 or 4 days as long as you don’t slice it all and wrap it well in plastic wrap.
When I started making this recipe I was worried that you wouldn’t be able to taste the coffee and then I was worried that the coffee flavor would be TOO intense, but it turned out about right honestly.
The cake was very moist and had some great flavor. So give this a shot if you’re in the mood for some REAL coffee cake!