Recipe courtesy of Baking Illustrated by The Editors of Cook’s Illustrated Magazine
published by America’s Test Kitchen
This morning I woke up poised and ready to make white linen napkins for Easter. I purchased the fabric last fall with the intention of making the napkins for Christmas, but got too busy (all my sewing friends have this problem). I made this coffeecake and started thinking about all the other special occasions on the horizon; Mother’s Day, baby showers, graduations, etc. This simple, buttery cake would be perfect served for brunch, with or without the linen napkins. Enjoy!
1Tablespoon dry bread crumbs
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup, plus 2 Tablespoons, granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
10 Tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) butter, softened but still cool
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk or low-fat (not nonfat) plain yogurt, at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cups walnuts or pecans, chopped fine
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease the bottom and lightly grease the sides of a 10 inch springform pan. Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with bread crumbs, then shake lightly to coat. Tap out excess crumbs.
2. Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl until blended. Add the butter and cut in with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Remove 1 cup of the flour mixture to a separate bowl and set aside (I found that much sugar topping to be excessive. Next time I make this cake I will only use 1/2 cup of the flour mixture, 1/4 cup of the brown sugar and 1/2 cup nuts).
3. Whisk the baking powder and baking soda into the flour mixture remaining in the bowl. Add the buttermilk, egg and vanilla; whisk vigorously (or use an electric mixer) until the batter is thick, smooth, fluffy, and frosting-like, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
4. Add the nuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon to the reserved crumbs of flour, sugar and butter; toss with a fork or your hands until blended. Sprinkle the crumbs over the batter, pressing lightly so that they adhere. Bake the cake until the center is firm and a cake tester comes out clean, 50-55 minutes. Transfer the cake to a wire rack; remove the sides of the pan. Let the cake cool completely, about 2 hours, before serving. When completely cooled, the cake can be slid off the pan bottom and onto a serving plate.