IDEA ALLEY: Coffee cake stars as recipe of the year for 2023

Overnight Streusel Coffee Cake (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Kelly Brant)
Overnight Streusel Coffee Cake (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Kelly Brant)

Recipes that appear in Idea Alley have not been tested by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

King Arthur Baking Co. declared 2023 the year of the coffee cake, or rather KABC named coffee cake its recipe of the year. Past recipes of the year have included cinnamon rolls (2021), bagels (2022), banana bread (2018) and chocolate chip oatmeal cookies (2015).

So taking a note from KABC in celebrating all things coffee cake, here are three recipes.

"This is such an outstanding recipe ..." writes Sue-Carol South. "I know your readers would love it. It's my go-to for breakfast or brunch, and it never fails to receive rave reviews and requests for the recipe."

South notes the recipe is from "Little Rock Cooks," the cookbook published by the Little Rock Junior League in 1972.

It was submitted by Mrs. Donald Tatman of Pine Bluff.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt — if butter is unsalted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Topping:
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans (see notes)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar; add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in sour cream and vanilla. Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder; add to mixture.

Combine topping ingredients.

Put half the batter in the prepared pan; sprinkle half the topping over batter; add rest of batter; sprinkle remaining topping on top. Bake 50 to 60 minutes. Cool thoroughly before removing from pan; sprinkle with confectioners' sugar if desired.

Notes: South does not add chopped pecans. South mixes the topping ingredients together with a fork and puts all of it over the first half of batter.

■  ■  ■

If you prefer to let cake mix do the heavy lifting, this one from Anita Rowe makes whipping up a coffee cake a breeze.

"This can be baked in a 9-by-13-inch cake pan or a tube pan. You can add chopped pecans to the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture if desired," Rowe writes.

Quick & Easy Coffee Cake

  • Cake:
  • 1 box yellow cake mix (PLUS ingredients listed on package)
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Glaze:
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons milk

Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour half of the batter into a greased and floured pan.

Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle ¾ of this mixture over cake mix layer. Pour the rest of the cake mixture over the layer of cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon and sugar mixture on top.

Bake according to the cake mix package instructions.

When cake is cool, make a glaze using the confectioners' sugar and milk; drizzle over the cake.

■  ■  ■

Rowe also shared this mixture for greasing and flouring cake pans.

Rowe cautions against substituting for the brands listed here.

"Do not substitute cheaper brands of shortening and oil. The performance will not be the same," she writes.

Cake Pan Coating Mixture

  • 1 cup Crisco shortening
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup Crisco oil

Mix all ingredients well. Store in airtight container (I use a coffee can) and use a pastry brush to coat your cake pans with this mixture. It will not be necessary to flour pans. If you do not bake much, you can make half of a batch by dividing all ingredients by two. Can be refrigerated for longer life.

■  ■  ■

And finally, this recipe is one I developed a few years ago. It is a bit more involved, as the batter rests overnight while you do, so you don't have to get up at the crack of dawn when you want to serve something special for breakfast or brunch.

Unlike quick-bread coffee cakes leavened with baking powder and baking soda (like the previous recipes), this one is made with yeast, which gives it a richer flavor and a deliciously light texture. The cake part also includes considerably less sugar, but the streusel topping gives it a sweet finish.

Overnight Streusel Coffee Cake

  • For the cake:
  • 5 tablespoons warm water
  • 3 tablespoons PLUS ½ teaspoon granulated sugar, divided use
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg PLUS 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Shortening or coconut oil, for greasing pan
  • For the streusel topping:
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 8 tablespoons chilled butter, cubed

In a small bowl, combine the warm water, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and yeast; set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer), combine the flour, remaining sugar and the butter. Mix until thoroughly blended. Add the egg and egg yolks, vanilla and almond extracts; mix well. Then add the salt and yeast mixture. Mix well. Dough will be thick, wet and sticky.

Generously grease an 8- or 9-inch cake pan (ideally one with a removable bottom). Transfer dough to the cake pan and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, then refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Meanwhile, prepare the streusel topping.

In a food processor or using a pastry blender or your fingers, combine the flour, sugars, baking powder and spices. Add the butter and pulse or rub until mixture forms coarse crumbs.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Top the dough with the streusel mixture. Bake for 45 minutes, until the streusel is golden and the cake reaches an internal temperature of about 190 degrees. Cool in pan for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 8 to 12 servings.

Email recipe contributions, requests and culinary questions to:

Upcoming Events