Monday, February 20, 2012

Caramel Coffee Cake

When Seattle is hit with a snow-storm, the entire city shuts down. It is a rare enough occurance that we don't have a ready supply of plows, and the hilly terrain crossed with the marine location generally result in even the whitest and fluffiest of romantic blizzards quickly turning to a hair-raising and treacherous slip-and-skid fest. What a white-out usually means in my house is a chance to turn-up the oven, pull out the flour, and start stocking up on the baked goods.

I wanted to try a couple of different recipes from the United Cakes of America book, so I decided to halve this recipe and just bake a single layer in an 8-inch round pan. It's called Caramel Cake, and the book presents it with a caramel glaze. However, I was out of cream, and no way to to get to the store due to the snowed-in roads, so I modified it by giving it a streusel topping.

The cake itself really did seem to have a carmelly flavor that I loved. But, it was a little hard to discern if it was just the cake itself, or if the topping had something to do with it. Because I put a brown-sugar flavored mixture on top of the batter, which sunk in to make a bit of a ribbon during baking, some of that taste could definitely have permeated the cake itself. Either way, it was moist and delicious with a lot more going on than just a standard yellow cake, and with a bit of crunchy pecan topping, it was a perfect stand-in for a breakfast cake or for dessert. Plus, I found that it stayed fresh for a number of days.

Caramel Cake
adapted from Warren Brown's United Cakes of America

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons potato starch
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons bourbon

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg

Streusel topping:2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour an 8" round pan. Combine first five ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl combine next three ingredients. In a third bowl, cream together butter and sugar, then beat in egg. Add wet and dry ingredients alternately in 2-3 additions. Pour batter into pan.

Mix together stresel ingredients, cutting in the butter into small lumps form. Sprinkle evenly over batter, then bake about 25 minutes until edges of cake start to pull away from pan.

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