A Pan Meant to be Used
January 29, 2008
When I got my tube pan, I thought it would be one of those kitchen implements that would live in the nether regions of the cupboard. I foresaw it being overshadowed by more useful (9×13), less cumbersome (the regular old 10-inch cake rounds), and oh-so-pretty (tart tins in, I confess, all sizes) pans. So, I was surprised last summer when I used it to make angel food cake quite a few times. No matter how deeply stashed away it was, I continually found myself plucking it out.
So, I figured it would be a seasonal thing. Once the days shortened and temperatures plunged, this pan would fall into disuse and neglect. Because, who wants angel food cake in the winter? This is the season for hearty-richness, clearly. Not light-and-airiness. Well…that’s not quite true. My friends who have had the angel food cake I’m writing about are probably laughing at the light-and-airiness description. The cake—Ina Garten’s Black and White Angel Food Cake—is draped in chocolate, after all.
(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)
I guess it should come as no surprise, then, that it was another Ina Garten recipe that had me excavating my tube pan this January. I’d been looking for a reason to bake her coffee cake and I figured last Sunday’s brunch would be the perfect opportunity. Freezing temperatures be damned, that pan of mine is apparently meant to be used.
And this cake can pretty much guarantee that the tube pan will now become a non-Angel-food-cake-season staple as well. “Coffee cake” doesn’t begin to capture how delicious the cake was. The cake was moist and dense (but still somehow light?) and, best of all, bisected with a thin layer of streusel. The streusel re-appeared on the roof of the cake too, where it took on a more crumbly, crusted texture. Last, but certainly not least, the whole thing was drizzled with a maple glaze. The glaze was insanely easy to make and even more fun to strew atop the cake:
The only hiccup with the cake was the fact that Kevin’s dad arrived for the brunch bearing…a coffee cake. Our eyes slowly slid between the cake in his hands and the cake perched on the counter. I did the sensible thing: suggested a taste test. And my father-in-law did the gracious thing: shoved his cake into the freezer. A kind man, indeed.
Sour Cream Coffee Cake
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sour cream
2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For the streusel:
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional
For the glaze:
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons real maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Finish stirring with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.
For the streusel, place the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a bowl and pinch together with your fingers until it forms a crumble. Mix in the walnuts, if desired.
Spoon half the batter into the pan and spread it out with a knife. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup streusel. Spoon the rest of the batter in the pan, spread it out, and scatter the remaining streusel on top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
Let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Carefully transfer the cake, streusel side up, onto a serving plate. Whisk the confectioners’ sugar and maple syrup together, adding a few drops of water if necessary, to make the glaze runny. Drizzle as much as you like over the cake with a fork or spoon.