Our Favorite Coffee Cake


Having a sweet treat under the dome has become a need rather than a want in our home. Baking has always been a way for me to relax, decompress, forget and give to those that I love.

My cookbook library is a wealth of information. When I am feeling bored or uninspired, not only in the kitchen, but in everyday life, I will pull one of my cookbooks and simply sift through the pages. Let’s get real here – there are days and even weeks where I cannot deal with planning, prepping or cooking another meal. Not only am I bored with what’s being served, but so are my kids. Just the other night I made breakfast for dinner and both my mom and myself could not have been happier. I could have cared less that night if my kids ate salsa and chips!

When this happens, I bake. Our freezer is filled with cookie doughs, mini tarts, pie crust and the streusel crumb toppings, just like the one that this recipe requires. This coffee cake recipe came out of one of those bored moments. Cooks Illustrated has been a source of inspiration since my junior year in college. I found the magazine at small bookstore in San Fransisco, City Lights, and have been subscribing ever since (that was 1981). This is Isaac’s favorite coffee cake and the most requested by his friends. I am confident that it will be your new favorite as well!



Our Favorite Coffee Cake


280 grams | 9 oz. | 2 cups all purpose flour
232 grams | 8 1/4 oz. | 1 cup + 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
140 grams | 5 oz. | 10 Tbsp. unsalted, grassfed butter (cold + firm)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
187.2 grams | 6 oz. | 3/4 cup buttermilk, room temp.
1 large egg, room temp.
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
150 grams | 5.3 oz. | 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon



• preheat the oven to 350°F.
• butter a 9″ spring form pan and line with parchment (I like these sheets). coat with 1 tablespoon of flour and tap out the excess.
• in the workbowl of your electric mixer, add flour, granulated sugar, and salt – mix to combine. add chunks of butter* and either using a pastry cutter or your paddle attachment, mix to combine. you will want this to resemble very coarse crumbs and be a little “sandy”.
• remove 1 cup of crumbs and combine with brown sugar and cinnamon. set aside and save for later.
• add baking powder and baking soda to your work bowl  and mix to combine.
• add room temperature buttermilk, egg and vanilla, mix until just incorporated. you don’t want to overmix. this will result in a dense and dry cake. 
• spoon 1/3 of the batter into the prepared baking pan. smooth with an off set spatula.
• sprinkle 1/3 of the crumbs over this batter.
• drop the rest of the batter over the first layer of crumbs and cover as best you can. sprinkle the remaining crumbs over the batter and lightly press into the cake. this will seem like a lot of streusel, but it’s not. some of it will sink into the cake as it bakes.
• bake 50-60 minutes or until the center is firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I have overbaked this cake and it’s not good. Start checking your cake at around the 45 minute mark.
• let cool for 30 minutes and then remove the sides of the spingform pan. let cool completely.
• in my opinion, this cake is best eaten the next day. thus I usually make this after dinner so it’s cool enough to put under the dome before going to bed.
• store covered (I have a few of these) at room temperature for up to 4 days. 
• this can be frozen, but I rarely do. it’s so easy that whipping one up takes less than 15 minutes.

* cut your butter in small chunks and freeze for an hour before cutting into flour. 

This recipe was adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks; Cooks Illustrated – The New Best Recipe



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