I think there are times when we could all use a little more sweetness in our lives. I have found this winter to be one of those times. Everywhere I turn there are hurtful words, false assumptions, and wild accusations. For those already burdened by personal challenges such harsh conditions can really take their toll.
My personal antidote comes from the kitchen. That’s where I retreat when life turns cold or unkind. This week it comes in the form of a sweet new recipe for a coffee cake. This cake has a crumb softened by sour cream and a streusel warmed by a healthy measure of cinnamon.
Cloistered in my kitchen I turned from the front page conflicts and drama to the Food section of the local paper. There I saw a story about a Sour Cream Coffee Cake that had been passed down from generation to generation. Remembering that I had some left over sour cream in the refrigerator after making Cornflake Casserole for my son, I took note.
While the recipe in the paper was tempting I took a page from my own family’s traditions and looked to Taste of Home, a magazine Aunt Hen subscribed to and often cooked from, for a recipe that better fit the ingredients I had on hand. While I didn’t have quite as much sour cream as it called for, I filled out the measure with a little milk. Otherwise I didn’t change a thing in baking this sweet conclusion to a cold winter day.
¼ cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 325F.
Grease a 9-inch square pan. Set aside. (If you don’t have this size try a 10-inch springform pan or a 9 x 13 inch rectangular pan. The baking time may vary slightly so watch carefully.)
In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the topping. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Add dry ingredients, stirring just until combined.
Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle half of the topping over the batter. Spoon the remaining batter over the topping layer in dollops. Spread lightly. Sprinkle the remaining topping over all.
Bake at 325F for 40 – 45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.