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Eating Well: Coffee-infused cake perfect anytime pairing

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Coffee cake is a flexible term in that the traditional treat is always a hit no matter what time of day you serve the sweet, savory concoction.

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For all practical purposes, it makes sense that its name should be taken for what is implied - that either you serve the delicious "cake" with coffee, or at a breakfast or brunch when ample amounts of coffee more than likely will be served along with an abundance of food as a pick-me-up at the start of everyone's day.

Keeping up with my own personal challenge of aiming to prepare at least one new recipe a week, I found this interestingly, easy 'coffee cake' recipe in one of my old (2005) food and family magazines.

In that I always have a few extra cake mixes on my pantry shelf and there were a couple of cups of coffee remaining in my morning karafe, I decided to take the few minutes required to see if the recipe was as great as the magazine review touted.

The part that really appealed to me was that it actually is a true "coffee" cake with a cup and a third of the beverage a mainstay ingredient.

The recipe called for cooled decaf, but mine was regular brew, chalk full of caffeine, and that is what I substituted, with absolutely no negative side effects.

With the ample cinnamon and the little bit of coconut mingled with the walnuts, I must say this coffee-infused cake was absolutely delicious (and as a side perk made the whole house smell great).

As a taste test, I shared several pieces with a few of my biggest food critics, who approved big time, quickly shooting back with text messages defining the cake in such words as "awesome," and "absolutely wonderful."

It actually was that good and a recipe I will be making again the next time I have breakfast or brunch guests.

I did not make the cake in the two 9-inch round pans as suggested. I instead, poured it all into my regular well-greased (with Pam of course) bundt pan and covered it with the streusel topping. Before placing it in the oven, I took a table knife and swirled the topping down a bit into the batter.

If you are going to do the bundt pan version you will have to remember to adjust your time in the oven, as the cake will definitely take longer to bake. I think I baked the cake about 50 minutes, but just check it at regular intervals and when the top middle springs back to the touch, you will know it is done. (Or you can also insert a toothpick until it comes out clean).

This would also make an excellent dessert cake, served with a little Cool Whip (which I did), and accented by some fresh raspberries or strawberries.

However, you serve it the coffee cake is guaranteed to be a real credit to your dining experience.

Until next time, from my kitchen to yours, happy baking!

Cinnamon Crusted Coffee Cake

1 package (2-layer) yellow cake mix

3 eggs

1/3 cup oil

1 1/3 cups brewed coffee, cooled

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

½ cup flaked coconut

½ cup walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat cake mix with eggs, oil and coffee in large bowl with electric mixer until well blended. Pour evenly into two greased (9-inch) round cake pans.

Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl. Stir in coconut and walnuts. Sprinkle evenly over cake batter.

Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely on wire racks before removing cake layers from pan.

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