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Do You Think You Are?
Alyse Myers on The View
Guest Author Blog
Sour Cream Coffee Cake
A recipe for a riich. moist coffee cake topped with a
crunchy topping -- perfect for coffee or tea.
WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?
My mother wasn’t a cook. As you’ll read
in my book, after my father died when I was 11 and my sisters were 9
and 8, my mother had to go to work full-time to support us. When she
came home, she was rarely in the mood to prepare dinner. So my sisters
and I grew up on TV dinners and hamburgers – without complaint,
by the way. As far as I was concerned, there was nothing better than
a Swanson’s Fried Chicken dinner (especially when the brownie didn’t
burn or dribble into the corn niblets). Or the hamburger patties my mother
made by mixing Lipton’s Onion Soup into the ground meat and then
wrapping the patties in waxed paper before stacking them in the freezer.
(See pages 88-90 to see what happened when I tried to cook one of those
patties in the toaster.) When my mother was in the mood to use the oven,
she would make either a baked canned ham she topped with Dole pineapple
slices and cloves – or a simple pot roast with potatoes and carrots.
For dessert, ours was a family that lived on anything Entenmann’s
or Sara Lee. But every so often, my mother would surprise us with a homemade
coffee cake - a moist and delicious cake topped with cinnamon and nuts
that she told us had a secret ingredient. An ingredient I later found
out was sour cream.
I loved when my mother made that cake, and I loved how our small apartment
would smell for hours of cinnamon. My mother would cut square after square
to eat with her endless cups of coffee; I preferred mine with a cold
glass of milk when the cake came out of the oven. If there was any cake
left in the Pyrex baking pan before she went to sleep, she would cover
the top with Saran Wrap and leave it on the counter. I would wait until
I knew she was out for the night - and then get up and finish off the
cake. And every single cinnamon crumb.
After my mother died in 1993, I misplaced the recipe that I had saved
for years. Searching the web recently, I was thrilled to finally find
one on Cooks.com that reminded me of my mother’s original. The
recipe is just as easy and delicious. The first time I made it, I left
out the sour cream – the secret ingredient. I’ve never tasted
sour cream but I have a thing about the name. The recipe called for such
a small amount, so I figured it wouldn’t make a difference in the
cake’s taste and texture. Big mistake. So now when I make this
recipe, I put it in, telling myself it’s vanilla ice cream. Like
my mother, I’m not a cook, either.
Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Prep time: 1 hour
For the cake:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream
For the topping:
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2-3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 7 1/2” x 3 3/4” loaf
pan with wax or parchment paper. Make sure paper covers the sides of
- To make the cake: Sift flour with salt and baking soda. Set aside.
With an electric mixer, beat butter in a medium bowl. Add sugar. Beat
until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg. Beat until mixture has
an airy texture.
- Stir in half of the flour mixture until moistened. Beat until smooth.
Add half of the sour cream. Beat until smooth. Add remaining sour cream.
Beat until smooth. Add remaining flour mixture, and beat approximately
30 seconds until smooth. Do not overbeat.
- To make the topping: Combine sugar, cinnamon and walnuts and stir
- Spread half of the batter evenly over bottom of the prepared loaf
pan. Sprinkle with half of the topping. Cover with remaining batter.
Sprinkle remaining topping evenly over surface.
- Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until cake pulls away from edges of pan
and springs back when lightly touched in the center. Cool in pan 15
minutes. Remove from pan by lifting edges of wax paper liner.
Yield: 7 1/2 x 3 3/4 inch cake, 8 servings