Monday, March 22, 2010

Crumb-Topped Raspberry Coffeecake

I've always loved coffeecake. {It's somehow acceptable to eat coffeecake with breakfast or as a mid-morning snack but not a Devil's Food Cake. I love chocolate, but not before noon!} I was paging through one of Dorie Greenspan's older cookbooks, Sweet Times: Simple Desserts for Every Occasion, and saw this coffeecake. The combination of raspberry and almond flavors sounded delicious.

There's a rich history behind coffeecake. Like good jokes, good stories, and good food, coffeecake (also known as Kuchen or Gugelhupf) was never invented; rather, it evolved over time.

As far back as biblical times, we read about people preparing honey cakes. These evolved into galettes, made famous by the French, followed by the sweet yeast rolls that morphed into Danish coffeecakes , which, it is said, really did contain coffee. During colonial times, the Dutch and Germans became known for their succulent coffeecakes, using recipes very similar to those used today.

Scandinavians were perhaps more responsible than anyone else for making America as coffee-break-conscious as it is, and for perfecting the kind of food that goes well with coffee. German women had already brought the Kaffeeklatcsh to their frontier communities, but it was in the kitchens where there was always a pot brewing on the back of the stove that Scandinavian hospitality and coffee became synonymous...The term coffee klatch became part of the language, and its original meaning--a moment that combined gossip with coffee drinking--was changed to define the American version of England's tea, a midmorning or midafternoon gathering at which to imbibe and ingest.
— American Food: The Gastronomic Story, Evan Jones, 2nd edition [Vintage Books:New York] 1981 (p. 91)

Although there are lots of early American recipes for tea cakes, the oldest recipes for coffeecake were published in the last quarter of the 19th century.

In some parts of the world April 7 is known as Coffeecake Day.
— Rumela’s Web

Makes 12 servings

For the topping:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup slivered or sliced almonds, toasted
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

For the Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon almond extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup best-quality raspberry (or strawberry) jam
½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature (or ½ cup milk plus ½ tablespoon lemon juice)

For the topping:
Blend the topping ingredients in a food processor.

For the cake:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350˚F.

Whisk together the flour, soda and baking powder.

In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and almond extract. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the jam on low speed. Slowly add half the flour until just incorporated. Pour in the buttermilk and mix. Finally add the remaining flour and mix until incorporated.

Spread the batter in the pan and top with the crumb topping. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool.

Tasting Notes
This cake is heavily flavored with almond extract. I would lessen the flavor hit next time and even try it with vanilla. I loved the subtle taste of raspberries and can't wait to try it with strawberries.

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    Valen said...

    Great blog! Lots of beautiful photos and recipes!

    Leslie said...

    Amazing.. I adore coffee cake..but have never had it in a raspberry version

    MacWithoutAManual said...

    Mmmm... I tried this and I found that the cake was a bit of a chameleon adapting to whatever sauce or fruit I served with it. Quite cool. Nice post, I always love your photos and the other interesting bits like history and neat quotes. :)

    grace said...

    how lovely! i always enjoy a moist coffee cake, and the idea of using up some of our copious jam in a batch is very appealing! thanks for the history lesson and recipe, shari. :)

    Dolce said...

    I can't wait until we get more fresh berries around... I am so over apples and clementines right now... !

    By the way, I have a Beautiful Blogger award for you on my blog :)

    Inspired by eRecipeCards said...

    It really sounds much moister than i think of for a coffeecake. bet it tastes wonderful!

    Bitter Endive said...

    Yum... I LOVE almond (maybe it's because I'm Danish???) so this sounds perfect.

    Thank for sharing!....

    Manggy said...

    I didn't even know this book existed. The cake looks lovely and just in time for me to be on an almond high... :)

    foodiePrints said...

    Shari, my friend, I'm going to have to make this recipe (bundt pan version) for my colleagues.

    You are going to have to accept their gratitude if I succeed. :)

    They are all avid coffee drinkers, so this cake would make a great refreshment for a long meeting.

    That said, it is yet another wonderful post in a great blog. We at foodiePrints would like to pass along an award for your dedication to the blog and your creativity.

    Unknown said...

    Una miscela di profumi e sapori , un dolce tutto da gustare :P

    lisa is cooking said...

    --no different, meaning, of course I'm tempted by this one!

    lisa is cooking said...

    I'm always tempted to try every coffeecake recipe I see, and this one is no different. Looks delicious!

    Two fit and fun gals said...

    coffee and raspberry- genius comBO!

    Katrina said...

    De-lish! I love coffee cakes, especially with streusel tops and I can't wait for fresh berries to come in to season!

    Unknown said...

    adding fresh berries to a cake like coffeecake is nice because it balances the sweetness with the tartness. you did a great job with the cake.. looks absolutely professional!
    -krissy @

    Nazarina A said...

    So the humble makings of the "honey cake" is responsible for this crumb topping goodness you have so lovingly prepared? Yum!

    Lori said...

    Oooh, love this recipe. My mom has always made my great grandmother's kuchen. I would love to know the true history of the recipe. I'm sure it made it over from Germany at some point. I'm still trying to perfect it.

    shai77 said...

    Hi :-)
    Loved the recipes and thank you for the wonderful blog.