Raspberry Coffee Cake

Some days, breakfast just isn’t worth having without coffee cake. When E was born, I perfected this recipe so I would have something yummy to look forward to when I woke up with him before dawn. Of late I have been subsisting on Entenman’s raspberry danish twist. Which is great, but not always so fresh and not always available at my Randall’s. So last night, when Nana invited us all over for an early dinner after she watched E all day, I took the opportunity to make my beloved coffee cake. (Big shout out to Nana for all the help she gives on Thursdays!!)

Note: I’ve tried this with blueberry jam, dried blueberries, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, and now pine nuts. Blueberries are out. The flavor of the jam gets totally lost and the dried blueberries are too heavy so it’ s hard to get enough of them on there without killing the cake. Hazelnuts are wonderfully crunchy, but must be toasted and peeled (not the quickest method). Pecans are a good standby because I almost always have them in the pantry. Almonds are great and you can sub in almond extract to bring out their flavor.

This version contains pine nuts. I’d say that they add a similar texture to pecans but with less flavor. They certainly make it unique and add a fun Italian twist. So, if you have tons of pine nuts on hand, they’ll do in a pinch.

Raspberry Struesel Coffee Cake (tweaked generously from Best Recipe)
Don’t use a mixer or the cake will come out dense and brown. If you’re like me and forget to soften the butter ahead of time, zap it in the microwave for 45 seconds on 10% power. It’s better for the butter to be too hard than too soft or you’ll end up with over browned cake.

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter ( 1 1/4 sticks), softened
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk (or low-fat plain yogurt)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup nuts
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 c raspberry jam

Instructions

  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease bottom and lightly grease sides of 10-inch pan.

  2. 2. Whisk flour, sugar, and salt in large mixing bowl until blended. Add butter and cut with pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Remove 1 cup of crumbs to separate bowl.

  3. 3. Whisk baking powder and soda into mixture remaining in large mixing bowl. Add buttermilk or yogurt, egg, and vanilla; whisk vigorously by hand until batter is thick, smooth, fluffy, and frostinglike, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top.

  4. Beat raspberry jam until smooth. Pour over batter and spread with a spoon
  5. 4. Add nuts, brown sugar and 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract to reserved crumbs; toss with a fork or your hands until blended. Sprinkle crumbs over batter, pressing lightly so that mixture adheres. Bake cake until center is firm and cake tester comes out clean, 40 minutes. Transfer cake to rack; Let cool before serving.

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