Friday, May 05, 2006

Cake for Coffee

It's a warm, damp coffeecake morning out there. Going over to a friend's knitting circle this morning, to get expert advice on my toddler poncho, and since I don't know any of these nice knitting ladies, I'm going to bring some baked goods. Always the easiest way to make friends--arrive bearing something all buttery-sugary, hot from the oven. Apple streusel coffee cake, I think. In my dreams, this would be rhubarb, but until the pink stuff comes in, the spongy storage apples will have to do.

Streusel Coffee Cake

2 1/2 cups flour (I used whole-wheat pastry flour, with surprisingly delicious results)
1 TB baking powder
pinch salt
2/3 cup sugar
1 stick (4 oz or 1/2 cup) cold butter, cut in chunks
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanila

Fruit for topping (optional): 2 or 3 peeled and sliced apples, peaches or pears, plus juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 TB melted butter

Grease an 8 or 9" square pan or something similar. Preheat oven to 375 F.

To make streusel: Mix flour, cinnamon, sugar, and walnuts together. Drizzle in butter and toss with a fork until clumpy and well mixed. Add more butter if it looks too sandy-dry or not clumpy enough. Set aside.

Peel and slice fruit. Toss with lemon juice.

Sift dry ingredients. Cut in butter as if you're making pastry. Beat eggs,milk, and vanilla together in a small bowl or pitcher, then pour into flour mix. Stir gently until just mixed--batter should be very thick and clumpy, like muffin batter. Add a little more milk if you still have any dry patches.

Spread half the dough in pan. Sprinkle lightly with some of the streusel crumbs. Add rest of dough. Top with sliced apples, peaches, or pears, pressing fruit down slightly into dough. Top with rest of streusel. Bake 45 minutes, until golden brown and well puffed. Make sure to poke the center with a toothpick or cake tester to check if it's completely baked. Serve warm.

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