Savoring Kentucky

It's good all over.

See our latest posts at News.

Enjoy weekly Hot Water Cornbread podcasts and recipes.

Savoring Kentucky showcases the wonders of Kentucky's food, farms, farmers, restaurants, chefs, distillers, brewers, orchards and markets. We applaud local food, its producers and champions. We delight in news of improvements in food and food systems. We take pleasure in fine food. We thank our wondrous sponsors for supporting our work and local goodness all around.

Cowgirl Coffee Cake (Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens' Cowboy Coffee Cake)

This coffee cake alternated with a classic streusel on my mother's table when I was growing up. We ate fresh, hot coffeecake once a week or so. That seemed perfectly natural to me - I took it for granted, and assumed everyone else ate homemade coffee cake pretty often, too. I liked both of Mother's standard coffee cakes a great deal, but this one is special, complex, delicious. It creates a signature fragrance in the house as it is baking. I could identify that "nose" out of 10,000 other baking smells, I'm sure.

Just as was true with the original "boy" version, the instructions for this recipe can be a little confusing. The point is to begin by making a pastry-type flour-sugar-butter blend that has two purposes: Most of it forms the base of the coffee cake, and a small portion turns into a kind of streusel topping that's the signature of this wonderful creation.

Put a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat it to 350 degrees. Spray a 9" X 13 X 2" sheet cake pan with non-stick spray, or rub it with butter and sprinkle it with a light coating of flour. I recently discovered Baker's Joy, and it works well.

Combine in a food processor and pulse a few times or mix in a large bowl using a pastry cutter or your fingers. Work until the mixture turns coarsely crumb-y:

  • 2 ½ cup unbleached flour (or substitute up to 3/4 cup whole wheat)
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the topping, remove and set aside ½ cup of these coarse, tasty crumbs. If you want crunch, add ½ cup chopped pecans, walnuts, or black walnuts, and set this mixture aside. It will enhance the cake's crunchy-melty crust.

Go back to the large remaining portion of floury mix. Add to it:

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

Blend well.

  • Beat 2 eggs well.
  • Add 1 1/3 cups buttermilk to the eggs and stir well.

Add to dry mixture and process or stir as lightly as possible. Really. Just barely blend it so you will have a tender, melting texture in your coffeecake.

Pour into the sheet pan, smooth out the dough in a couple of strokes, and sprinkle the top with the prepared crumb/nut topping you set aside earlier.

Set the pan on the middle rack in your preheated oven. Check after 25 minutes; it may need to cook as much as 10 minutes longer. It should be lightly browned. Cowgirl Coffee Cake is best served warm.

Good variations:

  1. Bake the batter in muffin pans instead of a flat cake pan. Check after 20 minutes for doneness.
  2. Grate one Granny Smith apple and add it to the batter along with the wet ingredients. Bake either in a sheet or as muffins.
  3. For muffins that go a step farther, drop a dollop of red raspberry jam into the top of each muffin before sprinkling with the topping. Works particularly well with the apple version.

© Copyright Savoring Kentucky 2015-2020

These are Savoring Kentucky's fantastic, essential sponsors, whom we thank every day for supporting Kentucky's growing local food economy in thousands of skilled, smart ways:

 

Follow Savoring Kentucky on Bloglovin