Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Most Delicious Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

So at Christmas, my mother-in-law gave me a copy of Cook's Illustrated and in this edition was a recipe for cream cheese coffee cake. I am a total sucker for cream cheese, especially in desserts. So for weeks I was lusting after this coffee cake, but with no justification to make it. A few weeks ago, I decided to just go for it because I was starting to drool each time I thought about it (yes, it was that bad). There is a whole article about why this recipe is the best, and all the tests they went through, but I'm not typing that up.

*Also, I never put two & two together until Zak did it for me last week--I've been watching America's Test Kitchen without realizing that was the t.v. show that accompanies Cooks Illustrated. Duh! I've watched a few episodes whenever I get the chance and just love the show. Someday I hope to get a magazine subscription or the cookbook or something...

Lemon Sugar-Almond Topping
1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1/2 c. sliced almonds

2 1/4 c. flour
1 1/8 tsp. baking powder
1 1/8 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
10 Tbl. (1 stick + 2 Tbl.) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 c. + 7 Tbl. sugar
1 Tbl. finely grated lemon zest
4 tsp. lemon juice
4 eggs
5 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 sour cream
8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Stir together sugar & lemon zest amounts for the topping until combined and then add almonds.
3. Spray 10-in. tube pan with nonstick cooking spray.
4. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in medium bowl, set aside.
5. In stand mixer, beat butter, 1 c. + 2 Tbl. sugar, and lemon zest at medium speed until light and fluffy: about 3 minutes.
6. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Remember to scrap down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula!
7. Add 4 tsp. vanilla and mix to combine. Reduce speed to low and add a third of the flour mixture. Then add half of the sour cream, mixing after each addition.
8. Repeat, using half of the remaining flour and all of the remaining sour cream. Scrape bowl and add remaining flour mixture; mix at low speed until batter is thoroughly combined.
8. Reserve 1 1/4 c. of batter and set aside; spoon remaining batter into tube pan and smooth top.
9. Return (now-empty) bowl to mixer and beat cream cheese, remaining 5 Tbl. sugar, lemon juice, remaining tsp. vanilla on medium speed until smooth.
10. Add 1/4 c. of reserved batter and mix until incorporated.
11. Spoon cream cheese filling mixture evenly over batter, keeping filling about 1" away from sides of pan; smooth top.
12. Spread remaining cup of batter over filling and smooth top.
13. With butter knife, gently swirl filling into batter using a figure-8 motion. Firmly tap pan on counter 2 or 3 times to dislodge any bubbles.
14. Sprinkle topping evenly over batter.
15. Bake until top is golden and just firm--about 45-50 minutes. Remove pan from oven & tap on counter 2 - 3 times. Cool cake in pan on wire rack 1 hour.
16. Carefully invert cake onto rimmed baking sheet, remove pan, place wire rack on top of cake and invert cake sugar-side up. Cool to room temperature, about 1 1/2 hours.

*Store leftovers in the fridge, covered tightly with plastic wrap. Allow cake to return to room temperature before serving again.

Ok, I am salivating again now that I've typed up the recipe. It's not as hard as the recipe in the book seems, the worst part is waiting once it's cooked. I used my bundt pan since I am tube pan-less, and it seemed to be just fine. I also didn't use almonds, but next time I might! It was so yummy that we ate it up pretty fast.


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