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Pecan Sour Cream Coffeecake

sour cream coffee cake

Rich, Mary, and family came up last weekend. It's the first time we've been together in Bellingham since we moved. At our 800 square foot house in Seattle, all 9 of us in one place would have been physically impossible without a tent in the yard. It's hard to describe how wonderful it felt to host THEM, for once. The kids ran around willy nilly and we very loosely kept an eye on them while we drank coffee all day and caught up on months of news and musings.

Rich and Mary are one of my most appreciative cooking audiences. They swoon over everything and don't complain about the carnage I leave in my wake. I'm really, really speedy in the kitchen. As Yancey will tell you, that's partly because "Clean as you go!" is not a mantra of mine. (But I'm getting better. We've had the serious conversation where I say, "If it's important to you, it's important to me." That's marriage in a nutshell.) So Mary (cheerfully) did a lot of dishes. But with the walls we knocked down, it doesn't matter! We are still all together. Thank you, Universe, for this house and all the people it's hosted already. The fact that it's only half done hasn't stopped us at all.

I always joke that I'm not a brunch fan. Who would ever want to combine two meals into one?! Let's eat all three, at LEAST. But a weekend with friends is why brunch was invented--no one is paying attention to the clock, there's no pressure or plans, and it meant we could go out for "dinner" at 4:30 with all the kids. (Fiamma Burger, of course.)

I'll bet your mother or your aunt used to make a coffee cake like this--tons of sour cream, a layer of nut struesel in the middle. Nigella Lawson has a cake she calls, "Cut and Come Again." Cut some big wedges for brunch, leave the rest on the counter, and find a plate of crumbs at the end of the day.

Pecan Sour Cream Coffeecake
Adapted from Ina Garten. I used one cup of sour cream and one cup of nonfat Greek yogurt because that's what I had in the fridge. If you used all Greek yogurt, I'd recommend that at least half of it be the whole milk kind. And you could sub walnuts or almonds for the pecans.

For cake:
12 Tb. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. sour cream (or 1 c. sour cream and 1 c. Greek plain yogurt)
3 extra large eggs at room temperature
2 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt 

For struesel:
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. pecans, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

For icing:
3/4 c. powdered sugar
3 Tb. real maple syrup 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a bundt pan.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 4-5 minutes. Add eggs one at at a time, then add vanilla and sour cream. 

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Finish stirring with a spatula to make sure the batter is completely mixed.

For the struesel, combine nuts, sugar, salt, and cinnamon.

Spoon half the batter into the pan and spread it out with a knife. Sprinkle the struesel topping over and top with the rest of the batter. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

Let cool for at least 30 minutes, then turn out on a plate. Stir powdered sugar and maple syrup together. Mixture will be quite thick. Spread it on, and a bit will start to run down the sides. Cut and come again.

Reader Comments (4)

Love the cycles of life. Part of what I love about your move is that now we get to host you and your family more often. It's a good new season.
April 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEm
Our wonderful book group deserves to taste this! We've been part of a volunteer book group made up of Math Department faculty and Humanities faculty since the 70's or 80's----some of them were part of Bellevue College's original 1967 faculty, along with Gary. I'd already planned Cinco de Mayo brunch food, but will include this. We joke that we like to eat and drink almost as well as we like to share recent readings with each other! I'll let you know how much they loved it. Love from us!
May 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLynn M
Have now served this a THIRD time, on Mothers' Day! Thanks for a wonderful recipe, quicker than starting sweet roll dough, and just as memorable. I'm giving you all the credit. Just FYI, it also works just fine with a gluten free flour substituted for the all purpose flour, and so appreciated. (How can you go wrong with this much butter and sour cream?)
May 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLynn M
Ahem... excuse me but I would just like to point out Sarah that we managed to fit 14 , that's right 14 people Easter weekend in our humble 800 sq ft cabin. Granted, by the last night Moses was ready to check into a Motel but hey.. we made it happen! That being said, this looks amazing. I'm going to have to try this one for sure. In it goes to the Plan To Eat recipe file.
May 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNoel

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