As I have worked my way through so many of my grandmother’s incredible recipes, I have come to notice a few things about her “style” or signature touches, especially with baking. Two big stand outs are the use of orange zest and sour cream as so many of her recipes call for one or both.
In her coffee cake recipe there is no orange zest but the addition of sour cream makes for a wonderfully rich and moist cake. I have made the cake a few times now and have been playing around with it, gilding the lily a bit.
The first time I made it, I made the mistake of questioning grandma Ibby. Why would you want to top the cake with the streusel mixture and then end up with all of the “good stuff” on the bottom of the plate when you invert it out of the pan? So I put the streusel in the bundt pan first in order to have a pretty crumbly crunchy top to my cake. What I ended up with was an unattractive just about burnt mess. Sorry grandma, you do know best.
Still determined to update the recipe a bit and add my own touches, I decided to embrace the current salted caramel craze (a craze I am very fond of by the way) and add Fleur de Sel to the streusel. Let me tell you, that crunchy hit of salt on your tongue mingled with the sweet of brown sugar and spice of cinnamon – glorious. I’m talking Hallelujia Chorus G.L.O.R.I.O.U.S.
But how to finish the cake? How to add a little flourish to it without overdoing it or taking away from the beauty of the base recipe. I opted for finishing it with a simple maple glaze and Salted Pecan Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze was born; a most welcome addition.
Salted Pecan Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 1 Cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Fleur de Sel or coarse sea salt
- 1 Cup finely chopped pecans
Cream together the softened butter, brown sugar and cinnamon (I just do it with a fork, not with a mixer) and stir in the Fleur de Sel and chopped pecans.
- 2 Cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt or 1/4 tsp table salt
- 1/2 Cup unsalted butter
- 3/4 Cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 eggs
- 1 Cup Sour Cream
In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk to combine.
In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, cream butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes).
Grandma’s Tip: Cream the butter for a few seconds before adding the sugar. Add the sugar slowly, a little bit at a time and then add the vanilla and cream 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time until just incorporated.
Grandma’s Tip: Crack each egg into a small bowl, not directly into the mixer. This way you will avoid any stray pieces of shell and the potential for a bad egg ruining your whole mixture.
Mix in the dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with the sour cream; start and end with dry and mix each addition until just combined being careful not to overmix or overwork your batter.
Take your time, do it right, enjoy the process and you will end up with one gorgeous batter.
In a prepared 10 inch bundt pan (buttered and floured or coated with baking spray) spoon half of the batter and spread smooth. Sprinkle with half of the streusel mixture. Top with remaining batter and spread smooth. Sprinkle with remaining streusel mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees 40-45 minutes.
Cool in the pan for 20 minutes on a wire rack and then invert onto a cake stand or serving platter – make sure your serving dish has enough room for the maple glaze to pool around the cake. Let the cake cool completely (about an hour) before icing with the glaze.
- 1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
- 2-3 Tbsp Pure Maple Syrup
MIx together until smooth.
The glaze should leave a sturdy “ribbon” when drizzled back into the bowl as you want it thin enough to run over the cake but thick enough to form a beautiful icing.
Drizzle over the cake and decorate the top with a few pecan halves or a light sprinkling of chopped pecans.
Let me tell you what happens with the addition of the glaze.
It puddles and pools around the base of the cake, seeping underneath and mingling with the salted pecan streusel creating a gooey almost caramel like sauce that is plate licking delicious.
How I would love it if you could pull up a seat at our backyard picnic table under the blooming Palo Verde tree and enjoy a leisurely late breakfast. Happy conversation, a gentle warm breeze, bird song and the soft buzzing of honey bees in the tree’s yellow spring blossoms.
I enjoyed just such a morning this past Saturday with a wonderful group of ladies who make up the prayer team I am blessed to be a part of. We spent some peaceful time in the comfort of the spring sun praying together and then enjoyed each other’s company as we shared this very special cake. My grandmother would have loved it; the prayer and the fellowship. And the cake.
My grandmother’s original coffee cake recipe specified only “nut meats” in the streusel ingredients; leaving the possibilities wide open. I started with pecans, which is the recipe you have here. Next up, a walnut orange combo using the same basic batter and then having a little fun with orange; a bit of a tribute to her love of orange zest. I also have a hazelnut chocolate chip version rolling around in my head. Stay tuned!
Kitchen table, dining room table or backyard picnic table, I hope you find a moment to slow down, gather round and enjoy!
“Our Creator knows just what we need. God, who made food for our provision and pleasure, made the table for our souls.” – Joanne Thompson, Table Life