A Sneak-Peek Sour Cream Coffee Cake - No. 166
Plus 10 things I’ve recently learned about baking, with photos
THE THING I MOST WORRY ABOUT when writing a big cookbook is that I’ll leave out a recipe. Like forget to include it in a chapter even though I’ve tested it. It happened in 2015 when I was writing American Cake. I had forgotten to slide the Hummingbird Cake recipe into a folder and had boarded a flight home from the photo shoot when from out of nowhere, I thought of Hummingbird Cake.
As in Home Alone, I panicked like Kevin’s mom, but fortunately didn’t have to ditch my flight and ride home with the polka band. I made a quick call to the art director Amy King who had one last day on the shoot, and yes, she would swing by Wegman’s and pick up bananas, and yes, the stylists would bake off the layers in the morning.
The reason I am going here is that the recipe I share today was on its way to becoming a Home Alone 2. I had it listed in no chapter. The book is nearing completion, and had I not promised to share this sneak-peek of a recipe with you, I wouldn’t have realized my mistake.
So thank you. And you will thank me when you bake what I believe is the most delicious sour cream and cinnamon coffee cake I’ve tried. It strikes the balance between rich and light, is baked in a 13- by 9-inch pan, and has a good dose of streusel filling, which is very important in the coffee cake department. And it comes from a church cookbook, where a lot of great recipes can be found.
10 things I’ve learned just recently about baking
Flipping back through photos of breads, cakes, and biscuits I’ve baked this year in writing this book on Southern baking, I didn’t get nostalgic. To be honest, this project has been a bear—more than I ever imagined. But it’s been fascinating and full of discoveries, not only about history but about baking itself.
So I thought I’d share some of those revelations with you, with the aide of my iPhone photos:
That coffee cake recipe has a bit of lemon juice, which brings up the acidity of the sour cream and along with the leavening creates a nice rise and moist crumb, better than other recipes I have tried.
Those butterhorn crescent rolls, a recipe shared with me by the family of Duncan Hines, who was born and raised in Kentucky, aren’t tricky to make as long as you work with a portion of the dough at a time. This is true when making rolls and when cutting out sugar cookies. Work with a third of the dough at a time. Return the rest to the fridge or set aside, but by rolling and cutting a smaller round, you will have better results.