There comes a time in one’s life when you realize that no recipe will ever be perfect. For years, I held the mistaken belief that I was in possession of the perfect coffee cake recipe. It was the coffee cake to end all coffee cakes. It was fluffy and soft and sweet, oh my! Then one day, for reasons that no one will ever really be able to explain, I tried a new recipe that I had had on the back burner for a while. It wasn’t all that different from the recipe that I had made time after time. But fifty to sixty minutes later, I had two near-perfect coffee cakes eager for my love and affection. How could I choose? It was like having to choose your favorite child.
The only logical thing to do would be to try to combine these two recipes to make the perfect coffee cake. The coffee cake to end all coffee cakes. And I mean it this time. I added a bit of chocolate, because it can never hurt.
Hidden layers of cinnamon and cocoa streusel are swirled throughout the cake. A crumbly toasted pecan mixture is sprinkled on top. Sour cream keeps this coffee cake incredibly moist, even days after it is baked. And if you want to make this cake even more special, spoon a thick powdered sugar glaze over the top.
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup pecans
- 3/4 stick cold unsalted butter, diced
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the pecans and butter and pulse until the butter is the size of peas and the mixture is crumbly. Set aside.
- Stir together the sugar, cocoa powder, and cinnamon in a small bowl to combine. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract and mix to combine. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions, blending until just incorporated.
- Press the pecan topping evenly over the bottom of the prepared pan. Spoon half of the batter into the pan. Sprinkle the cocoa streusel over the batter. Spoon the remaining batter over the streusel and spread evenly. Bake for about 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes. Invert the cake onto a wire rack and let cool completely.
Enjoy this coffee cake exactly as it was intended – with a good cup of coffee.