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Friday, March 11, 2011

YOGURT WHOLE GRAIN COFFEE CAKE


Last week when I was at Paragraph's on Padre Blvd I purchased a new cookbook.  I've found myself interested in trying to replace refined white flour with some of the newish nice soft white whole wheat flour as well as regular hard whole wheat flour.  I have moved away from buying any bleached all purpose flour for some time, but now really want to work towards incorporating more whole grain into some of the pastries I bake.

The book I purchased is Bob's Red Mill® Baking Book

You might recall I talked about buying some of Bob's Red Mill® coarse ground corn meal when I was making a Creamy Polenta recipe.  I really liked it as well as the large selection of unusual grains/flours Bob's Red Mill sells and H.E.B. actually stocks!  So, when I saw that book on Joni's shelves I pulled it down and browsed through it as I watched Michael Clark's painting demonstration at Paragraph's last week-end.  Before I'd gone very deep into the pages, I knew I would be taking it home with me that day.  It was just what I was looking for.  Many variations on some classic favorites, incorporating whole and healthy grains...maybe not 100% - but replacing some of the processed flour, if not all, to make our treats just a bit more healthy!  Well, it makes me feel better anyway :-)

I imagine you will be seeing a few of these recipes in upcoming blog posts.  Today's offering, is the first.  I had planned to debut with homemade bagels...but the recipe called for malted barley extract...not to be found at my usual haunts.  I'll have to wait until I make my way to Austin to obtain "special" ingredients.  So, my second choice was the Yogurt Whole Grain Coffee Cake and it surely did smell good while it was baking.  I made two little changes.  One, I used multiple smaller pans instead of a 13x9 inch baking pan.  I just didn't want that much coffee cake sitting around for me and the teen to nibble on.  So, I had some aluminum mini loaf pans and I made three of those to share with neighbors. Secondly, I dumped in the last bit of cinnamon from my container into the dry goods...I'm guessing about 3/4 teaspoon.  I hate leftover little bits of spices lingering about when I can easily incorporate them into "whatever"...  I think it only added to the flavor! Oh, and thirdly...I know I said two, but I just remembered one other tweak.  The recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla.  I added one entire teaspoon of some really good vanilla.  I sampled this coffee cake and it is buttery and moist and cinnamony with the perfect amount of vanilla deliciousness.  I highly recommend it!

YOGURT WHOLE GRAIN COFFEE CAKE
adapted from Bob's Red Mill® Baking Book
by John Ettinger and the Bob's Red Mill® Family





INGREDIENTS:

TOPPING
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped (I excluded these - I don't like nuts in my coffee cake)

CAKE
  • 1 cup unbleached white flour
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I used King Arthur's Soft White Whole Wheat Flour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (this is my addition - not in their recipe)
  • 1 1/4 cups plain yogurt or sour cream (I used Dannon All Natural Plain Yogurt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used 1 teaspoon)
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar (granulated sugar)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 eggs

METHOD:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Oil or butter a 13x9 inch baking dish or cake pan.

TO MAKE THE STREUSEL TOPPING:
Combine the sugar, flours, butter, and cinnamon in a bowl and mix with a fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in the pecans and set aside.

TO MAKE THE CAKE:
In a large bowl, whisk or sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt (I added the extra cinnamon here)
Combine the yogurt and vanilla in a small bowl.
In a large bowl (I used a stand mixer), beat the butter and sugar together until light lemon-yellow in color, about 3 or 4 minutes. 
Beat in the honey and then the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. 
Add half the flour mixture, beating on low, then half the yogurt mixture. 
Scrape the sides of the bowl and repeat, scraping as necessary to remove any lumps in the batter.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and top with the streusel.


The cake batter

The streusel topping
Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly brown and a tester comes out clean.  Let the cake rest for 15 minutes before cutting.

The book advises that "you can mix the streusel and the dry ingredients the night before and just put it all together the next morning".

The sinker was the one on the right...although it is kind of good...
a gooey layer of streusel is on the bottom!
So, when all was said and done, one of my mini loaves had all of the streusel sink to the bottom.  That one is the one we tasted first.  I don't know if I put too much streusel mixture on that one (resulting in the batter being unable to support it) or if that one had more buttery pieces... or what the deal was.  It also did that "slightly" on one of the other mini loaves.  The round cake pan and one of the three minis were perfect.  Due to the extreme butteriness of the one that had the "sunk streusel"...I am prone to believe that bit of streusel mix was just more butter-laden.  I actually think I let my butter get too soft.  It was quite a warm day Wednesday and I went out for lunch leaving my butter to soften.  It was really soft when I returned.  My experience with streusel toppings is they do better with almost cold, minimally softened butter that you work into the mixture with your fingers or a pastry cutter.  So, if you try this...don't let your butter get too soft for the streusel part - and maybe use a pastry cutter instead of a fork.

The yogurt, the butter, the honey, and the brown sugar...all make for an extremely moist cake crumb.  I'll be looking forward to a hot cup of coffee and a generous slice of this coffee cake on the deck overlooking the bay for breakfast.  Yummy!

BON APPETIT, Y'ALL!!!
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