Although I'm not a big tea drinker, I love the ritual of afternoon tea. Working at home can be isolating, and inviting a friend for tea punctuates my work day, which begins very early in the morning and often ends in mid- to late-afternoon. With tea, you should serve something sweet: fruit is nice, but let's face it -- cake is better. This sour cream coffee cake contains a hint of apple, plus all of the warm autumn spices like cinnamon and ginger. Though I'm not a good spur-of-the-moment baker, I love to make a few of these easy coffee cakes when the mood strikes, and stash them in the freezer (hint: cut the cakes in half before freezing, so you can defrost just enough for a tea party). Instead of frosting the cake, serve it with a big dollop of whipped cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. According to the calendar, autumn begins a week from today. Why not be prepared, with a cake in the freezer?
Autumn-spiced sour cream coffee cake
From the pantry, you'll need: all-purpose unbleached flour, baking powder, baking soda, butter, granulated sugar, eggs, pure vanilla extract, sour cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ground ginger, baking spray.
A riff on Lorna's basic sour cream cake recipe. Serves 8-10.
2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 lb butter, softened (1 stick)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp apple cider
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
Preheat oven to 350°F. (Note: if using a ceramic pan, do not preheat the oven.) Spray the inside of a small (5-cup) Bundt pan or loaf pan with baking spray, and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and baking soda.
In the bowl of a Kitchenaid-type stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, and eggs, until the eggs turn light yellow. Stir in the vanilla and apple cider. Add to the egg mixture, alternating, the dry ingredients and sour cream.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and spread evenly.
Bake for 45 minutes (if using a ceramic pan, place the pan in a cold oven, set to 350F, and bake for 60 minutes), or until a tester comes out clean.
Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, then invert the pan and remove the cake. Let it cool completely. Serve, or wrap and freeze.
More make-ahead-and-freeze coffee cakes:
Lorna's sour cream cake, from The Perfect Pantry
Cinnamon-apple coffee cake with streusel topping, from The Perfect Pantry
Coffee cake with espresso-cocoa swirl, from The Perfect Pantry
Coffee cake, from David Lebovitz
Snickerdoodle coffee cake, from Barbara Bakes
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