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Hungarian Rhapsody Coffee Cake Cheesecake for breakfast? Coffee cake for dessert? Either way, the versatility of this impressive cake cannot be denied. With its cheesecake-like texture and egg-rich flavor, this cake stands out at any gathering any time of the day. Just how delicious is it? I made it for a potluck brunch the other day and people fought over the last few pieces. The list of ingredients may scare healthier-eaters away, but keep in mind, this coffee cake is meant to be served in very small portions!

Hungarian Rhapsody Coffee Cake
Congressman Tom Lantos, California Poppycoctions Cookbook, Volume 3

INGREDIENTS
Crust:
1 cup melted butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour

Filling:
1-and-1/2 cups butter or margarine
1-and-1/3 cups sugar
8 eggs, separated
3 teaspoons lemon juice or vanilla
1/3 cup flour
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.

2. To make crust: mix melted butter, powdered sugar, and flour. Pat into 9 x 13-inch Pyrex dish. Bake 20 minutes in oven. Set aside.

3. Cream together butter with 1 cup sugar.

4. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

5. Add lemon juice or vanilla. Add flour and cream cheese. Cream until smooth.

6. Whip egg whites, gradually add 1/3 cup sugar. Fold into egg yolk mixture.

7. Pour into “half-baked” crust. Bake in 350° oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until done. Test with knife to see if it comes out clean.

8. Dust with powdered sugar. Cut into small squares.

Serves 18-22

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. Although I’ve made this coffee cake many times before, I don’t recall the crust mixture being so greasy. The ratio of flour to melted butter didn’t seem right. The end result still tasted good, but I think there is room for improvement. The next time I make this, I will use less butter or add more flour to better incorporate the butter or I will substitute a different butter crust recipe.

2. I used the combination of 2 tsp lemon juice and 1 tsp vanilla, because I happened to have some freshly squeezed lemon juice on hand.

4. Make sure the cream cheese is soft or else your batter can turn out lumpy. Tiny lumps in the batter are okay as they disappear as the cake bakes.

5. This coffee cake can be a little messy to serve and eat. I like to cut the cake into squares and place them into cupcake liners for ease of eating and a clean and attractive presentation.

ENJOY!

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He steps warily over boxes and scraps of paper as he navigates around the room. His eyes track from the sink full of dirty dishes to the pot on the stove filled with some kind of white crystalline concoction and then over to the oven door covered with red sticky stuff. Paint brushes, bottles of paint, and scraps of bunched-up dirty paper towels litter the dark granite countertop. He hears a sound and immediately turns towards it. Suspiciously, he eyes a bedraggled stranger sitting on the family room sofa. “What have you done with my wife?” he demands of the stranger. With hair jutting out at awkward angles and a face covered with smudges, the stranger casts a stern look at him and shouts back, “What?!! Bloggers have bad days, too!”

Needless to say, some of my projects did not go very smoothly today. I won’t bore you with the whole story, but let me just say that my completed craft project looked like a kindergarten student made it and I made more than one mistake when making the coffee cake! After getting back on track with the recipe, all was well again until the coffee cake rose over the top of the pan and heaved big globs of sticky fruit sauce imbedded with streusel chunks all over my oven racks. But despite all that happened today, this Strawberry-Rhubarb Coffee Cake AKA Bad Day Coffee Cake turned out perfectly delicious!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Coffee Cake
Recipe developed by Emily Donahue for Rosey’s Coffee and Tea in Hanover, New Hampshire, and featured in Martha Stewart’s Living Magazine.

Ingredients:
1¼ cups chilled unsalted butter, plus more, softened, for pan
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/3 cup cornstarch
2¾ cups sugar
1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced
1½ pounds rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
3¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1½ cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a 9-by-12-by-3-inch baking pan with butter, and set aside. Make fruit sauce: Combine lemon juice, cornstarch, and 1 cup sugar in a medium saucepan. Add strawberries and rhubarb; cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat, until rhubarb is soft and liquid has thickened, 15-20 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl; let cool.

2. Make the crumb topping: Combine 3/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup flour in a medium bowl. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Drizzle butter over flour mixture; using your hands, mix until crumbly. Set aside.

3. Make cake batter: Whisk together remaining 3 cups flour and 1 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry knife or two forks, cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Pour into flour mixture; stir to combine.

4. Spread half the cake batter evenly into the prepared pan. Top with half the fruit sauce. Carefully spread the remaining batter over the fruit, and top with the remaining fruit sauce. Sprinkle with the crumb topping.

5. Bake until cake is golden brown and springs back when touched in the center, about one hour. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into squares.

Serves 15

Linnell’s Notes:
1. Please note that there is divided use of the sugar, flour, and butter!
2. The fruit sauce thickens quickly. Keep stirring, but continue to cook it long enough to allow the strawberries and rhubarb to soften and release juices.
3. I melted the butter in a glass measuring cup in the microwave.
4. The next time I make this, I will place a parchment paper-lined pan under the baking dish to catch the globs of fruit and streusel that spill over!

Enjoy!

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