Coffee cakes are simple but sweet
All cooks need a good coffee cake in their repertoire. It isn't a recipe you'll pull out every day, but when you need to bake ahead and feed out-of-town house guests, you'll rely on it.
The following recipes are perfect for breakfast, or for when you have friends over for coffee or tea. The first recipe can be varied by using almonds or walnuts instead of pecans, nutmeg instead of cinnamon and granulated sugar instead of brown sugar. The coffee cake also can be frozen up to 6 months. Thaw the cake overnight on the counter before serving. It is best served warm.
The base layer of the second coffee cake is crescent roll dough. If you are in a hurry, go ahead and glaze the coffee cake before it cools completely. The glaze will run a bit and not keep its shape, but the coffee cake will be just as delicious.
Blueberry streusel coffee cake
(Makes 18 to 20 servings):
Vegetable oil spray for misting the pan
For the streusel:
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the cake:
1 (18.25-ounce) package plain yellow cake mix
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
3 large eggs
1 and 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly mist a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with vegetable oil spray; set aside.
For the streusel: Stir together pecans, brown sugar, melted butter and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl until well combined. Set aside.
For the cake: Place cake mix, cream cheese, oil, granulated sugar, milk and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides again if needed. The batter should look thick and well blended. Pour batter into the prepared pan, smoothing it with the rubber spatula. Scatter blueberries over top of batter. Drop streusel mixture by the teaspoonful over blueberries. Place pan on center rack of preheated oven.
Bake cake until it is golden brown and springs back when lightly pressed with a finger, 45 to 47 minutes. Remove pan from oven and place it on a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Slice cake into squares and serve warm.
Per serving, based on 18: 311 calories (54 percent from fat), 19 grams total fat (6 grams saturated), 56 milligrams cholesterol, 33 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams protein, 259 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.
Apricot-almond coffee cake
(Makes 12 servings):
2 (8-ounce) packages refrigerated crescent rolls
1 (12-ounce) can apricot filling
1/2 cup (2.25-ounce package) sliced almonds
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Tear each log of crescent roll dough in half at the middle perforated seam. You will have 4 pieces of dough total. Unroll the 4 pieces of dough on a 15-by-10-inch rimmed baking sheet so they are side by side and extend the width of the baking sheet and 1 inch up the sides. Firmly press together seams and diagonal perforations within each rectangle to seal them.
Spread apricot filling evenly over dough. Sprinkle almonds over filling. Bake coffee cake on center rack of preheated oven until edges are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely, 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, place confectioners' sugar in a small bowl and stir in enough milk to make a smooth glaze. With a spoon, drizzle glaze over top of cooled coffee cake. Serve cake directly from pan.
Per serving: 259 calories (27 percent from fat), 8 grams total fat (2 grams saturated), trace cholesterol, 46 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams protein, 431 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.