Cinnamon Coffee Cake Kotniuk, improved

like I wasn’t going to crave sweets on a day like that…

Totally voidless.  No mass-data-drip Matrix-style turbo web for me, noooooooo, oh no.  And, it’s… surprisingly ok, if a little weird to be writing so so so many posts at a computer that is mercifully silent.  I changed my background to the very waves crashing the geological sculptures of Little Judique Harbour that I was climbing over yesterday, and only the sound of beetles, mayflies, crickets, wasps, mosquitos and potato bugs (super silent potato bugs) to interrupt my signals.

Maybe, it’s better this way.

okay, THAT’S the cure for rain.

Mostly uneventful day, so I’m going to take this opportunity to mention a kind of lazy-person’s cinnamon roll cake I made a little bit before leaving on this journey.  It’s actually kind of my favourite way to cheat a cinnabon, to make a coffee cake thingy instead of a yeast-and-time-dependant butter-bomb, although it’s equally as much of a warm spicy hug on a rainy afternoon.  Much.  Less.  Work.  High reward.  Eminently nommable.  Even better when you throw recipe convention to the wind and add in enough pure cinnamon cassia to make a macrobiotics adherent blush.  (Of all the spices, cinnamomum cassia is probably the only one I would probably sit down and want to eat straight.  Heck, sometimes when it’s in stick form, I do.  Moving on…).

Sprin-kel-ling action, doing the sprink-ku-ell thing.

It starts with butter, and sugar, and sour cream yogurt, and eggs.  It gets split in two, and layered in the middle and strewn on top with a cinnamon sugar mixture.  I actually cut the sugar amount in half and it was plentiful sweet, so I’m advocating once again to all internet-recipe followers – read all those useful comments and judge accordingly.

Anyhoo, it’s a thick batter and needed what I would call “spatching”, but bakes up lovely and light anyway, probably in part thanks to a neat trick where you mix the dairy with baking soda and watch the whole thing cloud up with wee little microbubbles.  Fun, fun times.

This might be a good time to mention the modular nature of a recipe like this, and how probably awesome it would be to mix in some berries at this point, or pineapple, or chocolate chips, or cardamom, or candied peel or cashews or whatever.  Please do have fun, I was just feeling really, really basic that morning, and fancied it up only as much as a cream cheese frosting would allow.  Because really… cream cheese frosting.  Obviously.

mother-frelling cc frosting, awwww yeah.

 So, in the end, it turned out exactly like how I wanted (which doesn’t *always* happen, just often enough to keep me confident in my abilities to satisfy elusive cravings) – spicy, yellow, sweet and tangy, warm as a firefly and just as quick to disappear from this world.  I dubbed it Cinnacake and felt kinda accomplished, and went back to bed with a piece of that and a hot tea and reasonably more cheery outlook on a dreary Sunday.  It’s that kind of magic, you know.

Cinnamon Coffee Cake Kotniuk

adapted from Stephanie Kotniuk via Epicurious.

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
  • 1 cup sour cream or yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a bowl whisk together the flour, the baking powder, and a pinch of salt.  In another bowl stir together the sour cream/yogurt and the baking soda.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, and beat in the vanilla.

Stir in the flour mixture alternately with the sour cream/yogurt mixture and stir the batter until it is combined well.  Spread half the batter into a buttered 10-inch round cake pan.

In a small bowl stir together the brown sugar, 2 tbsp of granulated sugar, and the cinnamon and sprinkle half of it onto the batter already in the pan.  Spoon the rest of the batter over top of the cinnamon layer and carefully spread it smooth.  Sprinkle the top with the rest of the cinnamon sugar, and then swirl a butter knife through the batter to make some swirls.

Bake the cake in the middle of a preheated 350°F. oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean, transfer it to a rack, and let it cool.

Cream Cheese Glaze

  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, plus extra if needed
  • 1 tablespoons milk, plus extra if needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese and powdered sugar together thoroughly until no lumps remain, then whisk in the milk and vanilla.  Adjust ingredients for taste and texture (it should be tart but sweet, and thin enough to pour but thick enough to cling), then pour onto a waiting dessert.

PS: Yes, you can glaze this cake while it’s still warm.  MMM instant gratification.

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