Tuesday 20 October 2009

The Cake Slice October 09: Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake

This months Cake Slice cake is an extra special this month, as it marks the start of our next 12 months of baking adventures from our newly selected cake book and welcomes lots of new members into our group. I can now reveal that our new book is Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott! I’m thrilled our members voted this as our next book as it offers a whole variety of different cake styles, shapes and sizes. As much as I loved baking from our Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes book, it was sometimes difficult to find an occasion to bake a triple layer cake each month – this book offers much more scope for impromptu cake baking. It’s crammed full of cakes for every occasion, from layer cakes, tray bakes, bundts, cupcakes and loaves.

This Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake was voted the debut cake from the book. To me, the name is slightly confusing as the cake does not contain coffee. It is so called because in America it is the kind of cake that is often served with a cup of coffee. Similarly, here in the UK our toasted teacakes do not contain tea, but are often served alongside a cup of it in the afternoon. Either way I have decided to rename this cake as Cinnamon Pecan Raisin Crumb Cake. It consists of a moist butter cake with a generous middle layer of cinnamon sugar, pecans and raisins. It is also topped off with more of the same spiced fruit and nut sprinkles – strudel style.

During baking, the cake forms a delicate spiced sugar crust and the surface raisins become pleasantly chewy, like little nuggets of treacle, while the pecans get lightly toasted which gives them a wonderful depth of flavour. The cake itself remains incredibly moist and tender. It’s a lovely buttery yellow colour with a slightly crumbly crumb, reminiscent of a shortcake. The hidden middle layer of fruits, nuts and spices turns soft and gooey, adding sweetness, stickiness, crunch and spiciness to the soft and buttery crumb. The resulting cake is just heavenly, the kind of cake you eat before chasing the crumbs around the plate with your finger to ensure you get every last morsel.

The cake calls for an astonishing amount of cinnamon, and yet I’m pleased to say it wasn’t overpowering as it is only used in the filling and topping rather than the cake batter itself. So, although intense, the sweetness of the raisins and caramel flavour from the brown sugar helps balance the cinnamon with delicious results. The only change I made to the cake was to reduce the amount of sugar called for in both the cake and filling. I have a very sweet tooth, but I know from past experience that American cakes can be extremely sweet and when I noticed that the combined sugar content was 525g I decided to reduce it slightly. Also, the recipe for the cinnamon sugar makes an extremely large amount. I had about a third of mine leftover, despite being generous with it, so I will reduce the amount I make next time.

I loved how quick and easy it was to put together and once baked it required no extra work meaning you could be enjoying a piece in around an hour. This cake sort of reminds me of a sticky bun, only in cake form. Needless to say it didn’t last long in my house. It is one of the most delicious and enjoyable tray bake cakes I have made in a long time. It can be eaten hot as a pudding or cool at room temperature. I preferred it at room temperature and found it actually seemed to develop in flavour and become more tender the following day. If this cake is a sign of things to come from our new book I can’t wait to see what we’re baking next! Click here to see fellow Cake Slice bakers cakes.

Cinnamon Pecan Raisin Crumb Cake
(Recipe from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott)
For the Cake
360g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
225ml milk
200g butter, softened
225g sugar (I used 150g)
2 eggs

For the Cinnamon Raisin Filling
300g light soft brown sugar (I used 200g)
3 tbsp plain
3 tbsp cinnamon
225g raisins
175g pecans
150g butter

Method – Cinnamon Pecan Raisin Filling
Combine the light brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in a bowl and stir with a fork to mix everything well. Roughly chop the pecans and mix with the raisins and pecans in another bowl. In a third bowl, melt the butter until liquid and set aside until needed along with the cinnamon mixture and nut raisin mixture for use later.

For the Cake
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and flour a 13x9 inch/32x23cm pan.
In a large bowl combine the butter and sugar and beat with a mixer on high speed until pale yellow and evenly mixed, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl to ensure a good mix. Add the eggs and beat for another 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl now and then, until the mixture is smooth and light.
Combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl. Stir the vanilla into the milk.
Add about a third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir only until the flour disappears. Add a third of the milk and mix in. Repeat twice more until all the flour and milk mixtures have been incorporated. Stir just enough to keep the batter smooth.
Spread half the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Sprinkle half the cinnamon mixture over the batter followed by half the melted butter. Scatter half the raisins and nuts over the top.
Drop spoonfuls of the remaining batter carefully over the filling and use a spatula to smooth the batter all the way to the edges of the pan. Top with the leftover cinnamon, butter and nut mixture, covering the cake evenly.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the cake is golden brown, fragrant and beginning to pull away from the edges of the pan. Place the pan on a wire rack and allow to cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes before serving in squares right from the pan. The cake is delicious hot, warm or at room temperature. (I preferred room temperature).
Serves 15-18


Mar Varela said...

The recipe look delicious, but I dont like coffee but dont put it, I hope you understand me...
A kiss from Spain

Snooky doodle said...

oh this cake looks absolutely delicious. All that dried fruit makes it irresistible :)

The Caked Crusader said...

Oh yum - my sort of cake!
I too wonder why something is called a coffee cake when it doesn't contain coffee - it's confusing that it means you eat the cake with coffee!

Jo said...

Your cake looks absolutely gorgeous and I do agree with you that it was a breeze to put together.

Mary Ann said...

This was really easy to put together and I thought it tasted good. I love all your pictures- it looks beautiful!

oneordinaryday said...

Very yummy. We do have some odd sayings/names in the US, don't we? Coffee cake just goes alongside a good cup of coffee. It's just named that so we have an excuse to eat dessert for breakfast!

Hilary said...

Coffee cakes are probably my favourite kind of cake in the whole wide world... and this one looks absolutely divine. I love all the STUFF in/on it!

I agree with you, American recipes can be so sweet - far sweeter than our British recipes, and they tend to be sweeter than Canadian recipes, too.

steph- whisk/spoon said...

a great cake to kick off the new book!

Monica H said...

Your cake looks perfect Katie. Just like the one in the book. great job!

Johanna GGG said...

sounds good to me - I will look forward to seeing the range of cakes from this book - sounds interesting

Leslie Harris said...

Looks absolutely scrumptious! Is it too late to join The Cake Slice?

Allison said...

You are so right that American cakes tip the scale on sweetness. But I wouldn't have it any other way :-)

Anonymous said...

I found that I had extra cinnamon mix too - but next time I might just throw it all in to see what happens.

Thanks for letting me part of the group :)

natalia said...

Wonderfully made !! I loved it too !!

Kim said...

Your cake looks great. I think it's much prettier with the raisins in it :D Loved your thorough description of this cake!! I can't wait for next month!

petitesiya said...

yum yum yum! this cake just looks awesome..interesting recipe!

Joy said...

Hi Katie!

How are you? I can't thank you enough for allowing me to join The Cake Slice Bakers- I feel honored to be a part of such a special group, and I'm super excited to get started on this new journey!

Also, thanks for stopping by my blog and saying hello- it was really wonderful to hear from you. As a newbie to the group, I’m so glad to meet the other members- I’m very much looking forward to getting to know you better as we bake our way through Southern Cakes :)

I loved reading your post, especially because of our differing cultural perspectives. By the way, do you mind my asking what "treacle" is? I've heard of it before, but have no idea what it refers to. Haha! Just wondering!

OF COURSE, you did a beautiful job on your coffee cake- it looks absolutely delicious! But then again, so does everything you make!

Have a great rest of your week and a relaxing weekend! Hope to hear from you again soon!

Thanks again for everything,

Elle said...

The 'coffee' thing is confusing, but you explained it well. What a delightful looking cake...perfect with a cuppa joe (coffee).

Anne said...

I love the look and sound of this cake, has all my favourite things in it!

Choclette said...

This looks so good, I'm going to have to find away of getting some chocolate into it so I can give it a try.

Caroline said...

Looks fab Katie! I really enjoyed making this month's cake and am looking forward to the rest of the year too! Really love your photography too - your cake looks stunning and seems to have retained its layers much better than mine did!

Nic said...

That is fabulous Katie. Would it be wrong of me to say that I could probably scarf the whole lot down, tee hee!

Anonymous said...

Customs are so interesting - coffee cake with no coffee in the US and teacakes with no tea in the UK. Your Cinnamon Pecan Raisin Crumb Cake looks fantastic! I had a lot of the cinnamon mixture left over too.
Sorry about the newbie faux pas regarding posting the next month's recipe!

Chats the Comfy Cook said...

This looks like the perfect cake for the Autumn. I bet it was delicious.

Pity said...

coffee cake with cinnamon, wonderful! it really looks delicious, very well done!```

Unknown said...

Wonderful looking cake! Your pictures are lovely. I enjoyed reading your blog and will continue to do so. Happy Baking!

Oly said...

Your coffe cake looks delicious.

Thank you for helping me. Late but I will put my coffe cake "without coffe".

greetings from Texas.

symphonious sweets said...

Your cake looks so delicious! Great photos!