Wednesday, April 21, 2010

In full bloom and a recipe for coffee cake

There's a cherry blossoms tree outside my apartment building that I am obsessed about when April rolls around.
The first time I saw it in full bloom, it took my breath away. I remembered standing under the tree, with camera in hand, snapping the most romantic pink kanzan blossoms I have ever seen for hours. I would go in the morning and then in dusk, trying to capture its beauty under different lights.


It is one of those things that put a smile on my face.

Last year however, I missed it while attending pastry school. So the first thing I did when I came home in April, was to check out my favorite tree. Lucky for me, the tree bloomed a week later than the years before. So for the first week of April, I waited patiently, passing the tree everyday to check on its blooming progress.


Until one day, almost overnight the tree came alive and displayed its full glory in pink blossoms. I stood under the tree and looked up. All I could see was clusters of pink. It's one of nature's most romantic sight.

coffee cake

I made this coffee cake sometime ago when I came back for vacation. But I think it would be perfect for a little picnic under the cherry blossom tree, either with my love or just myself. Thinking of all the possibilities that a new season brings.

It's a simple cake to make, with chocolate streusel made with brown sugar and cocoa powder that melts into a lovely chocolate tunnel in the middle after baking. The original recipe comes from Chef Claudia Fleming which Rose Levy Beranbaum adapted in her latest book- Rose's Heavenly Cakes. I have been baking a lot from this book, with satisfactory outcomes. So be prepared to see more recipes from this book coming soon on my blog!

coffee cake

Chocolate Streusel Coffee Cake
adapted from Rose's Heavenly Cakes

Chocolate streusel filling
3 tbsp/40g light brown sugar
2 tbsp + 1.5 tsp/ 12g sifted unsweetened (alkalized) cocoa powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Combine the ingredients in a small bowl until well blended.

Cake batter
1 3/4 cups / 200g sifted bleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 + 1/8tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
8 tbsp/ 113g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup/ 200g granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg white, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup/ 242g sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350F and coat a tube pan with baking spray with flour.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream the butter on medium high speed for one minute. Slowly add in the sugar. Beat until the mixture looks pale and fluffy, about another 4 minutes.

With the mixer off,pour in the eggs mixture and vanilla. Scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure that all the ingredients are well combined. Beat with medium speed until mixture is well blended. Scape the sides of the bowl as needed.

Add flour mixture in 3 parts on low speed and alternate with the sour cream. Scrape the sides of the bowl after each addition. When adding the last part of the flour mixture, make sure to just mix until well blended, which is at the point when you don't see a trace of flour in the batter. Overmixing will result in a tough and dense cake.

Spoon half of the batter into the greased pan. Sprinkle the chocolate streusel filling evenly in the middle, forming a ring, and avoid the inner and outer edges of the pan. Spoon the remaining cake batter on top, and spread it evenly.

Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the cake just begin to come away from the sides of the pan. you can also test the doneness with a cake tester/skewer. The cake is done when the tester/skewer comes out clean.

Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. With a small metal spatula, gently loosen the edges of the cake and invert it onto a lightly greased wire rack. Cool completely.


Joanne said...

I truly love the sound of a chocolate tunnel, and anything that involves picnics. this looks delicious!

Snooky doodle said...

oh this looks gorgeous!!

bp said...

vern is away, he's travelling more now. i'm stealing a moment here, thanks for these flowers, they're so pretty, and your coffee cake looks like the perfect bake for u to go picnicking with OCT again...

u have to resume that! :)

Poires au Chocolat said...

Oh how lovely - trees in blossom are just so wonderful. We have one outside our window at the moment, but it's white.

Sudha said...

Lovely photos of the pink cherry blossoms!The flowers are literally in full bloom...a joy to the heart,I can understand:)And your coffee cake looks just yummy!I loved the idea of having a gooey chocolate stream oozing out with every bite...thanks for the lovely recipe.

Patsyk said...

I love cherry blossom trees! And a slice of that cake on a blanket underneath would be a lovely way to enjoy the beauty!

thecoffeesnob said...

That slice of coffee cake looks so good- and how pretty are the cherry blossoms! Can't wait to see your other bakes from the book! :)

Unknown said...

just it possible to incorporate the cherry blossoms into a cake? :)

Happy Homebaker said...

Lovely cherry blossom! Thanks for sharing your photos! Unless I travel to Japan, I won't get to see it :)
I can't take my eyes off your coffee cake too, it is so beautiful!

Pete said...

I love spring....with all the cherrie blossoms blooming....what a sight! Nice photos!

Manggy said...

The tree was waiting for you, you know :) Glad to see you posting again, and with a beautiful cake to boot! :)

tigerfish said...

Love those blooms and I like coffee cake anytime. I used to have coffee cake during weekends when we head out for breakfast, in a breakfast eatery famous for its coffee cake :)

Passionate About Baking said...

Hi Mandy,
The coffee cake looks simply tempting! The flowers are so gorgeous! I can't wait to get my hands on this book! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Your photos are so breathtaking - such beautiful flowers and cake! Love the combination, Mandy!

Deborah Dowd said...

I am not sure which I liked better the beautiful flowers or the cake- they both make me excited for the coming of spring!

Anne said...

wow! pretty flowers and a very lovely cake :)

The Food Librarian said...

So pretty! I love the cherry blossom season. And that bundt is gorgeous. I have that cookbook and want to make that one! - mary

Mandy said...

thanks everyone for your comments. :)

Justin said...

i should try this one. i love cakes with ribbons, streaks, etc., which is funny because i really don't like filled doughnuts at all

Amy said...

Can I substitute the sour cream with another ingredient? said...

This looks amazing. My husband saw your photos and said, "Make it. Now!" Haha. Thanks for inspiring me. :)

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