I try to mix up the cakes (no pun intended), so that I don't have two chocolate cakes or two cheesecakes in a row, but I didn't do so well in the mixing department with my choice of chocolate streusel coffee cake right after the whipped cream cake. They're not the same cake, but they're both pound-like cakes made in a bundt pan. The reason I had to have the coffee cake in January is that every January, Jim and I host morning coffee open-houses each Saturday of the month (that's five Saturdays this year). Any neighbor who feels like having a cup of coffee or tea, a doughnut or something homemade, and a little conversation drops in sometime Saturday morning.
It is now expected that I bake something different every Saturday morning, and believe me, if something isn't up to snuff, they let me know. The only Heavenly Cake that was likely Saturday morning fare was this coffee cake, which worked just fine. For those of you who don't have people stopping by your house on Saturday mornoing, this cake also works quite well as dessert or a sweet bite with a cup of tea. But it really shines on a cold Saturday morning.
Just last week, I was at Kowalski's and I spotted a little bag of muscovado sugar. This sugar, which comes from Maritius, is not that easy to come by in the upper midwest, so I picked up the packet. Mauritius, an island off Madagascar, is famous for being the only known home of the dodo, which is, of course, sadly extinct. Is it possible that the dodo is extinct because it ate too much muscovado sugar? I would guess not, but stranger things have happened.
Anyway, I was delighted to see that the first cake recipe on the agenda since my purchase of muscovado sugar called for that self-same sugar. Never mind that the recipe called for light muscovado sugar and I had dark--I was going to use it anyway. I don't think that light brown sugar would have made it any better, and I'm going to go out on a limb and recommend that you use dark brown sugar--but only if it's Muscovado from Mauritius.
Like the whipped cream cake, this is easy to mix up.
The streusel is just cocoa, sugar (Mauritian Muscovado), and a little cinnamon. And the batter is one that you'd use for a standard sour-cream coffee cake.
The only reason for this cake not being on the Quick-and-Easy list, as far as I can figure out, is the step of putting half the batter in the cake pan (or in the cupcake pan--the recipe makes one small cake plus two cupcakes), a ring of streusel in the middle, and then topping it with more batter.
But this is such an easy step that I question whether its inclusion is a good enough reason for its banishment from Q&E. Making the caramelized cocoa nibs was harder, and yet the chocolate financiers are still on The List.
The cupcakes were so small that I wished I had just ignored the instruction to make two. But, as it turned ouot, the cake came almost to the top of the six-cup Bundt pan, so I was glad I'd dutifully followed the rules.
Usually when I turn over a pan that's been sprayed with Baker's Joy, the cake pops right out. This time, I turned it over and the cake stayed put. This made me anxious because I'd become so confident about that step I forgot to get preemptively nervous. After I played around with it using a sharp knife, the pan released its hold on the cake, and out it came.
You can see that I lost more tiny pieces to the pan than I did with the whipped cream cake, which released nearly perfectly.
And here is the cake next to a platter of doughnuts.
Sometimes people worry about hurting my feelings, and they take a piece of whatever I've baked, but they really want a doughnut, so they have to have that too. Or vice versa. I'm proud of being the neighborhood supplier.
Robert: "Nice and moist--very smooth-tasting."
Megan: "The chocolate is subtly laced with cinnamon, and it's got a rich vanilla taste."
Jim: "The chocolate layer is really good. I like the difference in texture between the cake and the filling. It's a good cake."