Happy Birthday to Me Coffee Cake

To quote from Rafa Nadal’s Australian Open concession speech yesterday, “You make feel [me] like home.” Thanks to all the family and friends whose cards, gifts and calls have warmed my heart which would otherwise be frozen by the current Minnesota climate colder than Mars. In particular, I want to thank Izzy for not eating the breakfast in bed KP prepared for me this morning. She made quite a puddle of drool, inched as close as she could get to the sweet smells, but never gave in to temptation.


Made this coffee cake to bring to our dinner club last night. New Years resolutions having the half lives they do, still at potent, therapeutic levels here in January, we took more than half of the cake home to enjoy for my birthday breakfast.


Basic Coffee Cake



3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (3 3/4 ounces)

3/4 cup granulated sugar (5 1/4 ounces)

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar (3 1/2 ounces)

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons unsalted butter , cold, cut into 2 pieces

1 cup pecans , chopped


12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened but still cool, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus 2 tablespoons softened butter for greasing pan

4 large eggs

1 1/2 cups sour cream

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (11 1/2 ounces)

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar (8 3/4 ounces)

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon table salt

1. For the streusel: In food processor, process flour, granulated sugar, 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, and cinnamon until combined, about 15 seconds. Transfer 1 1/4 cups of flour/sugar mixture to small bowl; stir in remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar and set aside to use for streusel filling. Add butter and pecans to mixture in food processor; pulse until nuts and butter resemble small pebbly pieces, about ten 1-second pulses. Set aside to use as streusel topping.

2. For the cake: Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 10-inch tube pan with 2 tablespoons softened butter. Whisk eggs, 1 cup sour cream, and vanilla in medium bowl until combined.

3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl of standing mixer; mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add butter and remaining 1/2 cup sour cream; mix on low speed until dry ingredients are moistened and mixture resembles wet sand, with few large butter pieces remaining, about 1 1/2 minutes. Increase to medium speed and beat until batter comes together, about 10 seconds; scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula. Lower speed to medium-low and gradually add egg mixture in 3 additions, beating for 20 seconds after each and scraping down sides of bowl. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until batter is light and fluffy, about 1 minute.


4. Using rubber spatula, spread 2 cups batter in bottom of prepared pan, smoothing surface. Sprinkle evenly with 3/4 cup streusel filling (without butter or nuts). Repeat with another 2 cups batter and remaining 3/4 cup streusel filling (without butter or nuts). Spread remaining batter over, then sprinkle with streusel topping (with butter and nuts).

5. Bake until cake feels firm to touch and long toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean (bits of sugar from streusel may cling to tester), 50 to 60 minutes. Cool cake in pan on wire rack 30 minutes. Invert cake onto rimmed baking sheet (cake will be streusel-side down); remove tube pan, place wire rack on top of cake, and reinvert cake streusel-side up. Cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Cut into wedges and serve. (Cake can be wrapped in foil and stored at room temperature for up to 5 days.)

Such a good girl. In one month it will be Izzy’s fifth birthday, and she’ll get her turn for breakfast in bed.


7 thoughts on “Happy Birthday to Me Coffee Cake

    1. Thanks, Daniel! Besides losing control of the car and careening into a snow bank on the freeway in subzero weather, it was a lovely day!

  1. Oh dear, sorry to hear about your birthday driving excitement! Here’s hoping you got all your car drama for the year out of the way. I’m so happy you, KP and Izzy enjoyed celebrating your day in fine fashion with that luxurious cake-breakfast in bed! XOXOXO

Leave a Reply