This recipe baffled me from a science perspective. From a technical perspective this was easy as pie!
It has been so engrained from years of baking that you should immediately bake quickbreads/muffins the moment the wet and dry ingredients are mixed otherwise the baking powder loses its leavening power. This recipe asks you to leave the mixture for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator before baking! It even says you can freeze it unbaked for up to 1 month! Out of sheer curiosity I had to give it a shot.
For scientific reasons, you make the streusel and divide it in half. Half of it gets nuts, which goes on the top only because the steam released from the moisture in the nuts during baking made the cake around them soggy. Those folks at Cooks Illustrated are so smart. That would be my dream job - baking for a living!
I was skeptical. I kept peeking through the little oven window to check. At first the sides rose really high while the middle remained sunken. I was just about to say, "I told you it wouldn't work" but by the time it was fully baked it had reached a gorgeous, level height. This one goes in the "keeper" file.
This recipe produces two small cakes, which can be baked on different days if desired (unbaked cakes can be frozen for up to 1 month). If you don’t have two 9" round pans use two 8" square pans instead.
I am submitting this to Brenda's Canadian Kitchen for Cookbook Sundays.
Make-Ahead Coffee Cake
2 round or square pans | Cook’s Country
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 3/4 cups sour cream (I used yogurt)
1. For the streusel: Pulse sugars, flour, cinnamon, and butter in food processor until mixture resembles coarse meal. Divide streusel in half. Stir pecans into one half and reserve separately.
2. For the cake: Grease two 9-inch cake pans. With electric mixer on medium-low speed, mix flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in large bowl. Beat in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until mixture is crumbly with pea-sized pieces, 1 to 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, until combined. Add sour cream in 3 additions, scraping down bowl as necessary. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until batter is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
3. Divide half of batter between prepared pans. You may need to spread the dough around. Using spoonsful of dough around the pan then spreading with dampened fingers worked well for me. Sprinkle streusel without nuts evenly over each pan. Divide remaining batter evenly between pans and top with nutty streusel. Wrap pans with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours or freeze for up to 1 month.
4. When ready to serve: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap cakes and bake until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few dry crumbs attached, about 40-45 minutes (about 55 minutes if frozen). Cool at least 15 minutes. Serve.