"No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize." - Julia Child

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cinnamon chocolate chip sour cream coffee cake, oh my!

Somehow I managed to miss that yesterday's post was my 100th post in this blog! Hurrah to me!

To celebrate this momentous event, I bring you a most delicious recipe for cinnamon chocolate chip sour cream coffee cake from Smitten Kitchen!

I'm actually going to include the recipe here along with my commentary, because I feel like there is a bit of a trick to preparing this. It's not horrendously difficult or anything, but I did find that this bears some notes. Also my own photos, because as Deb of SK admits buried in her list of many comments, her mum put together the cake she photographed for the post somewhat differently from the recipe instructions, hence the lack of chocolatey goodness on top. So without further ado, read this recipe, get yourself into the kitchen, and make this cake!

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Coffee Cake

For the cake:
1 stick unsalted butter (4 ounces or 8 tablespoons) at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs, separated (remember: separate them when they're cold, then let them come to room temp!)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
16 ounces sour cream (I use the low-fat kind and it's just as nice!)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

For filling and topping:
12 ounces chocolate chips
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9"x13" cake pan.

In a bowl, sift flour, baking soda, and baking powder together. I use a large fine-mesh sieve for sifting. After you sift everything into the bowl, use a whisk to get all your dry ingredients blended together.

In a small bowl, mix together the 1/2 cup of sugar and teaspoon of cinnamon. Use a fork to blend them together well, then set this aside.

In a large bowl, use a mixer to cream together the softened butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy (2 to 3 minutes), then mix in the egg yolks and vanilla.

Use the whisk attachment of your mixer to beat the egg whites until they're stiff and hold firm peaks. 

Alternately add sour cream and then flour mixture into butter mixture. This will require near-superhuman strength, because this mixture will become incredibly thick and hard to stir. I had to use a wooden spoon and then stop every couple of stirs to scrape it off with a spatula. Really. It is that thick. You will oof and grunt your way through this one, but it's okay! It will look almost like a bread dough rather than a batter. Carry on!

Now the recipe calls for you to fold the egg whites into the batter. Laugh, because there's no way anyone will be able to properly fold the egg whites into the black-hole-dense mass of dough in the bowl in front of you. Do the best you can to incorporate them in a technique that is as close to proper egg white folding as possible. The mixture will become softer as you incorporate the egg whites, but don't get discouraged if you can't do the folding properly. I adore artfully folding egg whites into batters, but this is not one of the times that calls for art. It calls for sheer determination and the use of your biceps.

Mop the sweat from your brow and get that cake pan handy. Plop about half the batter into the pan and spread it around. Again, it's so thick that this isn't going to be easy. I found that it was easiest to blob in gobs of dough all around the pan and use a small spatula to spread it around to completely cover the bottom of the pan. Once you've got the first layer of batter in the pan, use a spoon to sprinkle on about half the cinnamon-sugar mixture you prepared earlier, and then add about half the chocolate chips.

Then gob on the second half of the batter and spread it round again with the spatula. This can get a bit messy because of the chip layer, but I find that if you drop the batter in the pan in small amounts before spreading, it keeps things neater. (See photo!)

Once you've got all the batter in the pan, sprinkle on the rest of the cinnamon-sugar mixture and the rest of the chips. Grumble to yourself about what a pain in the ass it was to put this together, then put it in the oven for 40 to 50 minutes until a tester comes out clean. Put the pan on a rack and let it cool. Wonder if all the effort was worth it.

It is! It IS worth the effort! The cake is moist and spongy and not overly sweet, and the cinnamon-sugar mix on top gets slightly melty and crisp, and the chocolate chips don't melt all the way and it's just awesome. The first time I made this, Jeremy took some to work and it was extremely popular--so much so that one of his coworker's wives heard tell of it and felt left out so I packed up some for him to take home to her.

So yes... Jeremy and his coworkers are lucky gents, and you and your loved ones will be lucky too if you make one of these coffee cakes! Like I mentioned in my previous post, I'm pretty sure this is one of the reasons Jeremy is so excited to marry me: a lifetime guaranteed supplier of cinnamon chocolate chip sour cream coffee cake.

1 comment:

heather said...

sour cream is my fave in baked goods :)