Here, have some meat.

First of all, happy new year everyone!  Hoping that 2015 started in a warm, happy, relaxed sort of way for you all.  Me… I’ve been in pajamas all day enjoying a luxuriously lazy day with Paul and our dear friends, Laura and Angie.  Seriously, we have done nothing other than chat by the fire, listen to music, laugh (a lot), and drink mimosas.  I’ve never had an entire day outfitted with pjs and complete inactivity.  Gotta say, it’s kinda awesome!

So onto baking…  Last year I made a really moist, cinnamony (yes I just made that word up) coffeecake.  It was a monster of a cake, yet the perfect indulgent treat for New Year’s day.  I decided that I wanted to make the same one this year, so I fished for the recipe in my ridiculously jammed packed file folder, and bingo ~ there it was, all tattered and smudged with butter stains.

While water boiled for tea and the oven preheated, I danced around the kitchen to Donovan Frankenreiter, singing along to the mellow tunes, carelessly reading the recipe. Funny enough, as enormous as this coffeecake is, it’s super easy (just a lot of steps). The only major adjustment I would suggest is either the temperature or the amount of baking time. I baked it at 350 degrees (as called for), but at least an extra 25 minutes so that the center was cooked through. Unfortunately, the outside of the cake was slightly more done than the rest of it. Paul, Laura, and Angie loved it, assuring me that it wasn’t overcooked at all, but I felt like it might have been (I’m my worst critic). I realized that one of my baking fears and challenges is not over cooking the bake good when extra bake time is needed.

If you’re wondering where the title of this blog came from, that would be from my lovely husband.  Angie and Laura were curled up comfortably on the couch, sipping mimosas, and listening to the fire crackle while chatting away yet sadly, not eating.  The humungous coffeecake was still in the oven after an hour and 15 minutes, and the guests were getting restless.  Paul had cooked up some mouth-watering bacon and sausage that we had hoped to serve with the yummy deliciousness of cinnamon cake.  But we had to surrender that idea to the cake’s timing, so Paul walked into the living room with a plate full of bacon and sausage and said (completely seriously), “Here, have some meat.”  Needless to say, we all laughed hysterically, almost losing our mimosas.  It was a great way to start the meal!

meat

On a side note, I was very proud of myself, remembering to take out the butter ahead of time so that it could soften.  Even Paul noticed that I was prepared (shockingly so). I left it on the counter overnight and when I went to unwrap it this morning, it was as hard as a rock.  That’s how cold our house gets… cold enough to harden softened butter into a brick.  So I placed it a plastic ziplock baggie, gave Paul a rolling pin, and said go to town!  He had a blast and the battered (pun intended) butter became soft.

butter   butter 2

This was a great way to start 2015.  Happy New Year!!!!!

Cinnamon-Streusel Coffeecake (care of King Arthur Flour)

coffeecake   coffeecake 2

INGREDIENTS:

Streusel topping:  1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt (if you use unsalted butter), 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (I used flour from Trader Joes), 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 6 tablespoons butter, melted
Filling:  1 cup brown sugar, light or dark, 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Cake:  3/4 cup butter, 1 teaspoon salt (1 ¼ teaspoons if you use unsalted butter), 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 3 large eggs, 3/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt, 1 1/4 cups milk (anything from skim to whole), 3 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (again, I used flour from Trader Joes)

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan, or two 9″ round cake pans. Make the topping by whisking together the sugar, salt, flour, and cinnamon.  Add the melted butter, stirring till well combined. Set the topping aside.  Make the filling by mixing together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa powder. Note that the cocoa powder is used strictly for color, not flavor; leave it out if you like. Set it aside.  To make the cake: In a large bowl, beat together the butter, salt, sugars, baking powder, and vanilla until well combined and smooth.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream or yogurt and milk till well combined. You don’t need to whisk out all the lumps.  Add the flour to the butter mixture alternately with the milk/sour cream mixture, beating gently to combine.  Pour/spread half the batter (a scant 3 cups) into the prepared pan(s), spreading all the way to the edges. If you’re using two 9″ round pans, spread 1 1/3 cups batter in each pan.  Sprinkle the filling evenly atop the batter.  Spread the remaining batter atop the filling. Use a table knife to gently swirl the filling into the batter, as though you were making a marble cake. Don’t combine filling and batter thoroughly; just swirl the filling through the batter.  Sprinkle the topping over the batter in the pan.  Bake the cake until it’s a dark golden brown around the edges; medium-golden with no light patches showing on top, and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 to 60 minutes for the 9″ x 13″ pan, 50 to 55 minutes for the 9″ round pans. When pressed gently in the middle, the cake should spring back.  Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for 20 minutes before cutting and serving. Serve cake right from the pan.

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