Friday, August 17, 2012

Cinnamon Chocolate Coffee Cake and Being Owey

I'm hanging out in bed today, medicated and resting while my body calms down after the second of my three surgeries on my left leg. This one wasn't as bad as the first. The first one was a bit heavier and they had more trouble finding my veins.

So I have just one more to go on Tuesday, and then hopefully I'm done. I'm confident I'll be back to normal soon.

Speaking of normal, I finally managed to get into the kitchen. It was lovely. I've really missed cooking these last few weeks. I frequently forget how happy it makes me. I finally finished reading Stephanie Izard's book Girl in the Kitchen. I have to say, I really didn't much care for it. I have a huge amount of respect for Stephanie. I think she's brilliant and talented, and I'm fascinated by her food, but I felt like her book wasn't really very accessible. She uses a lot of top shelf ingredients that are easy to find when you have a good restaurant supplier, but are a bit harder to find if you are just a normal person. Her recipes are extremely complex. She also spends a good potion of time talking about all the restaurants she has worked in. I didn't get a sense of her as an individual. I marked a few recipes to try, but all in all I was a bit disappointed.

Since I've finished that, though, the next book in my stack is the Joy the Baker Cookbook by Joy Wilson. I love the tagline of her book "A Celebration of Butter and Sugar". I thumbed through it a little the other day, looking for a recipe for coffee cake. Now I'll read it cover to cover, like I do with so many cookbooks, using post it tabs to mark the most inspiring recipes. I've been looking forward to this one.

I made the coffee cake as I limped around on Wednesday, still testing what my leg can and can't make. Her initial recipe called for a topping as well as a filling, but I decided to skip it, choosing to add in a bunch of chocolate instead. I took the cake to work where it was devoured my many hungry and brilliant technicians and circus performers. I loved it and I'm absolutely making it again. Please excuse the less than stellar picture. My photography is not at its best when I'm on painkillers.

Cinnamon Chocolate Coffee Cake
Adapted from Joy Wilson's Joy the Baker Cookbook

This cake is moist, decadent and delicious. You can use full-fat milk and sour cream, but I tend to only keep non-fat in the house.

For the Cake

3/4 Cup (1 1/2 Sticks) Butter, softened
1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
1/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
3 Eggs
3 1/4 Cups Flour, sifted
2 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 1/4 Teaspoons Salt
3/4 Cup Non-Fat Sour Cream
1 1/4 Cups Non-Fat Whole Milk

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour a 9x13 baking pan.

Cream together the butter and sugar and pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the eggs and mix well. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt, then add in the sour cream and milk. Make the filling.

For the Filling

1 Cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
3 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
1 Cup Semi-Sweet chocolate chips
1/2 Teaspoon Salt

Mix all the filling ingredients together. You may want to use your hands because brown sugar tends to be a bit clumpy.

Spread half the cake mix into the pan. Scatter over about three quarters of the filling. Spoon over the rest of the cake mix, then sprinkled over the rest of the filling. With a spoon or spatula, marble the cake by dragging the spoon through the whole thing in swirls or figure eights. Don't mix it too much. You just want to kind of swirl it up so that it isn't a uniform layer.

Bake in the oven for about 55 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let it sit for thirty minutes before cutting in.

Enjoy with a glass of milk propped up against your kitchen counter, or hand out pieces at 11:30pm to awesome technicians as they are clocking out for the night.

Makes about 20-30 servings depending on how big you cut them.


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