Make-Ahead Icebox Coffee Cake

From Cook's Country | February/March 2008

Why this recipe works:

We found several make-ahead coffee cake recipes that call for the cake batter, topped with streusel, to be refrigerated overnight. Unfortunately, the overnight stay wreaked havoc on these coffee cakes—some recipes were dry, others squat and gummy, and a few misshapen and tainted by off-putting… read more

We found several make-ahead coffee cake recipes that call for the cake batter, topped with streusel, to be refrigerated overnight. Unfortunately, the overnight stay wreaked havoc on these coffee cakes—some recipes were dry, others squat and gummy, and a few misshapen and tainted by off-putting flavors. And when it came to the streusel, most of it was dull and floury. We wanted a make-ahead coffee cake recipe that could withstand overnight refrigeration. To achieve this, we used the reverse creaming method of cutting the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly before the wet ingredients are incorporated—the technique worked wonders here, because less air is worked into the batter, so there is less deflation. Tucking half of the streusel inside the cake (between layers of batter) also helped promote a sturdier cake. For our coffee cake recipe’s streusel topping, we cut a little butter and flour into our mixture of pecans, sugar, and cinnamon. The added moisture allowed the topping to clump and stay put on top of the cake.

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Serves 12

This recipe produces two small coffee cakes, which can be baked on different days if desired (unbaked cakes can be frozen for up to 1 month). We omit the nuts from the streusel used inside the coffee cake, because the nuts give off steam when baked, which can make the cake soggy. If you don’t have two 9-inch round pans, use two 8-inch square pans instead.

Ingredients

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