The local DIY group has hosted two local food potlucks. Since there were far more savory than sweet dishes at the first potluck, I decided to make two desserts for the second. Several attendees had the same idea though, which meant this peach buttermilk coffee cake and apple sour cream pie were two of too-many dessert options: oatmeal-chocolate-fig cookies, peach cobbler, fig-blueberry pie with a chocolate nut crust, and some sort of blueberry cake, to name a few.
I usually hate taking home leftovers, but I was more than happy to in this case. I’d say the cake deserves a spot on my unofficial list of best coffee cakes ever. With most coffee cakes:
Few, however, have that perfect blend of balanced components and great execution. If I’m going to eat a cake that in all likelihood has a pound of butter in it, I want crunchy streusel, a crackly-creamy-sugary glaze, an interesting filling, and a well-browned exterior. As you can see, this cake fits the bill:
This may be the first time I’ve used heavy cream in a powdered sugar glaze. It’s definitely superior to the milk based glazes I’ve made, but I’m not sure it’s better than those made with browned butter. Here are some of my current picks for coffee cake inspiration: Classic Home Desserts, Baking From my Home to Yours, The Cake Book, The Simple Art of Perfect Baking, All Cakes Considered, Coffee Cakes, and Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More. I have also enjoyed titles by Elizabeth Alston and Beatrice Ojakangas. Rick Rodgers also has a title called “Coffee and Cake” coming out in September.
Because books on this topic are so numerous, I tend to prefer individual recipe recommendations. I also enjoy historical/vintage coffee cake recipes (many have aged better than their gelatin & cool whip relatives). Please send recommendations my way, and I’ll try to blog some of my favorites.
Peach Buttermilk Coffee Cake
adapted from Tish Boyle’s The Cake Book
For the topping and filling:
1 cup (121g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (108g) firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
2/3 (57g) coarsely chopped walnuts
7 tablespoons (100g) unsalted butter, melted
For the cake:
2 cups (242g) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened
1.25 cups (250g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup (180ml) buttermilk (preferably full-fat)
1 heaping cup 1/4 inch thick fresh or frozen peach slices
1. Make the topping: in a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and walnuts. Add the melted butter and stir until the mixture looks moist and crumbly. Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour a 9 inch springform pan (tip: line the bottom with parchment for easy removal).
3. Make the cake: in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and granulated sugar at medium speed for 4-5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and egg yolk one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the bowl as necessary. Beat in the vanilla and almond extract. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the flour in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk in 2 additions.
5. Scrape half the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with an offset spatula or spoon. Sprinkle half the crumb topping evenly over the batter, breaking up any large lumps. Arrange a circle of peach slices, slightly overlapping, around the edge of the pan. Arrange the remaining slices in the center. Spoon the rest of the batter over the filling and smooth evenly, covering the filling. Sprinkle the remaining crumbs on top.
6. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 20 minutes, then remove the side of the pan and cool completely.
For the glaze:
1 cup (115g) powdered sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whisk together the glaze ingredients, adding a little more cream if necessary. Drizzle or pipe over the cooled cake.