Cook’s Illustrated had a recipe for a lovely cream cheese-filled coffee cake that I had been wanting to try for a while. Until Friday, I was sadly without a Bundt pan. Once the situation was remedied, the recipe was put to work. The result is pictured above (yes, I know the cake is technically upside-down, but the topping had to be on the bottom), and by the reaction of my class on Saturday, it was a winner. Recipe below:
Cream Cheese Coffee Cake (makes one 10-inch cake, serves 12-16)
Lemon Sugar-Almond Topping
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp finely grated zest from 1 lemon
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/8 tsp baking powder
1 1/8 tsp baking soda
1 tsp table salt
10 tbsp (1 stick plus 2 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 cup plus 2 tbsp, and then 5 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp finely grated zest from 1-2 lemons
4 tsp juice from same lemons
4 large eggs
4 tsp vanilla extract, then 1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1. FOR THE TOPPING: Adjust the oven rack to the middle position, and heat the oven to 350F. Stir together sugar and lemon zest in small bowl until combined and sugar is moistened. Stir in almonds; set aside.
2. FOR THE CAKE: Spray at 10in tube pan with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl; set aside. In stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat batter, 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, and lemon zest at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, about 20 seconds, and scraping down beater and sides of bowl as necessary. Add 4 teaspoons vanilla and mix to combine. Reduce speed to low and add one-third flour mixture, followed by half of sour cream, mixing until incorporated after each addition, 5-10 seconds. Repeat, using half of remaining flour mixture and all of remaining sour cream. Scrape bowl and add remaning flour mixture; mix at low speed until batter is thoroughy combined, about 10 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer and fold batter once or twice with rubber spatula to incorporate any remaining flour.
3. Reserve 1 1/4 cup batter and set aside. Spoon remaining batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Return now-empty bowl to mixer and beat cream cheese, remaining 5 tablespoons sugar, lemon juice, and remaining teaspoon anilla on medium speed until smooth and slightly lightened, about 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup reserved batter and mix until incorporated. Spoon cheese filling mixture evenly over batter, keeping filling about 1 inch from edges of pan; smooth top. Spread remaining cup reserved batter over filling and smooth top. With butter knife or offset spatula, gently swirl filling into batter using figure-8 motion, being careful not to drag filling to bottom or edges of pan. Firmly tap pan on counter 2 or 3 times to dislodge any bubbles. Sprinkle lemon sugar-almond topping evenly over batter and gently press into batter to adhere.
4. Bake until top is golden and just firm, and long skewer inserted into cake comes out clean (skewer will be wet if inserted into cheese filling), 45-50 minutes. Remove pan from oven and firmly tap on counter 2 or 3 times (top of cake may sink slightly). Cook cake in pan on wire rack 1 hour. Genty invert cake onto rimmed baking sheet (cake will be topping-side down); remove tube pan, place wire rack on top of cake, and invert cake sugar-side up. cool to room temperature, about 1 1/2 hours. Cut into slices and serve.
(Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator, covered tightly with plastic wrap. For optimal texture, allow the cake to return to room temperature before serving.)