Weddings…or Raspberry-Almond Crumb Coffeecake

We went to a wedding!

Remember?  We drove there.  We drove to Kansas City to see Steven, one of my all-time favorite people, marry a lovely, gorgeous, sweet girl named Liz.  They smeared cake all over each others’ faces.  They are perfect for each other.

The Weatherman was the Best Man.  He was the best Best Man!  The best Best Man wore a tux, duh.  I wore a red dress.  Our friend Bart wore sunglasses.

We ate some cake.  We drank some drinks.  We danced some crazy dance moves.

In short, we had the best.  time.  ever.  Why can’t we go watch true love happen every weekend?!?!

To make up for the fact that we can’t, I made you some crumb coffeecake.  I smeared a little raspberry jam in there somewhere for a little extra sweetness, sweeties.  This is a different type of coffee cake than the Daring Bakers coffeecake.  That one was yeasted and made from a dough…this one is not yeasted and made from a batter.  This cake is tender.  It’s pillowy soft, but with a tight crumb.  Plain yogurt (or buttermilk) gives it the perfect tang and keeps it from being too sweet. (Where did this perfect recipe come from, you ask?  Why, Baking Illustrated from America’s Test Kitchen.  Duh.)

Jammy crumbly goodness

The sweet comes from the slightly crunchy, nutty, toasty crumb topping.  It is all kinds of brown sugar-y goodness.  When you cut into the cake, some little bits of crumb fall off the top and stay in the pan.  This is a good thing!  These are the bits you get to pick up with your fingers and eat when no one is looking.

You can make the cake without the jam, but since I used raspberry jam I added a little almond extract to the cake to amp up the flavors.  Coffee cake is obvs just as delicious without jam, but if you have some lying around the fridge, why not smear it over the batter?  Make a little magic happen with your coffee/milk this morning/afternoon/evening.

Raspberry-Almond Crumb Coffeecake

Makes one 10-inch (serves 8 to 10) or 13×9 inch cake (serves about 15)

Ingredients:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 TBS granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
10 TBS (= 1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup plain yogurt (can use low-fat) or buttermilk, at room temperature
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk (divided use), room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp almond extract (divided use; omit if not using jam)
3/4 cup walnuts or almonds, chopped fine
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (the recipe calls for dark, but I used light and I liked it)
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam, room temperature

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF with a rack in the middle position.  Butter and flour your pan (generously on the bottom, lightly on the sides).
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, and salt until combined.  Add the butter and cut in (easiest with a pastry blender) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Remove 1 cup of the flour mixture to a separate small-ish bowl and set aside.
3. Add the baking powder and baking soda to the flour mixture in the large bowl and whisk until combined.  Add the buttermilk, whole egg, vanilla extract, and 1 tsp almond extract.  If you can, whisk vigorously until the batter is thick and smooth.  It will look like frosting (if only I could make frosting that tastes like that cake batter).  If, like me, your upper arm strength is less than stellar, feel free to use an electric mixer to beat the mixture on medium speed to the same point, about 1 1/2 minutes.  Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top, making sure the batter is distributed evenly.
4. If using the jam, beat it in a small bowl until spreadable.  Using a small offset spatula, gently spread the jam evenly over the batter in the pan.  Don’t stress out if a little batter gets mixed up with the jam – this is ok!!  It will all taste the same!

5. To make the topping, add the nuts, brown sugar, egg yolk, and 1 tsp of almond extract to the reserved flour mixture from step 2.  Blend it together with a fork, then knead the mixture with your fingers until it’s all one color and crumbly.  Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the jam-covered batter, and press it down lightly to adhere.

Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes, until the center is firm, a tester comes out clean (except for maybs some jam), and the topping is golden and fragrant.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack, and if using a springform pan, remove the sides of the pan.  Let the cake cool completely in the pan on a rack, about 2 hours, before slicing and serving.  Cake will keep tightly wrapped at room temperature for 2 days (sometimes it’s even better on day 2).

Recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated

In the end, coffeecake may not be an acceptable substitute for a wedding…but it’s still crazy delicious.  Thanks for reading, happy baking!

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