Coffee Coffee Cake

I always feel a bit sentimental with the end of anything (like most people, I think), but especially with the end of the year. It's a great time for reflection. This past year went by so quickly. I know it's cliché, but when I think about 2012, it's actually like a big blur. I can recall bits and pieces of successes, failures, happier times, and sadder moments. I learned a lot about who I (think I) am, and who I want to be. I'm not ready for 2012 to leave.

Sometimes, but especially today, I feel as if people have injected too much symbolism and meaning behind New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. It's a new beginning! It's a fresh start! Blahblahblah. I'm not ready to say goodbye to 2012. I'm not ready to have more time pass by. I'm certainly not ready to start writing 2013 on all my homework assignments!

When I was in grade 7 (that was in 07/08... whaaaaat), my class had a guitar unit. One of the songs we learned was Closing Time by Semisonic. Most (if not all) of us hadn't heard the song before, but I instantly fell in love with it. It's become a tradition of mine to listen to Closing Time as the last song of the year.

Interestingly enough, a bunch of my classmates from grade 7 are graduating with me in my high school program and at the end of our grad write-ups for my school's yearbook, we quoted part of Closing Time.

Closing time, every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.

With sadness, I wave goodbye to 2012, and with arms wide open, I greet 2013. Just kidding. I'm too awkward to give hugs.

I look forward to discovering more about myself and the world around me in 2013. I look forward to updating this blog. I look forward to baking many more things. I look forward to improving my food photography.

This was one of the last things I baked in 2012. The first time I came across a coffee cake recipe, I was wondering where the heck the coffee was in the recipe! Being a huge coffee lover, it was kind of disappointing. I mean, it only makes sense that a coffee cake contains coffee in it. Chocolate cake contains chocolate. Carrot cake contains carrot. Why doesn't coffee cake contain coffee?

It turns out that coffee cake is cake that you're supposed to eat with coffee. Who on earth decided that? No, when I have coffee cake, I'm going to have coffee in it and with it!

I found this recipe for a coffee coffee cake and I think I fell in love. I changed a few things from the original recipe. I added a cinnamon swirl in the center of the cake because I think it's pretty when coffee cakes have a cinnamon swirl. I also changed the streusel topping. Actually, I don't really even know what I did.

This coffee coffee cake has a lot of components, but it's well worth the extra work. It's incredibly moist. The crumb is light, soft, and fluffy. The coffee flavour is pretty strong, which is great for a coffee lover like me. The cinnamon swirl adds an element of surprise, but it compliments the cake very well. The topping provides some nice texture, and the chocolate chips... well, it gives a chocolate flavour, and who doesn't like that? Solid work, Henri.

Coffee Coffee Cake
Loosely adapted from Macheesmo who adapted it from Gourmet Today

Yield: 9 servings

For the cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup strong coffee, cold (or 1/2 cup hot water + 3 tablespoons instant coffee granules)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg

For the swirl:
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the topping:
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter, cold
handful of semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper, making sure that there is overhang to lift out the cake later.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a cup, combine buttermilk, coffee, and vanilla extract. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars with a stand mixer or hand mixer for about 5 minutes (or until you get bored like me at 4 minutes). Then add in the egg and beat well. Alternating between the dry ingredients and the coffee mixture, beat ingredients into the mixture in 3 additions (dry ingredients, coffee mixture, dry ingredients, coffee mixture, dry ingredients).

To create the swirl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.

To create the crumb topping, mix together the brown sugar, almonds, and flour in a small bowl. Then cut in the butter (with a whisk or a fork). Mix until crumbly. Set aside.

To assemble, pour about half of the cake batter into the prepared pan, and even it out. Then, evenly sprinkle on the swirl. Pour the remaining cake batter into the pan, and carefully spread it in an even layer. Sprinkle on the crumb topping, and chocolate chips if you're using it.

Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing the cake onto a cooling rack to finish cooling. Cut into squares, and serve.


  1. I'm all over this topping. Looks crunchy and delicious. Thumbs up!