December 25, 2007

Sugar and Spice is Very Nice

Cinnamon is one of those versatile spices that is used for both sweet and savory dishes. From chocolate desserts to lamb dishes, and everything in between, cinnamon is quite an adaptive little number. My favorite way to eat it is a fairly traditional and simple approach—combined with sugar.

When Sunita from Sunita's World announced cinnamon as the featured spice for her monthly challenge, I immediately knew what kind of dish I would submit. Something that was sweet enough to play off the spicy cinnamon flavor. How about coffee cake?

Coffee Cake with Crumble Topping and Brown Sugar Glaze
Slightly adapted from this original Emeril Lagasse recipe.

1 stick plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Crumble Topping:
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Brown Sugar Glaze:
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish with 2 teaspoons of the butter.

In a large bowl, cream together the remaining stick of butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating after the addition of each. In a separate bowl or on a piece of parchment, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add to the wet ingredients, alternating with the sour cream and vanilla. Pour into the prepared baking dish, spreading out to the edges.

To make the topping, in a bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter, and mix until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the topping over the cake and bake until golden brown and set, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes.

To make the glaze, in a bowl, combine the sugar, vanilla, and water and mix until smooth. Drizzle the cake with the glaze and let harden slightly. Serve warm.

While quite tasty and barely a crumb remaining, I do have a few suggestions and rants.The original recipe called for two apples, peeled and cubed. I didn't have any onhand, so I omitted them. While my version tasted fine, I think the apples would have added a nice texture. Also, I felt the brown sugar glaze was a little overkill (even for me). Instead, I would add chopped pecans on top of the crumble topping before baking and leave it at that.


sunita said...

Thanks for that lovely cake :-)

Tanya said...

Mmmmm. Cinnamon's my favorite!