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Why This Recipe Works

A coffee cake that feeds a crowd is perfect for Sunday brunches or holiday breakfasts. Most cake recipes cream butter and sugar, beat in eggs, and then alternate additions of dry ingredients and wet. While that method is great for producing a fluffy yellow cake, we wanted a coffee cake with a dense, rich crumb. Adding the butter with a portion of the sour cream to the dry ingredients, mixing for a few minutes, then adding the rest of the liquid was the key: It ensured the fat was evenly distributed (the flour clumped when we added butter and all the liquid at once), and because this approach reduced the mixing time—which meant less air was beaten into the batter—it delivered exactly the crumb we wanted. To avoid a greasy cake we found it essential to use less butter than you’d find in a traditional coffee cake; unlike the proteins in all-purpose flour, the starches in our gluten-free flour blend can’t absorb as much fat. For the baking pan, we liked the simplicity of a round cake pan (rather than a tube or Bundt pan), but our cake sank in the middle and didn’t cook through. A tube pan was essential, as the center tube, which conducts heat, ensured an even rise and a cake that cooked through evenly. The biggest hurdle was figuring out the streusel filling and topping. A classic streusel was too heavy for our cake—the high-starch gluten-free flour blend didn’t offer the same structure or stability of all-purpose flour—and it sank as it baked. Instead, we took a portion of the batter, added cinnamon and nutmeg, then swirled this spiced batter into the plain batter in the pan.

Ingredients

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Cake

4 large eggs
1 ½ cups sour cream
3 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces (2 2/3 cups) ATK All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend (see related content)
8 ¾ ounces (1 1/4 cups) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and softened
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Topping and Glaze

½ cup pecans, chopped fine
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 ounces (1 cup) confectioners' sugar
5 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Nutritional Information

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Per Serving (Serves 14)

  • Calories 358
  • Cholesterol 87 mg
  • Fat 17 g
  • Sodium 255 mg
  • Saturated 8 g
  • Carbs 47 g
  • Trans 0 g
  • Dietary Fiber 3 g
  • Monounsaturated 5 g
  • Sugar 29 g
  • Polyunsaturated 1 g
  • Protein 5 g

The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Instructions

Serves 12 to 16

For a topping, a simple glaze plus candied nuts added texture and visual appeal the cake needed.

1. FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 16-cup tube pan. Whisk eggs, 1 cup sour cream, and 1 tablespoon vanilla together in bowl.

2. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, mix flour blend, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and xanthan gum on low speed until combined. Add remaining 1/2 cup sour cream and butter and mix until dry ingredients are moistened and few large butter pieces remain, about 1 1/2 minutes. Gradually add egg mixture in 3 additions, beating for 20 seconds after each addition, scraping down bowl as needed. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until batter is light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Give batter final stir by hand (batter will be thick).

3. Measure 1 cup batter into bowl and whisk in remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour remaining batter into prepared pan. Drop spoonfuls of spiced batter over top. Using butter knife, and working once around pan, gently fold batters together to make large swirls of spice inside cake; do not overmix.

4. Bake until cake feels firm to touch and skewer inserted in center comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes. Let cake cool in pan on wire rack for 30 minutes. Run thin knife around edge of cake to loosen. Remove cake from pan and let cool on rack, about 1 hour. (Do not turn off oven.)

5. FOR THE TOPPING AND GLAZE: Meanwhile, line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine pecans, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt in small bowl. Stir in melted butter until well combined. Transfer pecan mixture to prepared sheet and bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Let pecan mixture cool, then break into small pieces. In separate bowl, whisk confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla together until smooth. Pour glaze evenly over top of cooled cake, then sprinkle with pecan topping. Let glaze set for 20 minutes before serving. (Coffee cake is best eaten on day it is baked, but cake can be cooled, immediately wrapped in plastic wrap, and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.)