Janis Pabst Monier was back in Abilene and we got together for coffee in celebration of the completion of her PhD orals related to rural economic development. She’s pursuing a doctoral degree in Sociology these days. But when I first met her she was a freshman at Abilene High School. I was a beginning teacher. Janis and a group of other girls were a memorial bunch! I still remember the hours we spent planning elaborate style shows and all of the effort they put into FHA (Future Homemakers of America). It’s been fun reconnecting with many of those students via social networks.
It seemed like the perfect time to try out a new recipe, and since blackberries were available, Blackberry Cream Cheese Coffeecake was my choice. I had added it to my file sometime ago in anticipation of just such an event. Did add almonds to the top and also partially prepared the cake the night before.
Blackberry Cream Cheese Coffeecake Makes 8 to 10 servings
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup cold butter, cut into pieces
1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, and ground cinnamon.
2. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender, fork or mixer just until it resembles coarse crumbs.
Cream Cheese Filling:
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (peel)
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1. Cream cheese filling: In your electric mixer or food processor, beat the cream cheese until creamy and smooth.
2. Add the rest of the filling ingredients and beat until very smooth.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh blackberries, raspberries or blueberries or 1/2 cup raspberry preserves
3 to 4 tablespoons sliced almonds
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray or grease the bottom of a 9” springform pan.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. In another mixing bowl (using an electric mixer) beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Add the flour mixture, alternately with the milk, and beat only until combined.
4. Spread the batter onto the bottom, and slightly up the sides, of the prepared pan.
5. Next, spread the cream cheese filling over the cake batter. Scatter the fresh berries over the filling and top with the streusel and sliced almonds.
6. Bake for about 60 to 70 minutes or until the streusel is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool slightly.
To make the night before: Prepare streusel topping and refrigerate. Prepare the cream cheese filling and cake and assemble as directed but do NOT add the berries; cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, set cake out while the oven preheats. Right before baking add the berries, streusel topping and almonds; bake according to specified directions.
The History of Coffee Cakes (by Rob Carlton @ http://www.brewed-coffee.com)
Like most foods, coffee cake is an item that evolved over hundreds of years and across continents. People had been preparing honey cakes since biblical times. Gradually the French came up with galettes, the forerunner of the ubiquitous Christmas fruitcake. Galettes also lead to the invention of sweet yeast rolls that eventually resulted in Danish coffee cakes, which really did contain coffee, by the way.
For some reason, the Dutch and Germans in New York, New Jersey and Delaware became particularly famous for their coffee cakes. Their recipes from the colonial times are very similar to those used today. Meanwhile Scandinavians had introduced their versions as well as the concept of the coffee break — for which we are all ever grateful. The British have their own version that includes toffee.
By 1879, coffee cakes were well-known in America and there were already countless recipes for crumb cakes, streusel cakes and streusel/crumb-cake combinations. Streusel cakes have that swirl of cinnamon/brown sugar throughout the center while crumb cakes have a topping of crumbly flour, sugar and butter and cinnamon. However, food purists know that most Americans have these terms confused. Streusel (pronounced STROI-zuhl in German) means “granules” and actually refers to the crumb topping, not the swirl. Whichever way you pronounce it, the effect is still the same — delicious.