usually if there’s something special-ish for breakfast at home on the weekends (special meaning something besides toast, oatmeal or yogurt), it’s going to be omelettes, challah french toast or alton brown’s pancakes, made by my dad. on christmas morning, 99% of the time it’s this french toast casserole (basically cinnamon toast bread pudding). the rest of the time is up in the air, and this was one such occasion, perfect for coffee cake.
moist and tender. it had a tight crumb and was a little dense, but that’s how i like it. there were crunchy bits on top where the cake peeked through the streusel, always a good thing. you couldn’t even taste the white whole wheat flour. there was something spicy, maybe even a touch fruity, that i couldn’t pick up on, even though the only thing i could think of doing that was cinnamon. which i recognize.
Pecan Chocolate Espresso Coffee Cake
adapted from Cheryl and Griffith Day’s The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour (or you could use all all-purpose flour like the original)
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar (I cut the original 1 cup down to 2/3 cup)
1/3 cup granulated sugar (I cut the original 1/2 cup down to 1/3 cup)
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup chopped (or hand-broken) pecans, toasted
3 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I got lazy and used semisweet chocolate chips)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
2 tsp espresso powder (I used 1 T French roast coffee)
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature (I used 1 T white vinegar and 1 cup – 1 T milk)
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
- Grease a 9×9″ (8×8″ is fine too) pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Combine the flour, sugars, butter and salt until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
- Transfer 3/4 cup to a small bowl. Stir in the nuts, chocolate and espresso for the topping.
- Sprinkle the baking soda onto the remaining flour mixture; add the buttermilk, egg, and extracts. Beat just until combined. Scrape into the prepared baking pan, spreading it evenly. Sprinkle the topping on top.
- Bake at 350F for 40 to 45 minutes, until the top of the coffee cake is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean. Unmold when the cake has cooled.