I SURVIVED! My feet may never be the same and my running shoes have been temporarily banished to the back of my closet; but I have the blisters, bruises, and a medal to prove that I successfully completed a Half Marathon. After flooding my body with water at the finish line and slowly making my way back to my car, I began my carb-loading mission. First stop: I-Hop, where I inhaled a ridiculous amount of pancakes and hash browns in record time. Next: My local market, where I bought the makings of spaghetti with garlic bread, not to mention various junk foods that I had been denying myself for the past three months or so. Finally: home, where I took a steaming hot shower to ease my muscles and slept for almost 10 hours straight. Now that the endless training is behind me, I can focus on more important things like getting back in my kitchen on a regular basis. I have been making a list of all the goodies I want to blog about for the rest of the year, and it will be quite the sweet filled adventure. The chocolate-y wonder that is Nutella was one of the items that suddenly appeared in my cart on my post-race trip to the market. While I will gladly eat it with a spoon out of the jar, I had an overwhelming need to bake cupcakes. As I always have the baking staples ready at home it was no problem to whip up some simple yellow cake batter, which was a perfect vessel for the creamiest, lick-the-bowl-clean Nutella frosting that ever existed.
1 cup Nutella
1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp. milk or heavy cream, either works fine
2 cups powdered sugar, or more depending on the consistency
Cream the Nutella and butter together and add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, alternating with the milk. Mix well until it reaches the appropriate level of "spreadibility" and don't be afraid to leave a little in the bowl for yourself.
Yes, I am fully aware that yesterday was "Pi Day" and I should have made a chocolate cream pie to mark the occasion, but I am a cake person, so there. Although I am still in training for my Half Marathon at the end of April, I couldn't stay out of my kitchen this week. I have never attempted a coffee cake before, for reasons unknown, but now that I know how simple and versatile they can be my friends and family will be seeing a lot more of them in the future. This particular recipe called for a cream cheese filling along with two layers of crumb topping. After fitting all of this in one pan, I nervously checked my oven every 20 minutes, praying that the cake would not exceed its 9x3 limitations. One hour later my whole house smelled like cinnamon and butter, the sacrifices I make in the name of baking, I swear! The next day the cake sat shotgun as I headed for the office and so far the only bad reviews I received are that there might not be enough for the next day.
Cinnamon Coffee Cake with Cream Cheese Filling
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup flour
2 1/4 cup flour
1 1/8 tsp. baking powder
1 1/8 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
10 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 1/8 cup plus 5 tbsp. sugar
4 large eggs
5 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup sour cream
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl whisk together the butter, both sugars, cinnamon, and salt from the crumb topping ingredients. Stir in the flour mixture slowly until it forms a ball of "dough". Set it aside and prepare to dirty every dish in your kitchen. Select your desired baking dish, I used a 9x3 round pan, but a springform pan would work well here too. In a large bowl sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. In a separate bowl cream the butter and 1 1/8 cup sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs and 4 teaspoons of the vanilla extract and mix well. With the mixer on low, alternately add the flour mixture and sour cream until the batter comes together. Reserve 1/3 of the batter and set it aside. In a small bowl beat the cream cheese, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and the 5 tablespoons of sugar until light and fluffy. Pour the remaining batter into a greased pan and top with half of the crumb topping. Starting in the middle, add the cream cheese layer and spread it out leaving a one inch border around the outside of the cake. The filling may expand just a bit during the baking process and melt into the cake, but that just makes it all the better. Add the other 1/3 of the batter to the top of the cake and sprinkle it with the rest of the crumb topping. Bake for 1 hour or until a knife in the center comes out clean. This cake tends to rise quite a bit, but don't fret like I did, it all turns out okay in the end. The cake itself will get a little dark and you may be inclined to think that you have burnt it, but have no fear, it just creates its own "crust". Serve warm to all hungry work associates and enjoy the praise!
It has become painfully obvious to me, and my unusually clean kitchen, that I have not yet posted this year. I have plenty of recipes in the works, one whiskey based truffle is waiting in the wings, but I have made some rather lofty goals for 2015. One of them includes running a half marathon, go ahead and laugh, I'm still having a hard time believeing it myself. Ergo, this new life goal also comes with a heavy price. . . a diet. I have taken a temporary hiatus from baking so that I can fully devote myself to finishing this race in a timely manner and not crawling across the finish line. But if I know how my late night, snack-attack, and Netflix-driven mind works....I will be back in the kitchen sooner rather than later.