Over the past year, I have realized the most important thing about baking is practice, practice, practice. The more you work with the same recipe, the more you can understand it and see it's variability. I have been practicing with this buttermilk coffee cake recipe for the past week and have been enjoying it a lot. The original calls for blackberries, but last week I had cherries still on my mind and needed an outlet for the dried cherry compote I had made. I got the recipe from Bon Appetit, whom I have fallen head over heels in love with and can't get over how great this cake is. Bon Appetit's recipes work well and are definitely geared to us industry folk and the ambitious home cooks. Just saying.
Alright, back to the cake. After two trials, I've found that the cake works better with a streusel topping, but that is mostly from Kate Nuemann's influence on me from Lula Cafe. Also, if you want more figgy taste, I would double the Honeyed Fig Compote recipe to insure you don't feel like you missed out.
Buttermilk Coffee Cake via Bon Appetit
6 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/3 cups cake flour, sifted
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 large eggs at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
9" springform pan, greased, floured and lined with parchment
Preheated oven to 350F and rack positioned in the middle of oven
1. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside.
2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar and zest on medium-high speed until mixture is pale and fluffy.
3. Add eggs one a time, making sure they are incorporated before adding the next. Add vanilla.
4. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture and buttermilk, making sure to alternate beginning with the flour and ending with the flour.
5. Fold in Honeyed Fig Compote and pour into prepared cake pan.
6. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes, remove and crumble streusel around the edges and return for another 20 minutes. At this point keep your eye on the cake and routinely check by pressing your finger on the middle of the cake. If it springs back, it is done.
7. Remove and let cool on a wired rack.
Honeyed Fig Compote
1 pint of fresh figs, chopped corsely
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup local honey
1 tablespoon dark rum
1. Place sugar, water in a medium sauce pan over medium heat and begin to caramelize. When the sugar begins color add the figs and stir to combine.
2. Cook stirring for about 5 minutes or until the figs begin to break down. Add rum and cook to burn off the alcohol. Stir in honey and remove from heat to cool completely.
Almond Streusel via Bon Apeptit
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons almond meal
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 oz chilled unsalted buter melted
1. Place all ingredients until a small bowl and mix together to combine.
2. Pour melted butter into bowl and mix with hands to form small pea size clumps. Set Aside.