Sunday, May 27, 2018

Port Cherry Coffee Cake

Today, society is faced with a variety of drinks. Instead of black coffee and ice cold milk, now there is half-caf soy lattes and walnut milk. Faced with so many choices, we find ourselves trying them all. Some are good and some not so good. However, it is nice to go back to those plain "old school" drinks.

Ice cold milk or black coffee (even though considered "old school") deserves a side of pastry or cookies. The plainest of each drink calls out for a pairing of a sweet breakfast treat. After all, there is a reason some cakes are called coffee cake and these cakes contain no coffee.

This particular cake has a special blend of port wine and cherries swirling through a fluffy vanilla batter. Aside from the flavor, the moist texture derived from the sour cream and the contrasting sweet almond streusel on top is very pleasing to the palate.

So let's go into the kitchen to create a delicious side line for an "old school" beverage. One tasty slice with plain black coffee may cause you to permanently give up that Caramel Mudslide drink from the coffee house.  

Port Cherry Coffeecake
adapted from Chowhound

1 cup diced dried cherries
2 cups port wine
1/4 cup sugar
1-3 inch cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean, split and opened up flat
1/4 tsp sea salt

Ingredients/Almond Streusel
4 tbs melted butter
1 cup cake flour
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/8 tsp salt
3 tbs dark brown sugar
3 tbs granulated sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup or 1 1/2 sticks of butter
1 cup sour cream
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cup cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 vanilla bean 

For the first component (swirl), start by filling a saucepan with all the ingredients. Place over medium high heat and let cook. Mixture should come to a low boil or simmer. Stir constantly to make sure it does not stick or burn. Once it reduces down to having only 1/3 to 1/4 a liquid amount, remove from heat and take out cinnamon stick and vanilla bean. Discard the two. Transfer cherry mixture to a heat proof bowl and place in refrigerator to cool for a minimum of 20 minutes.

As that cools, create the streusel. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and insure that one rack is on the middle tier of the oven. Using a medium size bowl, mix together the warm melted butter with both types of sugars. Then stir in the salt. Add the flour and combine until no dry streaks remain. Lastly, mix in the almonds. Set aside.

The cake batter starts with the preparation of the 10 inch tube pan. Grease the pan's interior and dust with flour. Fill a sieve (place over a large bowl) with flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sift dry ingredients into the bowl. Set aside.

Add butter to a bowl of a stand mixer and beat until nice and smooth. Stop at intervals to scrape down the sides. The butter should be lighter in color after beating. Continue to run the mixer at medium high speed and add the sugar in separate intervals. Beat time should be about 5 minutes.

Take the vanilla bean and split down the middle and scrape the seeds into the batter. Mix until well distributed. Add one egg beat for 30 seconds to combine. Repeat the process until all eggs are blended into the batter. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer.

Using a wooden spoon, fold 1/3 of the sifted ingredients into the batter. Add half of the sour cream and stir. Mix in 1/2 of the remaining dry ingredients and then the the rest of the sour cream. Then add the last of the sifted ingredients and blend together. Top the batter with spoonfuls of the cherry swirl, spacing the dollops apart. Carefully fold the swirl mixture into the batter, using only about 4 or 5 strokes. The cherry mixture should be blended to the point of only streaking the batter, not be fully mixed into it.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth out evenly. Cover the surface of the batter with the streusel, making sure it is evenly covered. Using clean hands, lightly press streusel against the batter.

Place pan in oven on middle rack an bake until tester comes out clean. This should take about 50 minutes to bake. Once baked, place pan over a rack to cool for about 1 hour. Run a knife around the edges and flip the cake onto a cake board. Flip once again so that streusel is face up. Let cool completely before serving.
                          **LAST YEAR: Italian Cream Filled donuts**