19 November 2011

Coffee Cake

For a week, I nurtured the gentle dream of a warm, soft, buttery breakfast cake that I would whip up in the blink of an eye on Saturday morning. George and I would enjoy some slices with a strong hot pot of tea and then spend the rest of the day enjoying the autumn weather. That was my dream.

The reality was rudely different. Ninety minutes into my "blink of an eye," I realized that I had inadvertently chosen an ultra-fancy ultra-decadent holiday centerpiece cake recipe. Ninety minutes after that, I wondered how I had managed to spend so much of my precious time and energy on a coffee cake, of all things, when I'm not even that fond of coffee cake.

I know. I am ridiculous.

The worst aspect to all this is that the cake ended up tasting like a mere upgrade of that stuff Mopsy buys in a box for Passover. Yes, fancy cake-mix-in-a-box with a super-extra-fancy streusel topping. I mean, I know the cake is beautiful. But it's not remotely worth a stick and a half of butter, a cup and a half of sour cream, and more than 2 cups of sugar. And I've never liked coffee so I had no business making it.

I made this error because:
1) The recipe was in the Tassajara Bread Book. Everything else I've made from there (popovers, whole wheat muffins, pancakes) was easy, quick, and not so unhealthy. I mean, this book was written by a commune of hippies for other hippies. I guess even hippies go all out for holidays.
2) The recipe calls for a "tube pan" and I thought that meant a loaf pan which meant a small non-fussy cake. But it ended up meaning I had to use my bundt pan which meant a much bigger cake.
3) I didn't really pay attention to how much butter and sugar and fat and sheer sifting the recipe called for. The sifting took FOREVER.
4) I forgot that coffee cake is not soft and comforting but sort of crisp, dry, and too sugary. I was really hoping for something more of a pastry nature, like sticky rolls or something.

Anyway, Major Failure.

But George seemed to like it.

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