There are few things more pleasureable for me than spending a day with my kitchen aid mixer. Sure, I enjoy reading on trains, yoga classes and working in cafes — not to mention blogging and traveling — but there’s a peaceful and hypnotic rhythm that I fall into with my mixer that I fail to capture in any other activity. Even when baking abroad, I miss the powerful whirr of the stand mixer. I miss the ability to be able to switch around the beater and the speed and efficiency with which it mixes.
Whenever I come home, I try to bake as much as I possibly can. I don’t want to dawdle with repeats of sort-of, kind-of great recipes. I want to try something new. I want to push the boundaries and go beyond what I’ve made before. I guess, from that criteria, it might seem surprising that I would choose something as humble as coffee cake to test out. Coffee cake, after all, is slightly dull. The flavor is somewhere between vanilla, grease and sugar without truly singing on any particular note. A logical person would have skipped over traditional coffee cake to make something flashy, like a stout coffee cake with caraway seeds or, perhaps, a proper coffee-flavored coffee cake.
When Bouchon Bakery comes into the story, however, you can — and should — abandon all logic. While flipping through the pages of the large book, I became entranced with their image of a coffee cake and ran to my good friend, my trusty kitchen aid mixer to get started.
Things went pretty smoothly. I subbed the creme fraiche for a mixture of Fage 0% greek yogurt and Liberte Vanilla yogurt. I baked the cakes in cupcake molds instead of mini-cake pans. The cakes spilled out a wee bit over the edges, but it added to that homey, coffee-cake vibe. Next time I might try to add a bit more of the almond-flour crumb on top, but these were delightful as is.
Coffee cake may not have the allure of other desserts, but it feels undeniably American. The name doesn’t quite make sense. The flavor is homey. There’s just that Bouchon bakery twist to kick it up a notch.
Do you have a favorite activity to chill-out with?