Post 7: Cinnamon-Swirl Coffee Cake

It is finally fall! Like many people, fall is my favorite season. I love being able to wear sweaters and drink tea without being too warm. I also just like fall baked goods. Maybe it is because of texture, but I generally prefer rich fall and winter baked goods over light, fluffy summer ones. So, I decided to kick off my re-entry to the blog with a classic fall recipe from my Grandma. We generally have this coffee cake around the holidays, but it is great anytime. It is best enjoyed with coffee, as the name suggests, or tea. It would even be good with a nice warm cup of apple cider.

I have seen my Grandma make this cake many times, but I am not sure that I had ever made it myself. However, the recipe seemed rather straight forward so I jumped right in. It starts with one cup of shortening and two cups of sugar. I mixed these in a stand mixer on medium. I then added the four eggs in one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Like many vintage recipes, this one has quite a bit of shortening in it. Shortening is something that is not often seen in newer recipes because it is not great health-wise. My grandma told me that this recipe also works with butter if you would prefer to use that. However, every time I work with shortening I am surprised how well it creams together with the sugar. It always turns out silk-y smooth and is a lovely color.

Once the sugar, egg, and shortening mixture was done I set it aside and mixed three cups of flour, one and a half teaspoon of baking powder, and one half teaspoon of salt together to make my dry mix. I also mixed one cup of milk and two teaspoons vanilla together to make my wet mix.

I then added my wet and dry mixes to the shortening mix a little bit at a time, mixing well after each addition. I alternated adding the mixtures, starting with the dry, then adding a bit of the wet, and so on. I did this in about four rounds of each.

After the batter was done, I set it aside and made my cinnamon-sugar filling. This was simply five tablespoons of sugar and two teaspoons of cinnamon mixed togehter.

I then added about one third of the batter to my well-greased bunt pan. Make sure it is well-greased. I used shortening for this, but butter would also work. The one thing that would not work is cooking spray. As I have discussed before, this makes a hard crust on the outside of baked goods, and on something like a coffee cake, this can throw off the whole texture.

Once I had spread the first third of batter into an even layer on the bottom of the pan, I added about a third of the cinnamon filling. I then added another third of batter, another third of filling, and so on. I ended with a layer of cinnamon filling on top.

Before putting the cake in the oven I used a butter knife to swirl through the layers of the cake. This gives the marble-like appearance to the inside of the cake. I then baked it at 350℉ for 1 hour.

After an hour, I pulled it out and let it cool completely before turning it out of the pan. My Grandma emphasized this point to me multiple times. If you do not let it cool completely in the pan, it will fall apart and be ruined. No one wants ruined coffee cake.

This cake turned out amazing. It tasted just like it does when my Grandma makes it, and brings back memories of Christmas. The only thing I would do differently is that I did not put enough of the cinnamon filling in the middle. I did not want to run out, but instead ended up with an excess on the top of the cake. Though this made for a very delicious and crunchy bottom, the marble pattern in the middle left something to be desired. Besides that, the cake turned out really well. It was not too dense, but also not too light. This makes it a perfect thing to enjoy with a warm beverage on a chilly fall morning, or evening, or really any time of day.

If this post has inspired you to make your very own cinnamon-swirl coffee cake, you can find the recipe here. Happy baking!

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