Simone Appetit: Sour cream and blueberry Christmas coffee cake
In the old days, before Simone Appetit and full-blown bakeries in our local grocers, Christmas morning meant a frozen Sara Lee Coffee Cake. Actually, it was more like a huge cinnamon roll, and it had to have Mom’s special touch — meaning slightly burnt.
Those were easier times, when the frenzy of presents being opened took precedent over a homemade breakfast.
Then came Martha Stewart who ruined it for us all, raising the bar on Christmas morning with her hand-crafted (she whittles) Nativity scenes, personalized stenciled wrapping paper, hand-blown glass ornaments, sweaters she’d knitted from yarn right off the backs of her own sheep and dyed with colors made from her own flowers (those not suitable for her signature potpourri) and baked goods created from ingredients farmed on her quaint (but sustainable) country estate.
In fact, I heard from a very reliable source Martha even has a paper mill out back so she can cut her own lumber to make tissue paper in seasonal and holiday motifs for her 26 immaculate bathrooms.
But I digress. The point is, you can have a delicious, home-baked breakfast without having to hang out in the kitchen and then watch a delayed play-by-play of Christmas morning on your five-year-old’s iPhone. (Unless you want to. Face it, that vanilla latte-scented body scrub you re-gifted to your mother-in-law — again! — did not go over well.)
This sour cream and blueberry coffee cake can be made ahead of time, frozen, then removed from the freezer and popped in the oven on Christmas morning, filling the entire household with the aroma of baked goodness.
Martha would probably serve it with a dollop of freshly whipped cream she’d milked that morning from the well-proportioned and attractive cow tied to her porch. I guess that’s OK, but you can’t shoot freshly whipped cream into your mouth like you can Reddi Wip.
Now that, Martha, is a holiday tradition you can never take away from us.
Make Ahead Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
2 cups white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter (4 ounces) at room temperature plus more for greasing the pan
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 egg white
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup fresh or frozen and thawed blueberries
For the topping, mix brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt together in a small bowl. Add the butter and rub into the dry mixture with your hands, working it through until you have different sized crumbs. Set aside.
Now for the cake.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Using a mixer (preferably and stand mixer with the paddle attachment) cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, egg white, vanilla and sour cream separately, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl when necessary.
Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined. Take care not to over mix. Spoon half of the batter into a buttered 8- or 9-inch round baking pan; smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle half of the topping over the batter.
Add the remaining batter and gently smooth it over the crumb topping. Sprinkle the remaining topping over the batter.
If freezing, wrap the unbaked cake in the pan tightly in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bake approximately 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If baking without freezing first, bake about 45 minutes.
Simone Grandmain is an internationally published travel and food writer who currently calls Truckee-Tahoe home. She welcomes your recipes, kitchen “must-haves” and food news at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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