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Easy Cinnamon-Walnut Coffee Cake

A rasp grater is ideal for quickly grating orange zest. Be sure to remove only the colored portion of the rind and not the bitter white pith underneath. To bring out the flavorful oil in citrus zest, use the back of a spoon to mash it with 1/2 tsp. sugar.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbs. finely grated orange zest
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

Directions:

Mix the batter
Position a rack in the middle of an oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan.

In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the butter, sour cream, eggs, orange zest, 3/4 cup of the sugar and the vanilla until blended. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat on low speed until smooth.

Fill the pan
In a bowl, stir together the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, the cinnamon and the walnuts. Spread half of the batter evenly in the prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with half of the walnut mixture. Top with the remaining batter, spreading it evenly, and sprinkle with the remaining walnut mixture.

Bake the cake
Bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool slightly in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve warm. Makes one 9-inch square cake.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Baking, by Lou Seibert Pappas (Oxmoor House, 2006).