Vanilla-Pluot Coffee Cake
Classic coffee cake becomes decadent when made with brown butter, cinnamon sticks and real vanilla bean—and downright sublime with the addition of sweet-tart pluots and buttery walnut streusel. Serve it as the start of a decadent brunch, or top it with ice cream and serve for dessert.
For the streusel:
- 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz./105 g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) chopped walnuts, lightly toasted (optional)
For the coffee cake:
- 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) unsalted butter
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 3 pluots, halved, pitted and diced
- 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) plus 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz./235 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g) sour cream
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter an 8-inch (20-cm) square baking dish.
To make the streusel, in a bowl, combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar and ground cinnamon. Add the butter and work it in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the chopped walnuts.
To make the coffee cake, in a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the cinnamon sticks, reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer, swirling the pan often, until the butter is browned and smells nutty, 12 to 15 minutes. Scrape the brown butter into a bowl and discard the cinnamon sticks. Using a small knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the butter and add the pod. Let cool to room temperature.
In a bowl, toss together the pluots, lemon juice and 1 Tbs. granulated sugar. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Discard the vanilla bean from the brown butter, then whisk in the sour cream, eggs and vanilla extract. Pour the butter mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Spread the batter in the prepared pan, top evenly with the pluots, and sprinkle with the streusel.
Bake until the cake is golden brown and the center resists light pressure, 35 to 45 minutes. After 25 minutes, if the topping looks dark, loosely cover the cake with foil and continue to bake. Let the cake cool in the dish on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes, then cut into squares and serve. Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Dessert of the Day, by Kim Laidlaw (Weldon Owen, 2013)