January 28, 2007

BLESS THE AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE:

A surefire breakfast treat: Let them eat coffeecake (Amy McConnell Schaarsmith, January 28, 2007, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

While most tea- and coffee-drinking societies always have served treats alongside those steaming cups and mugs, 1950s American housewife culture is credited with the creation of the coffeecake.

Easy enough to make on a whim, yet tasty enough to serve to friends, quick breads will keep at room temperature, loosely covered, for 2 to 3 days, according to Lou Seibert Pappas in her new book, "Coffee Cakes: Simple, Sweet and Savory."

Almost all coffeecakes freeze well for up to one month, according to Ms. Pappas. Let them cool to room temperature, then freeze them in resealable, heavy-duty plastic freezer bags. (You can also slice the cake first, then freeze individual slices to defrost and toast for breakfast as needed, or microwave briefly while still frozen. Don't microwave too long, though, or the slice will toughen.)

To defrost, you should let the coffeecake stand at room temperature fully wrapped but with the wrapping loosened a bit to let moisture out, according to Ms. Pappas. When thawed, reheat in a preheated 350-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the cake.

BANANA, MACADAMIA NUT AND COCONUT COFFEECAKE [...]

* 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
* 1 1/4 cups mashed bananas (about 2 1/2 large ripe bananas)
* 2 large eggs
* 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (choose a buttery, mild one) or canola oil
* 2 tablespoons dark rum or amaretto liqueur
* 1/2 cup sour cream
* 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
* 1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) chopped macadamia nuts or pecan halves
* 1 tablespoon granulated sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan or round cake pan.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and brown sugar. Stir to blend.

In a blender or food processor, combine the bananas, eggs, oil, rum or amaretto, sour cream and vanilla, and blend until smooth. Add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Stir in the coconut.

Spread evenly in the prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with the nuts. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the batter.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cake is golden-brown and a cake tester or knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan on a wire rack, then remove the pan sides. Serve warm or at room temperature after cutting into wedges.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 28, 2007 8:41 AM
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