Thursday, June 04, 2009

Coffee Cake and a lesson in Perseverance.


I’m just going to start this off by saying while this coffee cake isn’t bad, it’s not the best I’ve ever tasted.

That’s kind of how my day has gone. Not the worst, but not the best either. Could be better. I seem to be in a bit of a baking and photography slump lately. I haven’t made anything that has come out super amazing nor have I taken any pictures that I’ve really loved. I think we all go through periods like this, it’s just annoying when you’re in the middle of it.

cherry coffee cake

I try to be honest on this blog, and though I may seem to be a bit of a downer in posts like these, I swear I’m not! I’m a super happy person, even at times like this. If anything, it motivates me to do better, try again. I re-shot the photos for this post 3 times! And while I’m still not thrilled with them, I liked them a little more each time.

Same with the coffee cake, I’m sure I’ll try again soon, I’m thinking of using brown sugar instead of white, a different pan and changing up the streusel a bit (the cake seemed to eat the streusel, there wasn’t much left on the top when it finished baking!)

coffee cake

Perseverance is key in both baking and photography, or at least it seems that way to me. It took me a long time to realize that, but I’m glad I finally did.

Cherry Coffee Cake
from The Martha Stewart Baking Handbook
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan

- 2 cups all-purpose flour

- 1 teaspoon baking powder

- 1 teaspoon baking soda

- 1 teaspoon salt

- 1 cup sugar

- 2 large eggs

- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

- 1 cup sour cream

- 1 cup frozen cherries, thawed and drained well


- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

- 3 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar

- Generous ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

Milk glaze:

- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

- 2 tablespoons milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch tube pan and set aside. (Both regular and removable-bottom pans can be used.) In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, soda and salt; set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with sour cream and beginning and ending with flour. Beat until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

3. Spoon about half of the batter into the prepared pan. Arrange cherries in a single layer; avoid placing any cherries against the pan's edge, as they may stick or burn if not fully encased in batter. Top with remaining batter, making sure it is evenly distributed, and smooth with an offset spatula.

4. Make the streusel by combining flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or fork until large, moist clumps form. Sprinkle evenly over top of cake.

5. Bake until cake is golden brown and springs back when touched, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack set over a baking sheet and let cake cool 10 to 15 minutes. Invert cake onto rack and re-invert so streusel side is up; cool completely. Combine powdered sugar and milk, and spoon glaze over cake, letting it drip down sides. Let cake sit until glaze is set, about 5 minutes, before serving. The cake can be kept at room temperature, wrapped well in plastic, for up to 4 days.


  1. I love your pictures, and I love this cake! It is one of my top two coffee cakes (the other being sour cream coffee cake from The Cake Bible). I was surprised you didn't like it much, but I know what you mean about the streusel. I'm always disappointed that it's disappeared when it comes out of the oven! Maybe we should try doubling it? I usually use canned cherries...not sure if that makes a difference.

  2. the first photo is dreamy hannah :) the coffee cake looks great...but i know what you mean and i hate when cakes eat their crumbly tops too! i hope this baking/photography funk passes soon.

  3. Don't worry, no one could ever think you're a downer, even if you went on a negativity binge! Bravo for sticking to it and coming up successful. Great feeling, right?!

    The cake is stunning.



  4. yum! your pictures look gorgeous!
    i have never heard of cherries in coffee cake... but it does sound good!
    thank you for answering my question about the lemon lime ice... it was a big help to me :)

  5. With an attitude like that you WILL make it, you go girl. In order to appreciate the good you have to go through the bad.

    Personally, I like the photos, but I know how it is when you have in your head what you want something to look like and that's not what you see when you look at it.

  6. I LOVE these pictures...they are SO clear and the color is to DIE for!!! Just wanted to let you know...:-)

  7. I love love love these pictures! Those cherries are just TOO beautiful.

  8. The first photo is simply amazing! The words "cherry coffee cake" are irresistible to me.

  9. Your photos are always amazing! I know what you mean about being in a rut. I make so much stuff that never ends up being posted. I'm glad you're honest!

  10. your pictures look pretty amazing to me! i know what you mean though, when it doesn't come out the way you want it to. perseverance is definitely key in baking...i find that each time i try a recipe, i learn something the first time that i want to re-apply the next time i make it. that's part of the fun of baking though!

  11. That looks so good- even if it isn't the best you have ever tasted, I guarantee it would be for someone else :)

    And yeah, the slumps run through here as well. Ebb and flow, ebb and flow.

  12. I'm glad you made this! I look at that recipe all the time when I'm flipping through her book, and I always almost make it!

  13. oh your blog is awesome and this cake looks delicious! keep up the good work :)

  14. Your pictures are wonderful! You're new domain...good luck. I will follow your posts pointed in any direction.

  15. This looks wonderful. I really want to try making this today.

  16. that looks so good, i am so impressed that you do baking recipes. i love cherries too!

  17. Your photography is always impressive, and don't think these are any less so. I'm always amazed at what I see when I visit your site. Thanks for another great post Hannah!

  18. I love cherries what a wonderful fruit! your pictures are just mouthwatering!

    Thanks for sharing your recipe:)

    Welcome~~~Summit your recipes! What ever just stop by:)

  19. Perserverance! So true when it comes to both food and photography.

    I am getting in touch with you to let you know about a “blog” of sorts that I’ve started, called It’s a place where those of us who have had our photographs declined from TasteSpotting, FoodGawker or Photo Grazing can submit and have that same work published to help drive traffic to our sites. I hope you will check it out and give me your feedback. The current home is: (until the official site is up and running).

    I look forward to hearing (and seeing) from you soon!


  20. I cringe when I hear that someone such as yourself claims to be dissatified with the quality of their photos. It just reinforces that I still have a waaaaaaaaaays to go with mine. I'll keep trying and know that little by little I'll get better! With that said I admire your photos and find them to be top notch!

  21. The last photo in this post is especially stunning. I adore coffee cake and yours looks perfect.

  22. The last photo in this post is especially stunning. I adore coffee cake and yours looks perfect.

  23. I have to agree with everyone else that we think your photos are gorgeous! But there isn't anything wrong with striving to be better.

    A tip for the streusel topping - wait to put it on. About halfway through the baking time (whatever the recipe) I like to turn my pan around anyway, just to make sure the baking is even. At that point, the cake/muffins/coffee cake should have set just enough that you can add the streusel topping without it sinking into the batter, but not so much that the streusel won't stick. And there is still plenty of baking time left.

    I enjoy your blog, recipes and photographs very much.

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