Aug 21, 2014

Cooking with London - Blueberry Coffee Cake

Last week, or the week before, I received my September issue of Martha Stewart Living. Cameron brought it in from the mail just as I was starting a bath for the girls, so while they played, I sat on a stool and started to read the publication. I proceeded to leave it in there, given that I get a little distracted once the girls are out of the tub and we are working towards getting them down to bed. (Not to mention it was a Game of Thrones night, which means as soon as they are down, we are watching our Netflix disc of two episodes - it's our latest obsession when it comes to TV).

The next morning on my way to the kitchen after getting ready for the day, I spied London sitting on the toilet reading it, when she should have been getting ready herself. When she realized she had been caught, she quickly flipped to the cover, held it to her chest and pointed to the coffee cake that was adorning the cover. Then she asked "If I'm really good this week, can we make this?" I said yes. 

We've been having some trying times lately, with London testing the limits to see how far she can take things as well as talking back and plain, just not listening to us. From every other mother I speak to, they all have gone through this at this age too. It's like a switch goes off around 3 1/2 and continues through ages 4 and 5!

Any how, last week was an exceptionally good week. And with Cameron planning on being gone most of Saturday evening and Sunday for his Fantasy Football league's draft and the social aspects that go with it, the girls and I were having some of the other wives and kids over on Sunday for some girl time. Saturday night I let London stay up late so we could make the coffee cake. 

The recipe can be found here. I didn't follow it exactly but used it as basic recipe to which I added my own spin to it. First, I added cinnamon to the batter, as I have never heard of a coffee cake without cinnamon in it. I also used regular oatmeal instead of muesli for the topping. And instead of purchasing a whole new bag of white whole wheat flour, I used the regular whole wheat flour I already had on hand. And on top of the layer of blueberries in the center, I added a sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon before topping it with the second half of the batter. Plus, I don't own a bundt pan or circular cake pan, so we improvised and baked in a normal 9 x 9 pan. 

It all worked out just fine and it cooked in just an hour versus the 1 hr 10 minutes mentioned in the recipe. 

My #1 baking tip is to always check something you are trying out for the first time 1/2 way through the recommended baking time. I then reassess how long I need to continue baking. Every oven is different. I then check a few minutes before the final buzzer. I find that a baked good is done when a knife inserted comes out ALMOST clean, with just a little of the baked good coming with it still. An absolutely clean testing knife or toothpick means its been over cooked. Then I cool the item on the sheet or in the pan for a few minutes - in this case 10 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack. The baked good will continue to bake in the pan/on the sheet while cooling.With cookies, I find 2 minutes on the cookie sheet to cool and solidify is perfect.

The resulting coffee cake was nice and moist, and oh so delicious. The girls loved it, I loved it, our friends loved it and my co-workers loved it. I took what wasn't eaten to work so that Cameron and I wouldn't indulge in the last half of it. Whatever we can do to keep the calories down, right?

If a promised baking experience every weekend results in happy weeks, I think my life will be easy. Helps that I love baking and my co-workers are happy to take whatever is leftover off our hands - that helps our waistlines considerably. 

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