Coffee Cakes

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Bouchon Bakery (The Thomas Keller Library)In France, Parisians like pound cake with their morning coffee. Here we love coffee cake. These individual coffee cakes are richly flavored but light, so that they almost melt in your mouth. There’s a crunch on the outside from the almond streusel topping and a soft interior crumb. The cakes are finished with a dusting of cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and cinnamon, just a hint, so there are all kinds of flavors intermingling here.

These are baked at a lower temperature than most cakes. Don’t be tempted to increase the temperature to 350°F, or the coffee cakes will get too dark too fast.

  • Yield: 6 Individual cakes


  • 1¼ cups + 3 tablespoons (203 grams) All purpose flour
  • 10.12 teaspoons (5.5 grams) Baking powder
  • 0.37 teaspoon (1.7 grams) Baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon (1.7 grams) Kosher salt
  • 2.6 ounces (75 grams) Unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup + 2½ teaspoons (210 grams) Granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup + 2 teaspoons (20 grams) Eggs
  • 1 tablespoon + ¼ teaspoon (20 grams) Vanilla paste
  • 1 cup + 1 teaspoon (225 grams) Creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon + ¾ teaspoon (15 grams) Light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (15 grams) Unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder
  • 10.33 cups (180 grams) Almond Streusel Topping
To finish
  • Powdered sugar
  • Cocoa powder
  • Ground cinnamon
How to Make It
    For the batter
  1. Place the flour in a medium bowl. Sift in the baking powder and baking soda, then add the salt and whisk together.
  2. Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn to medium-low speed and cream the butter, warming the bowl if needed, until it has the consistency of mayonnaise and holds a peak when the paddle is lifted. Add the sugar and mix on medium-low speed for 1 to 2 minutes, until the mixture is fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla paste and mix for 15 to 30 seconds on low speed, until just combined. (Overwhipping the eggs could cause the cakes to expand too much during baking and then deflate.)
  3. Add the flour mixture and creme fraiche alternately in the following amounts, beating on low speed for about 15 seconds after each addition: one-third of the flour mixture, one-third of the creme fraiche, one-third of the flour mixture, one-third of the creme fraiche. the remaining flour mixture, and the remaining creme fraiche. Cover the batter and refrigerate for about 20 minutes to firm.
  4. Preheat the oven to 325°F (convection or standard). Spray the paper molds or springform pans with nonstick spray and set them on a sheet pan.
  5. For the topping
  6. Whisk together the brown sugar and cocoa in a small bowl, breaking up any lumps
  7. Transfer the batter to the pastiy bag and pipe a ¼-inch deep spiral (60 grams) in the bottom of each mold. Dust the top of each with 5 grams/2 teaspoons of the cocoa mixture. Pipe a second spiral of batter over the cocoa, stopping at least ¼ inch from the top of the mold. Sprinkle the tops with streusel: 30 grams/3 tablespoons each. (The cakes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days before baking.)
  8. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in a convection oven, 35 to 40 minutes in a standard oven, or until the tops are golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. (If the cakes have been refrigerated, the baking time will be slightly longer.) Set the sheet pan on a cooling rack and cool completely.
  9. The coffee cakes are best the day they are baked, but they can be wrapped individually in plastic wrap and frozen. Defrost frozen cakes at room temperature, and rewarm if desired.
  10. Just before serving, dust the tops with powdered sugar and then a veiy light dusting of cocoa and cinnamon.

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