I grew up on the east coast, in central New Jersey, but I have lived in Las Vegas for several years now. There are many tri-state area transplants out here–actually, there are quite a few people from everywhere in Las Vegas because so few people are actually from Las Vegas. When a group of east coasters gets together, it is inevitable that the topic of conversation at some point turns to "foods that we loved back east but can’t seem to find out west." Some of the foods are here, but they are being disguised by different brand names. For example, what is Edy’s ice cream back east is called Dreyer’s out west, same packaging, same product. Other foods, you just can’t find her in the desert, such as potato chips by Utz or Rt. 11, or Charles Chips, which were packaged in that very cool large yellow tin that was delivered to your front door by the Charles Chips delivery truck.
Another brand sold primarily in the northeast is the lunch box favorite, Drakes Cakes. Drakes, which started by selling pound cake out of a Brooklyn bakery in the late 1800s, is the maker of such treats as Yodels, Ring Dings, Yankee Doodles, and my favorite, the Drakes Coffee Cake. These small, round, buttery delights came two to a pack, were topped with a crumbly cinnamon-sugar streusel, and were perfect for dunking into your milk. This coffee cake recipe is like my homemade version of the Drakes coffee cake, but I have made it even better by adding a mixed berry ribbon through the center and incorporating toasty sliced almonds into the streusel. The result is a moist and attractive treat, which would be perfect for breakfast, brunch, or an afternoon snack. Here are a few tips for baking this "berry" yummy coffee cake:
- The cake is best served the day that it is prepared, but it will keep, tightly covered at room temperature, for up to 3 days.
- Do not replace the fresh raspberries with frozen ones. Frozen berries will add too much liquid to the filling, which will affect the baking and rising process.
- Feel free to mix and match the type of fresh berries and the flavor of jam that you use for this recipe. Fresh blueberries, blackberries, or even halved and pitted cherries would work nicely, as would raspberry, strawberry, or blueberry jam.
- Room temperature eggs will aerate better than cold eggs, and they will help to keep the texture of the cake light. To bring eggs to room temperature quickly, place the whole eggs in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes before cracking them.
- As a substitute for the 2 1/2 cups cake flour, use 2 1/4 cups regular all-purpose flour plus 1/4 cup cornstarch.
Mixed Berry Coffee Cake with Almond Streusel
1 cup flour
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sliced almonds
8 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 heaping teaspoon lemon zest
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sour cream
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
2/3 cup blackberry jam
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 10 inch tube pan with a removable bottom with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
Make the streusel: Whisk the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and almonds in a medium bowl. Using your fingers, work the butter into the mixture until coarse crumbs form, about the size of peas. Sprinkle the mixture with the almond extract and toss to combine. Set aside.
Make the cake: Cream the butter, sugar, and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, and then add the sour cream and vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir with a spatula to be sure the batter is thoroughly mixed.
In a small bowl, fold the raspberries into the jam until well incorporated.
Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out with a knife. Mound the berry mixture in a ring in the center of the batter. Top with the remaining batter, spreading it evenly with a knife or small offset spatula. Sprinkle the streusel evenly on top. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center emerges clean. Let cool on a wire rack. Carefully transfer the cake, streusel side up, onto a serving plate, removing the tube portion.