Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ricotta Coffee Cake

IMG_12152 by you.

My wonderful mother-in-law made this amazing coffee cake during one of her visits.  It was so rich and moist, I absolutely had to copy down the recipe.  Of course, being awash in thousands of recipes, I never got around to making it until just last month.  I made it for a knitting night with friends, and then again just a couple days ago for a potluck playdate.  It was every bit as good as I remembered.   The ricotta really adds a lovely moist tenderness to the texture of the cake.

The wonderful bonus of this recipe?  It's actually an overnight coffee cake, so you can get it all mixed up and ready the night before, and then just sling it in the oven first thing in the morning.

Here is the recipe, adapted from Better Homes & Gardens magazine:

Overnight Coffee Cake
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 c. granulated sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 (15 oz.) carton ricotta cheese
3/4 c. chopped nuts
1/2 c. packed dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp toasted wheat germ
1 heaping Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg

  1. Grease bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of 13x9x2 pan
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, & salt.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down inbetween each addition.
  5. Add ricotta cheese and mix.
  6. Add as much of the flour mixture as you can, and stir in the remaining flour with spoon.  The batter will be thick - almost like a cookie dough.
  7. Spread batter into prepared pan
  8. In a small bowl, combine nuts, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon & nutmeg.
  9. Sprinkle cinnamon mixture evenly over batter in pan.
  10. Cover & refrigerate up to 24 hours.
  11. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Uncover coffee cake & bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  12. Cool slightly in pan on a wire rack.  Serve warm.

Because there were young children with nut allergies at the playdate, I left out the nuts this time.  However, normally, I'm a nut fanatic and double the nuts.  I also mixed the batter the morning of the playdate and baked it immediately, and it seemed to turn out just fine.  Although, I do think that the topping benefits from soaking into the batter overnight, so if you can make it in advance, you should.  It ends up a little less loose and crumbly.

I'll also note that this last cake ended up being a tad underbaked, which I didn't realize until it sank a bit in the middle during the drive to my friend's house.  Still, it wasn't so horribly undercooked that people noticed, so I just let it go.  I'm definitely adding this to my repertoire of brunch items.

IMG_12133 by you.

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