Joy the Baker

Any Way Coffee Cake

January 16, 2009

Chocolate Walnut Coffee Cake

Remember a few days ago when we were talking about husband hugs?

Here’s the deal with me and husband hugs: I’m more than willing to wait for them.  Sure, I can come with a serious case of the ‘wants’, but I’m usually able to talk myself into a bit of patience.

Your comments to my last post about hugs and husbands totally touched my heart.  They helped me realize why husband hugs are so great, because they come from a place of deep love and comfort.  That doesn’t just happen overnight.  That’s the serious stuff-  the stuff that comes with time, patience, understanding, commitment, love… you know, all the good stuff.  I say all of this to say:  I’m content.  Not to worry.  I’m more than willing to chillax on the husband hug front until it’s right and proper.

I’m flexible.  I’m sweet.  I’m happy:  just like this coffee cake.

Chocolate Walnut Coffee Cake

Chocolate Walnut Coffee Cake

Coffee Cake Any Way

Print this Recipe!

This recipe comes from one of my favorite soul food cookbooks, Sweets.  I like this cookbook because it lacks all pretension.  The cake comes together with yellow boxed cake mix.  Yea… cake mix.  It’s sweetly familiar.  This cake is also unflinchingly flexible.  I threw in walnuts and dark chocolate chips, although you might want to try any of these combinations in your cinnamon  swirl.

Dried Cranberries and White Chocolate Chips

Toasted Pecans and Sweetened Shredded Coconut

Walnuts and Pecans

Dried Apricots and Dried Cherries

and now… the recipe:

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1 (18.5 ounce ) box yellow cake mix

1 (6 ounce) package vanilla Jell-O pudding

1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream

3/4 cup hot water

4 eggs

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon butter extract

1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Brown Sugar Icing

1/3 cup light packed brown sugar

1 1/2 Tablespoons flour

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup whole milk

splash of whiskey (optional)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and lightly flour a 9 by 13-inch pan. Set aside.

To make the cake, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and walnuts (if using) in a mixing bowl. Mix well. Set the bowl aside. Measure out the chocolate chips (if using) and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream and hot water. Mix well. Your mixture will be thick. Beat in the eggs, vegetable oil and extracts until very few lumps remain.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle all of the brown sugar mixture over the cake batter. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips, or whatever topping you’ve chosen. Carefully spread the remaining batter over the brown-sugar and chocolate chip mixture. With a butter knife, spread and swirl the cake batter and brown sugar mixture.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake form the oven and cool slightly.

To make the icing, combine the sugar and the flour in a bowl. Set the bowl aside. Over medium heat, melt the butter in a medium-sized, heavy saucepan. Whisk the flour and sugar mixture into the melted butter until the mixture becomes moistened. The mixture will appear to separate from the butter. Decrease the heat to low and keep stirring, it will come together after about 2 minutes, becoming slightly stringy.

Stir in the milk. Raise the heat to medium and cook until the mixture becomes thick and smooth, stirring frequently. It will look like gravy. Remove from heat. Add the splash of whiskey and vanilla extract. Let cool to lukewarm and drizzle over warm coffee cake.

This cake stays moist for days. Enjoy!


51 Comments Add A Comment

  • I’m such a lazy baker. I love the ease of using cake mixes. Your list of mix-ins takes this above and beyond just an ordinary cake mix. No one would ever know that it was the base. And the picture of the batter, makes me want to go mix this up just to eat a spoonful.

  • thank you for this recipe! i just found your blog through jodie allen’s (jodified) blog link list. what a great find! i made this delicious cake last night and we enjoyed it for breakfast this morning and i’m bringing the other half to my friends who just had a baby. goodness all around. thanks for the inspiration!! may all your dreams come true.

  • Just a suggestion–try Penzey’s “cake spice” in place of the cinnamon! It has cinnamon, cardamom, and a couple other things in it (too lazy on this COLD Saturday to go into the cold pantry to check) and gives an AMAZING depth of flavor to whatever you put it in. I used it on our Christmas morning coffee cake and everyone loved it.

    Oh yeah, gotta try this coffee cake too. Minus the nuts–allergies in this house–but it looks goooooooood.

  • amanda, this looks so good. i can just imagine maple in the frosting – yum!

  • That coffee cake is just plain sinful.

  • your comment on husband hugs made me realize I need a hug, you’re post on this coffee cake is making me realize that it would be great to have this for breakfast . . . the power of suggestion :)

  • Thanks- that is what I was hoping you would say, as that was already in my pantry!

  • amanda- you’re super sweet. Good luck with the new job! I want to hear about it.

    Meg- cinnamon in the glaze sounds great!

    Julie- I used instant pudding. Good question! Enjoy!

  • I’d love to try this, but I’d have to send my hubby to buy the cake mix for me. :) Kidding!
    Sending some hugs your way, but I’m warning you, my fingers are cold, it’s freezing up here!

  • awww. im all teared up :)

  • The brown sugar icing got our attention. It’s just so ribbony…Is that a word?

  • Did you use an instant pudding mix, or the “cook & serve” kind? I have my mom and dad coming over in the morning, and this looks like a great treat!

  • Your coffee cake looks so delicious! Hubby hugs are not the easiest to come by here. I’m a hugger and he’s not! But, he gives them to me when I ask! Very rarely does he ask though!

  • I would put some cinnamon in the icing as well, just because I love it so much!
    I think I might try doing candied cinnamon almonds and semi sweet chocolate chunks.

    I love “husband hugs” or in my case, fiancee hugs.

  • This cake is fresh, fun, and wildly indulgent, like a certain baker I know :)

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