There are many tastes I remember from childhood, but most of them are tastes I don’t taste anymore. My mom’s stuffed cabbage, her fried sole with a fresh squeeze of lemon, meatloaf eaten with lots of ketchup, barbecued chicken. All things she made regularly and made well. All things that are no longer a part of this vegetarian’s diet. (Or hers for that matter. She went veg a few years after I did.)
Like me, my mom likes cooking and baking equally well and she made lots of yummy treats over the 18 years I spent in her house. This cake was a staple and probably the thing she made most frequently. As a child, I had problems with it. And truthfully, as an adult I struggle with it a bit too. You see, I like nuts. I like them alone and I like them in savory things, but I don’t like them all that much in sweets. Never in ice cream, and I prefer them to be absent in cookies, brownies, cakes, what have you. I make an incredible nut tart around the holidays and the only reason I know it’s incredible is because people have told me so. I have never tried it.
I make this cake because other people don’t seem to share in my uncertain feelings about nuts. People LOVE this cake. Everyone from the very young to the very old feels passionately that it is the best coffeecake. Who am I to argue? For me, it does have some very redeeming qualities. There are the chocolate chips of course and lots of struesel topping. The cake part has a full cup of sour cream in it so it is very moist. It can be made a day in advance and it also can be frozen for up to a month. Most of all, it is truly a crowd pleaser and it’s great to have a few of those in your cooking or baking arsenal.
What are your crowd pleasers?
Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, chilled, and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2-1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a tube pan (also called an angel food cake pan). In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter at medium speed until lightened in color and well-combined. Add eggs, vanilla, and sour cream, beat until mixed well. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and mix until just combined. Mix in chocolate chips and nuts by hand. Scrape batter into pan.
For the struesel: In a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa. Using a pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingers, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the nuts and chocolate chips, then sprinkle on top of the batter.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Place on rack for 10 minutes. Carefully turn cake out on to rack upside down, then using another rack placed on the bottom of the cake, re-invert to right side up. Allow to cool completely.