Zingerman's Sour Cream Coffee Cake-Famous Fridays
Zingerman's Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Yippee--I've finally gotten it together and am back with a Famous Fridays post. And this one's a doozy, guys. The most delicious, tender, flavorful sour cream coffee cake from a truly wonderful bakery and deli, Zingerman's. Do you know about Zingerman's? Read on and I'll explain the magic of the big "Z"!!

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You know how when you read a word you don't know the meaning of you simply gloss over it and then once you do learn the meaning, you seem to see it everywhere? Well, that's how Zingerman's has been for me. For years I've been seeing internet posts about it but it just didn't seem to matter that much to me. Then my daughter's hockey team made it to Nationals which were held in Michigan last year and she and I did  the 11 + hour drive out there, stopping in Ann Arbor (which is where Zingerman's is) for lunch and we came face to face with the phenomenon that is Zingerman's.

How do I describe it? If you've ever been to Zabar's in NYC, you're approaching a teensy bit of what Zingerman's is like. Part gourmet/old-fashioned deli, part bakery, part grocery--it's a massive, wild, zany place with super cool decorations and just about every kind of yummy food you can imagine. We were trying to eat healthy so we ordered a container of chicken matzoh ball soup and a salad with chicken which turned out to be more like a deconstructed sandwich with only a few leaves of lettuce, a couple of slices of tomato, a hearty amount of chicken and just about the most wonderful artisan bread we've ever had. Thank goodness because otherwise we would've missed out on one of the things Zingerman's is most famous for! Ten months later and I'm still dreaming about that bread!!

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The good news is that now all of the wonderful bakery favorites from the store are included in their new cookbook, Zingerman's Bakehouse, which means you can actually make the bread yourself in your very own home. I've done it now a couple of times--before my middle guy left for his Australian adventure, he and I attempted to make our own sourdough starter and successfully baked a few different breads from the book, but I'm not quite ready to share with you yet--still need more practice to perfect the techniques. But there are plenty of other wonderful, classic, easier recipes in the book, quite possibly none more so than this tender, nutty, cinnamon-y, buttery, sour cream coffee cake. It's billed as one of the store's most popular sweets and after one bite you will know why!! Simple, homey cakes like this are treasures you will want to make time and again!

The outer crust of the cake is chewy and sweet, the crumb is mellow and buttery and the cinnamon/walnut/brown sugar streusel that runs throughout, adds wonderful flavor and crunch.

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 Makes your house smell unbelievably good too!!

It's perfect for brunch or afternoon tea but would also give any fancy dessert a run for its money. Anytime it's around, I guarantee it won't be around for long!

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So, if you're heading out to Ann Arbor, definitely give yourself time to eat and wander around Zingerman's and until then, pick up a copy of Zingerman's Bakehouse and get baking (it's a fun read too!) Have a great weekend, stay safe and I'll be back next week with some more cold-weather favorites!!


Zingerman's Sour Cream Coffee Cake-Famous Fridays

Makes one 9-Inch bundt cake
Prep Time:  15 minutes; Bake Time:  About 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons walnut halves (132 grams)--you could also use walnut pieces
  • 3 packed tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

The Recipe

1.  Preheat oven to 325ºF. Spray a 9-inch Bundt pan with non-stick spray, coat with flour, tapping out excess and set aside.

2.  Place the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and place them in the oven for about 10-12 minutes until golden brown and toasted. Remove them from the oven and turn it down to 300ºF.

3.  Mix the walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt, whisking together. Set that aside too.

4.  Place the sugar and butter in the large bowl of a mixer and beat on medium speed until the color lightens. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one and using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add in the sour cream and vanilla and mix just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl well and gradually add the flour mixture, keeping the mixer on low speed. You will need to scrape the sides down a lot as the mixture is very thick and you want to make sure it gets evenly mixed. 

5.  Spoon about 1/3 of batter into prepared bundt pan and smooth it down evenly. Sprinkle 1/2 of the nut mixture evenly across it and top that with another 1/3 of the batter, spreading it out evenly to the sides. Sprinkle the rest of the nut mixture evenly across the top and follow it with the rest of the batter, spreading it out evenly.

6.  Bake for about 60 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean (it might take longer--all ovens cook differently). Let the cake cool for about 15-20 minutes in the pan on a wire rack but don't wait much longer than that to remove it from the pan, as the nut mixture might make it stick to the pan as it cools and make it hard to remove. Invert over another wire rack and remove cake. Let cool fully before slicing and serving.

7.  Cake keeps well wrapped at room temperature for at least a week.

Enjoy!

Note:  Recipe adapted from Zingerman's Bakehouse by Amy Emberling and Frank Carrollo. I didn't change a thing--you don't mess with perfection!!

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