Tag Archives: coffee cake

A Trip to the Texas Hill Country and Peach Butter Coffee Cake

You’ve been so patient with me on this post, and I appreciate it! It’s taken me way longer than I anticipated to get this together. I can give you excuses about how work is suddenly crazy and it seems as though my days evaporate faster than I realize – but I know I’m not alone with this feeling, so I’ll just shut up and get on with it.

Fredericksburg.

Early this year, I was trying to decide where we should go for a vacation. We needed to get away. Like so many, we cut expenses due to the economy, so we had not “vacationed” since early 2008. It was time! I didn’t wish to fly – while I’m not opposed to it, the whole airport/plane/flying thing is stressful and expensive. We were aiming for a relaxing, don’t-have-to-do-anything-we-don’t-want-to sort of vacation. We wanted relaxing and affordable. Besides, who doesn’t love a good road trip? Especially when that road trip is through some of the prettiest parts of Texas.

So Fredericksburg it was. Fredericksburg, if you’re not familiar, is an old German settlement built in the mid-1800s, about 70 miles west of Austin, in the middle of the Hill Country. It’s a great place to visit if you enjoy interesting Texas architecture (think old limestone buildings, cabins, and charm), great Texas and German food, a bit of shopping, but a lot of relaxing. And the landscape? So much more interesting than Dallas – I grew up with relatively flat land, grass, and some trees, but the Hill Country has lots of hills (duh), wildflowers in the spring, cactus, trees, the Pedernales river, and a lot of gorgeous rock. And the perfect way to enjoy it, in our minds, was to rent a cottage in the country for a few days.

We stayed in a small cottage built in the 1920s on a ranch with about 300 acres. We had everything we could want – a front porch swing, hot tub, a full kitchen – but with a wonderful country charm. It was the perfect relaxation spot. (Also the perfect spot to play with my camera – I took a lot of photos!)

When we weren’t enjoying our little place in the country, we visited places like Luckenbach, Texas. We also ate at a few amazing restaurants. (You didn’t think I would talk this whole time and not mention food, did you?) We visited August E’s, where we enjoyed an amazing upscale meal. For first course, my husband enjoyed a lobster bisque that he claimed was the best he’d ever eaten. I believe him, as his eyes did roll back a few times, and there was a significant amount of sighing and moans of pleasure while it was enjoyed! I ordered a lovely roasted beet salad with a citrus vinaigrette, topped with blue cheese. It was light and had a perfect balance of richness, sweetness, and tang from the citrus. Our main courses were no less spectacular. Hubby enjoyed a grass-fed ribeye with mascarpone whipped potatoes – his steak was one of the most flavorful, beefy steaks either of us have had. I had pan-seared escolar with sugar snap peas, carrots, and mascarpone whipped potatoes. The fish was light and subtly sweet – I savored every bite. And to my delight, they even offered a gluten-free dessert: a flourless chocolate torte. It was indeed chocolate-y – so rich, I could only eat a few bites, but it was satisfying and a perfect end to the meal.

We also enjoyed a lovely brunch at the Fredericksburg Herb Farm. This was a lovely farm that had a large variety of herbs, both for sale and for use in their kitchen. After touring the farm, we were seated on the deck to enjoy brunch. With the birds chirping, a breeze, and bountiful sunlight, we enjoyed coffee, and my husband enjoyed another steak (he’s a steak kinda guy, and hey, this is vacation), this time tenderloin, along with fried eggs and toast. I savored a spinach, goat cheese, and locally-grown herb frittata. What more could one want?

Nothing, except to take advantage of a full kitchen. I made eggs most mornings, but I was prepared – I packed gluten-free flours and other baking necessities for our trip. So I decided one morning to whip up a breakfast treat – coffee cake. On our drive in, we stopped at a fruit and plant stand, and I found a jar of local peach butter. It begged to be used in a creative recipe, so I subbed it for the apple butter in this coffee cake. What emerged from the oven was a heavenly-scented coffee cake with a lightly crispy streudel topping. It was the perfect breakfast treat.

Peach Butter Coffee Cake, adapted from Grouprecipes.com

1/2 c butter

1 1/2 c gluten-free flour blend (I used a blend of 3 parts sweet white rice flour, 1 part tapioca starch, 1 part cornstarch)

1 t xanthan gum

3/4 c firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 t baking soda

1 t cinnamon

1/2 t salt

1 t vanilla

1 c peach butter (you can, of course, substitute apple butter)

1 egg

1/2 c raisins

For the topping:

1/4 c sugar

1/4 c firmly packed dark brown sugar

1/4 c gluten-free flour blend

1/4 t cinnamon

1/4 c butter, softened

1/2 c chopped nuts (I used pecans)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 9-inch cake pan.

Melt 1/2 cup butter in saucepan. Remove from heat and add gluten-free flour blend, xanthan gum, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and stir. Then add in vanilla, peach butter, egg, and raisins and mix well. Pour batter into greased cake pan.

Combine the streusel topping ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and sprinkle on top of batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool slightly, and serve with coffee.

Serves 8.

All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our trip. We even discussed visiting our little cottage again in the future – it was the perfect getaway.

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Filed under Baked goods, breakfast, Desserts, Gluten-Free

From Grandma’s Recipe Box: Apple Coffee Cake

Food 1691

Lately, I have been waking up on Saturday and Sunday mornings craving something different for breakfast. As I lie there in bed, I think to myself  “If I get up now, I could start cinnamon rolls, or a strudel, or a Danish…” And yet, I roll over and try to get another hour of shut-eye. By the time I get up, have a cup of coffee, and start seriously considering baking something for breakfast, it is too late for time-consuming cinnamon rolls or anything of that sort. Usually, this means we have the usual weekend breakfast of fried or poached eggs, toast, cheese grits, and a bit of bacon. (Not that I’m complaining about the usual breakfast choice – it’s quite delicious and usually keeps me satisfied until around 3-4 PM.) But one particular weekend, I was determined to do something different. I was going to bake something for breakfast, but what? Coffee cake, maybe?

What better place to find a suitable coffee cake recipe than from my beloved recipe box that my Grandma gave to me? It has been a while since I’ve searched through the box, so we were due for another “visit.” I thumbed through the options (Grandma had quite a few coffee cake recipes, some of which were too time-consuming, but I will definitely have to try soon!) and came across a newspaper clipping. The only hint as to its origin was at the top, stating that it is “From Heart Recipe Collection.” Whatever that means. Maybe it’s supposed to be healthy? The newspaper clipping suggested that there were approximately 200 calories per serving. In my mind, white flour, white sugar, and vegetable oil don’t equal “healthy”, but who knows. Regardless, it looked simple, incorporated fruit, (I love fruity baked goods!) and I had all of the ingredients on hand. Ta-da, we found a winner!

This cake was not the most extravagant or elegant of coffee cakes, for sure (I think you tend to sacrifice elegance for quick-and-easy), but it definitely hit the spot. I loved the simple, comforting blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and apple, and the crumb was nice and delicate, but it didn’t fall apart. The best part (well, almost) was the aroma that floated through the room as it was baking. Couldn’t hardly wait until it was done! With a nice, steaming cup of java, this was a great way to start the morning. Grandma’s recipe box doesn’t disappoint, that’s for sure!

 

2 c flour

1/2 c plus 1 t sugar

1/2 t salt

2 t baking powder

1 t cinnamon

1 egg

1 c milk

1/4 c vegetable oil (I used coconut oil)

5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

grated nutmeg to taste (A little goes a long way. I only used a pinch or so.)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, 1/2 cup of the sugar, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, blend egg, milk, and oil. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients and mix with a few quick strokes. Pour half of batter into a lightly greased, 9-inch round cake pan. Arrange the apples over the batter in the pan. Sprinkle with nutmeg, if desired. Pour remaining batter over apples and sprinkle with nutmeg and remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar. Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve warm.

Serves 8-10.

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Filed under Baked goods, Budget-Friendly, Quick and Easy

Sour Cream Coffee Cake and Grandma’s Recipe Box

food-0341I remember when I was younger, my family would travel to my grandparents’ house to visit during the summers. I can only imagine the hours of planning, shopping, and baking that occupied my grandmother’s days prior to our visits. She always had carefully planned meals, and an array of baked breads, coffee cakes, and other goodies to share with us. When my grandparents were downsizing their home recently, she gave me her recipe boxes and other recipe books. I spent hours reading every recipe she shared with me, carefully noticing how some of the recipe cards showed signs of repeated use (including spots, or her hand-written notes). (Those are the GOOD ones!) Her recipe cards included not only handwritten cards but also many a newspaper clipping. I thought, what better way to enjoy what she shared with me than to create some of the goodies described in these recipes!

Sour Cream Coffee Cake is one of those recipes found in Grandma’s recipe box. The only change I made was to reduce the baking time (it was done in 47 minutes for me). It came out wonderfully moist and crumbly, with a crispy sugary-cinnamon crust. Yummy.

1 c (2 sticks) butter or margarine

1 ½ c sugar

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 c dairy sour cream

1 t vanilla

2 c sifted flour

1 t baking powder

½ t baking soda

½ c chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

2 T sugar mixed with ½ t cinnamon

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Thoroughly cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla, mixing well. Blend in flour, baking powder, and soda. Mix until smooth. Spoon half of batter in well-greased 9-in angel food pan. Sprinkle with half of the nuts and half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Spoon in remaining batter. Sprinkle remaining nuts and cinnamon-sugar mixture on top.

Bake in oven about 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool about 20 minutes before removing from pan. (optional: sprinkle with powdered sugar)

sour cream coffee cakethe recipe

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Filed under Baked goods, Budget-Friendly, Quick and Easy