2022 was all about the bagel, a rewarding baking project we all happily partook in. A simpler, sweeter breakfast bake is the recipe of 2023, according to the carb masters at King Arthur Baking Company. They’ve just announced their 10th anniversary Recipe of the Year: coffee cake.
Coffee cake is an inviting classic. When I have a last-second baking craving, coffee cake is a simple bake that I rarely have to run to the store to get the ingredients for—pantry basics like flour, sugar, butter, and vanilla. Even better, I never have to worry about it going uneaten. If there’s anything I need heading into 2023, it’s an easy anyday cake that’s perfect for breakfast, can accompany my afternoon coffee, and that I serve to my friends and family as a special treat. It’s the baking balm we deserve in the new year.
2 Reasons Why King Arthur's Coffee Cake Is Worthy
What makes this coffee cake recipe worthy of King Arthur anointing it as the best? It’s a recipe that they’ve iterated and perfected over many years. They’ve managed to create a coffee cake with a tantalizing combination of textures—a tender cake, rich cinnamon-cocoa filling, and crispy-crumbly topping.
As a pastry chef, here’s my take on why this coffee cake is worthy of a spotlight:
- The batter relies on the paste method, also known as reverse creaming, which incorporates the softened butter in the dry ingredients without beating it first. I'm a big fan of reverse creaming in recipes, such as pound cakes and coffee cakes, where you're looking for an irresistibly plush texture. This method limits gluten formation and incorporates less air into the batter, making an extra tender, velvety cake.
- No coffee cake is complete without a generous crumb topping. King Arthur improved on what is already the best part, in my opinion. By using powdered sugar, which contains cornstarch, the crumb topping crisps up as it bakes.
I’m Partial to Sour Cream, But You Do You
According to the recipe, you can use buttermilk or Greek yogurt in the batter. But I’m partial to sour cream for its balance of tanginess and richness—I use the same amount. It’s all in the spirit of the recipe, as King Arthur describes it as “wildly adaptable.” In fact, I hear they’ll drop three variations to this coffee cake throughout 2023, including a birthday cake-themed coffee cake, a chocolate-lovers version, and one with extra crumb for those that prefer more crunch.