There are nearly as many varieties of coffee cakes as there are brands of coffee. All are relatively simple to prepare, and most hold numerous similarities. As a rule, coffee cakes are a sweet, crumbly form of cake topped with a crunchy topping of nuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
If one chooses not to make coffee cake of from scratch, there are plenty available for purchase. Probably the most famous of these is Drake’s Coffee Cake®, which gained national notoriety when it became a reoccurring fixture of the 1990s television comedy, Seinfeld. Drakes is the same company that produces Ring Dings®, Yodels®, and Devil Dogs®. All of these pre-packaged snacks are adored by their fans, though most are reviled by nutritionists and diet fanatics.
To make coffee cake at home, one must first acquire the necessary ingredients. Though many coffee cakes include extra items such as fruit, yogurt, sour cream, or cream cheese, it is hard to beat the original version. Whether this is simply tradition, myth, or gustatory fact, coffee cake and coffee seem to go together like pie and ice cream.
The basic ingredients one needs to make coffee cake include flour, granulated sugar, eggs, milk, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, brown sugar, and chopped nuts of one’s choosing. If one suffers from a nut allergy, the final ingredient can be deleted, or replaced with a crunchy cereal such as Grape Nuts®.
The basic instructions to make coffee cake are as follows. Combine two eggs, a cup or more of granulated sugar, three cups of flour, four teaspoons of baking powder, and a quarter teaspoon of salt in a mixing bowl. Add a few tablespoons of vegetable or canola oil, and pour the batter into a baking pan of appropriate size. Theoretically, one could substitute olive oil or peanut oil for this latter ingredient, but attempting to create a low-fat or heart-healthy coffee cake somehow seems a bit contradictory and sacrilegious.
Next, mix some melted butter, cinnamon, a small amount of flour, and the chopped nuts. Mix this concoction until it reaches the desired consistency. If the topping resembles a paste, add more melted butter. The topping should be smooth and flow freely when poured, but it should not be too liquid. Smooth the topping over the batter that is in the baking pan.
At this point, slide your coffee cake into a pre-heated, 350 degree Fahrenheit (176.6 degrees Celsius) oven. Twenty minutes in the oven will usually suffice, however to make coffee cake that is near to perfection, it is best to visually judge its progress. When the topping looks brown and crumbly, the coffee cake is ready to eat.