Sunday, 27 September 2015

cinnamon streusel coffee cake - to celebrate autumn!

Don’t you just love the beginning of autumn? The cooler breeze, the brighter sunshine that isn't as warm as it looks, the golden hues that begin to embellish greens. I'm not one for the intense heat of summer so this weather suits me just fine. I welcome autumn as most people welcome summer, with happy anticipation and countless lists of things to bake and cook. Things just feel settled and constant. The holidays are over and I can plan my time more easily - which doesn't involve avoiding small children who out en masse during the day. Sure they’re cute but if there’s an army of them on the streets I feel as though I need a cup of tea and a lie down from the over exuberant antics on display. Yes, I was once a small child myself although I can’t imagine this. Parents, if you’re reading this – no offence

I'm wearing a jumper as I write this – a light jumper that tells me that it’s that time of year where lots of fun stuff happens. We have Halloween around the corner, Christmas is already displayed in shops and there’s my birthday (woohooh!), sandwiched inconveniently between Christmas and New Year. Well what’s a girl to do if not bake away her winter birthday blues? So I baked this gorgeously cinnamony cake which won’t disappoint. It’s super crumbly, dense, and best of all includes a double dose of streusel! You really can’t have too much of this German concoction used to top cakes, pies and muffins, so I decided to add an extra ribbon layered in the centre for good measure. Cinnamon in one of my favourite spices and this cake goes perfectly with tea or coffee. 

Ingredients (Makes 10 slices)
For the cake batter
150g self raising flour
2 medium free rage eggs
100g softened butter
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
120g granulated sugar
100ml whole milk
1 stick cinnamon

For the streusel
40g brown sugar
40g white sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
75g plain flour
50g melted butter

Preheat oven to 190c or 170c (fan) /gas mark 5

Begin by heating 100ml of milk with a stick of cinnamon and simmer on medium-low heat until the milk is reduced by half. Make sure to stir occasionally and don't leave unattended. This takes about 5 mins. Take out the cinnamon stick and set aside to cool. Skim the top of the milk if a skin forms.

Mix softened butter and sugar in a bowl whisk in eggs, vanilla and the cooled cinnamon infused milk. Slowly add the flour until everything is combined well. You should have a soft batter.

In a separate bowl prepare the streusel by adding brown sugar and granulated sugar to butter which has been melted for about 30 seconds in the microwave or in a glass bowl over a pan of hot water. Add the flour and ground cinnamon and mix. The streusel should resemble wet sand.

In a greased and lined loaf tin pour in half the batter and cover with half of the streusel mix, crumbling evenly on top of the batter with your fingertips.  Add the rest of the batter and top evenly with the remaining streusel mix.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean from the centre of the cake. Cool completely and slice.

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