Our typical Sunday morning: I wake up and go downstairs to workout. Ben wakes up, and then works out his brain. By Sunday afternoon, I am doing errands or meeting up with friends, while Ben is…still working out his brain.
And while these smart kids know that eating a hunk of this seriously moist, rich, tangy, and surprisingly bright- tasting cream cheese coffee cake isn’t necessarily the very best thing for your arteries, they also know 1)all things in moderation and 2)the brain needs fuel.
So, while I pack his lunch for tomorrow (not kidding) and write a note reminding him to take this gorgeous coffee cake with him to school tomorrow (also not kidding), I’d like to take a moment to say, “Honey, Happy Anniversary. Hope you have a great day at school tomorrow! Love you!”
Almond Cream Cheese Coffee Cake (from the BEST site out there, America’s Test Kitchen)
(Makes one 10-inch cake, serving 12 to 16)
Lemon Sugar-Almond Topping
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons finely grated zest from 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 2-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1-1/8 teaspoons baking powder
- 1-1/8 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
- 1 cup, plus 7 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon finely grated zest, plus 4 teaspoons juice from 1 to 2 lemons
- 4 large eggs
- 5 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1-1/4 cups sour cream
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
FOR THE TOPPING:
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Stir together sugar and lemon zest in small bowl until combined and sugar is moistened.
- Stir in almonds; set aside.
FOR THE CAKE:
- Spray 10-inch tube pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl; set aside.
- In stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter, 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, and lemon zest at medium speed until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add 4 teaspoons vanilla and mix to combine.
- Reduce speed to low and add one-third flour mixture, followed by half of sour cream, mixing until incorporated after each addition. Repeat, using half of remaining flour mixture and all of remaining sour cream. Scrape bowl and add remaining flour mixture; mix at low speed until batter is thoroughly combined, about 10 seconds.
- Reserve 1¼ cups batter and set aside. Spoon remaining batter into prepared pan and smooth top.
- Cream Cheese Swirl: Return now-empty bowl to mixer and beat cream cheese, remaining 5 tablespoons sugar, lemon juice, and remaining teaspoon vanilla on medium speed until smooth and slightly lightened. Add ¼ cup reserved batter and mix until incorporated.
- Spoon cheese filling mixture evenly over batter, keeping filling about 1 inch from edges of pan; smooth top. Spread remaining cup reserved batter over filling and smooth top. With butter knife or offset spatula, gently swirl filling into batter using figure-8 motion, being careful to not drag filling to bottom or edges of pan. Firmly tap pan on counter 2 or 3 times to dislodge any bubbles. Sprinkle lemon sugar-almond topping evenly over batter and gently press into batter to adhere.
- Bake until top is golden and just firm, and long skewer inserted into cake comes out clean (skewer will be wet if inserted into cheese filling), 45 to 50 minutes. Remove pan from oven and firmly tap on counter 2 or 3 times (top of cake may sink slightly).
- Cool cake in pan on wire rack 1 hour. Gently invert cake onto rimmed baking sheet (cake will be topping-side down); remove tube pan, place wire rack on top of cake, and invert cake sugar-side up. (Do these steps quickly, and with gumption! You can flip this baby, I promise. Just believe in yourself!)
- Cool to room temperature, about 1½ hours. Cut into slices and serve. (If not serving immediately, wrap tightly and place in fridge. Let warm to room temperature before serving.)