Monday, May 23, 2016

Almond Streusel Coffee Cake

Start the day with your favorite cup of coffee or tea, a slice of Almond Streusel Coffee Cake and a good book. I can recommend "Kitchen Boy" a riveting novel by Robert Alexander, that I just finished in a 24 hour time period. It was that good.
He's a Minnesota author whose real name is Robert D. Zimmerman.
Zimmerman/Alexander is an author of mysteries, psychological thrillers, and children's books. He has won several literary awards. He also wrote the bestselling novel "Rasputin's Daughter "and the forthcoming "The Romanov Bride." Alexander/Zimmerman has spent over thirty years traveling to Russia, where he has studied and also worked for the U.S. government. He speaks frequently to book clubs and schools sharing his love of books and Russian history.
"Kitchen Boy" is a historical fiction novel that recreates the tragic and fascinating story of the final days of Nicholas and Alexandra Romanov (the last Tsar of Russia) as seen through the eyes of their young kitchen boy, Leonka. Now an elderly Russian immigrant, Leonka claims to be the last living witness to the Romanovs’ brutal murders and sets down the dark secrets of his past with the imperial family. It is a compelling novel with the last few chapters true page turners. I couldn't read fast enough to find out answers to the many questions that surrounded the family's murder. I also found the story to be a touching portrait of a loving family held in captivity. It will pique your interest to google or search the library to find out more about the Tsar and the missing children. "Kitchen Boy" also is a great book club selection.

Almond Streusel Coffee Cake
Cook's notes: I really liked the flavor  in this recipe and  the crunch of honey roasted almonds mixed in the streusel topping.  You can save calories by using yogurt over sour cream. You won't even miss it. This cake is perfect for a coffee get together, brunch or even served as a dessert. 
Recipe adapted from
Cake Ingredients:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. Saigon cinnamon
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp.almond extract
  • 1 cup plain Greek Yogurt
Streusel Filling and Topping:
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quick rolled oats 
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp.  Saigon cinnamon
  • 1/2 stick cold butter
  • 3/4 cup Blue Diamond Honey Roasted Almonds, chopped
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8-inch square baking pan and set aside.
  • To make the streusel topping and filling, place the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl and stir well with a wooden spoon. Work the butter into the mixture with your floured fingertips until evenly distributed. Stir in chopped almonds. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  • Using a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beat until smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract, almond extract, and Greek yogurt. Mix until well combined.
  • Slowly add in the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  • Spoon half of the coffee cake batter into the prepared cake pan, the batter will be thick. Sprinkle half of the streusel topping/filling over the cake batter. Spoon the remaining batter over the filling, spreading gently. Sprinkle with the remaining streusel. 
  • Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Cut into squares and serve.
Sour cream can be substituted for Greek yogurt.

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