We’ve been on vacation in The Grenadines and Barbados, so for this month’s project for Abby Dodge’s virtual Bake Together challenge I went a little tropical. I added ginger to the streusel and swapped out the vanilla extract for coconut extract. And I’ve got brown butter on the brain, so I cooked some butter down and used it instead of uncooked butter. Honestly, with the spices in this cake I think the flavor of the brown butter is overwhelmed (I just wanted an excuse to have leftover brown butter to toss with roasted vegetables!).
The only other thing I did different was to add more nutmeg, which I brought back with me from a nutmeg factory in Grenada. Whole nutmeg is common here in the US, but it’s mostly sold in the shell in Grenada. It’s easy to crack with a nutcracker or pliers so the nut can be grated. And I picked up cinnamon bark from the St. Georges spice market so I ground that up in my spice grinder instead of using regular ground cinnamon. I considered not using sour cream and using boiled-down coconut milk instead. I think it would probably taste great, I just wasn’t sure about texture.
Both countries have food and drinks that rely heavily on spices, nutmeg in particular. It’s shaved on top of rum cocktails and it’s delicious. Back to work in a couple more days, so this cake is a way to extend the tropical atmosphere around here. We loved the flavors, although we’d like it as written just as well. Next time, I wouldn’t go through the step of browning the butter, I’d reduce cooking time slightly (it was a little over baked at 35 minutes), and maybe add some chopped macadamias to the struesel.
Tropical Coffee Cake
Adapted from: Abby Dodge
Makes 8-10 servings
For the brown butter:
1 cup (8 ounces/2 sticks; or more) unsalted butter
For the streusel:
2/3 cup (4 5/8 ounces) firmly packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup ( 3 3/8ounces) all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup minced crystalized ginger
For the cake:
2 cups (9 ounces) all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon table salt
Pinch of ground cloves
1 1/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon coconut extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
To make the brown butter:
Simmer butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until browned bits form, 6â€“8 minutes. Pour into two measuring cups: 1/4 cup for the streusel and 1/2 cup for the cake. If needed, add more butter (added butter will melt). Let cool. Save any leftover butter for another use.
To make the streusel:
In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and ginger. Drizzle 1/4 cup melted brown butter over the top and, using a fork (or use your fingers), mix the ingredients are well blended and form small crumbs. Pop in the frig while you make the cake batter.
To make the cake:
Position an oven rack in the center of the oven. Heat oven to 350Â°F. Lightly grease and flour the sides and bottom of a 9 x 2-inch square baking pan.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cloves. Whisk until well blended. In a large bowl, beat 1/2 cup brown butter, sugar and coconut extract with an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until well blended, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stop to scrape the bowl and beaters as needed. Add about half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed just until blended. Add the sour cream and continue mixing just until blended. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the remaining flour mixture.
Scrape half of the batter (about 1lb 2 ounces for those of you who use a scale) into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Evenly scatter half of the streusel mixture over the batter. Spoon the remaining batter evenly over the streusel and spread evenly. Scatter the remaining streusel evenly over the top.
Bake until the top is browned and a pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool the pan on a wire rack until warm or room temperature.
- Tropical Brown Butter Coffee Cake (adapted from Abby Dodge)