Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas and Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Oh my god, y'all. Someone send a backhoe.

Another Christmas, come and gone. I feel like someone strapped roller skates on me at Thanksgiving and shoved me down a steep hill. And you people know you can't even use the words "coordinated" or "graceful" on the same page if my name appears anywhere. But, in checking my limbs for breakage, I do believe I've managed to survive the holiday trip.

Now it's the day after, and I'm having trouble typing this because I keep getting distracted by the screamin' orange oriole on my bird feeder and the SNOW that's falling outside. Yes, you heard me right. Snow in and of itself around here is a rarity. Snow this early in the winter is almost unheard of. I'd be beside myself if I wasn't kind of tired.


I think we're Holiday Hungover. Pootie is still nestled all snug in our bed, and I'm chewing Mylanta and need something for my head.

Yesterday did start obscenely early. Someone in this house gets REALLY excited about Christmas presents. Hint: It's not me or the dog.

Really, Pootie? 5:00 AM? Seriously?
 I have a hard time getting excited about anything at 5:00 AM except Very Strong Coffee. But knowing we were likely to be up early, I made a sour cream coffee cake the day before to help ease the blow.

This is an adaptation of the sour cream coffee cake in Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible. I love this one, because it's not all that sweet. Here's the .pdf if you want to cut to the chase and not look at my beautiful pictures and find out what I got for Christmas and unlock the key to the universe, which is, of course, at the end. Your loss.

It's a little bowl-intensive, but worth it.

The cake has a nut/spice/sugar filling as well as a streusel topping. Coarsely chop pecans mixed with brown and white sugar, espresso powder and cinnamon in the food processor, then pull out a third of it for the filling, and mix butter and flour in the topping.

For the cake itself, set aside four egg yolks, vanilla and part of the sour cream.

Beat the butter with the flour (yes), sugar, baking soda and powder, salt, and the other part of the sour cream. Then add the yolk mixture and beat it to build up the cake's structure. Pour 2/3 of the batter into a parchment-lined and greased springform pan and smooth it out.

Sprinkle the filling mixture over it.

Blob the rest of the batter over that and smooth it, then top with the streusel.

Bake it at 350 (sorry Maggy!) for about an hour. Don't open the oven door, so that when your Pootie shuts off the power so he can wire a heater in the bathroom because you forgot about your baking and told him to go ahead whenever, you don't lose the heat. Then you can stand and wring your hands and tell him to hurry! hurry! my coffee cake will be ruint! Breathe a sigh of relief when he actually does finish lickety split and then forbid him to turn the power off to disconnect the heater he just finished installing because he realized he bought the wrong one (we need 120 and he bought 240 - I hope Santa was too busy loading the sleigh to hear all the profanity emanating from 305).

Take half of it to your in-laws, because there's no way two of you can eat the whole thing.

Then Christmas morning, get up when it's still dark outside, and reheat a slice.

While it's reheating, open your NEW LENS! That's right, people! Look out!


I took it for a test drive and oh. my. goodness. I cannot BELIEVE the difference. My brother told me. He said "You will LOVE that lens". And he was right. I'm still getting the hang of it, but I love how close I can get and how much extraneous background crap I can cut out of the picture now. Wow.

WOW! Just look at how much background blur I got on that! Oh my head! I'm so stinkin' happy!

Love this from the Tuckers. Dinky doesn't like getting shot with it, but he digs eating the shrapnel.
 I can't get over how much light it lets in. Just... POW!

I'll be putting training wheels on it and using it for blog pictures. Strap yourselves in. This could get ugly.

Our Christmas really was lovely. I got some wonderful gifts, and truly, I was NOT that good this year. Besides my LENS!!! I got some pajamas from Pootie:

This was not taken with the new lens. And it was very, very dark at 5:00 AM

I got an excellent T-shirt from Pootie:

If you don't read Hyperbole and a Half, you really should.
 And our friends Dave and Christin even gave me some cleaning products to go with it!


I'd been telling them that I'd honestly be pretty stoked about getting a box full of cleaning stuff so I didn't have to go to Target. Score!

But I think my favorite present this year was a set of three songs I'd picked out to have Eef Barzelay perform especially for me. Oh, that was so nice! I do love him. I'd really hoped he'd come here and sing them himself for me, but I guess maybe he just ran out of travel time. Or something.

I hope you enjoyed your holiday as much as I enjoyed mine. Now I'm going to go set the living room on fire and take an afternoon nap.

Happy Holidays, everybody!

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