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Homemade Coffee Cake

Henry David Thoreau once wrote of the great Outer Beach on Cape Cod, “A man may stand there and put all America behind him.” It only takes a glance at this peculiar formation of coastline, once called the right arm of Massachusetts, to understand why this statement is true.
Getting away from it all is the main reason why the Cape Cod population doubles every summer. And this, in part, is why just returned from our own Cape Cod vacation.
There’s something wonderful about renting an old beach house, sitting on the porch, sipping a cup of tea or coffee, staring at the ocean and watching the world go by. Of course, it’s so much better when you have good company and a piece of freshly baked coffee cake to snack on.

For a long time, I didn’t understand the lure of Cape Cod. When you drive down the main road onto the Cape, you don’t actually see much. Sure, there are inns, fish shacks, even an old drive-in movie theatre, but it’s not until you get off the beaten path that you understand why people love this place.

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, you turn down a side street and find a new beach, a new nature preserve, a new restaurant, an old bookstore or ice cream parlor… or a gorgeous place to take a stroll. Watch the bathers sun along the stunning coast or wander off into the woods…whatever you do – take time to breathe in the fresh ocean air.
Then, when your adventures are through, come back to your beach house and have another piece of homemade coffee cake.
This is, indeed, a wonderful place to leave the world behind you.
“In summer, the song sings itself.” ~ William Carlos Williams

Homemade Coffee Cake (from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa)


12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sour cream
2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Finish stirring with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.

For the streusel, place the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a bowl and pinch together with your fingers until it forms a crumble.

Spoon half the batter into the pan and spread it out with a knife. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup streusel. Spoon the rest of the batter in the pan, spread it out, and scatter the remaining streusel on top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Carefully transfer the cake, streusel side up, onto a serving plate. Whisk the confectioners’ sugar and maple syrup together, adding a few drops of water if necessary, to make the glaze runny. Drizzle as much as you like over the cake with a fork or spoon.

Bon Appetit!


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  1. Rosa's Yummy Yums

    13 September

    A droolworthy cake! This a perfect teatime treat. Lovely shots.



  2. vanillasugarblog

    13 September

    I know every single one of those photos.
    I love it here.
    But now I’m sad with summer leaving–very sad.

  3. Anonymous

    13 September

    Oh, to be able to stare out at the ocean. Sadly, I live now here near it but would love to take my family for a vacation. Such beautiful photos. Calms my mind and helps me relax.

  4. Very nice blog, what a great time, And the snaps are also good
    Wedding Cakes in Pune

  5. Wonderful photos of Cape Cod! But I think the cake looks even better 🙂

  6. deana sidney

    14 September

    I felt like I just had a mini-break looking at your photos. Cake is gorgeous. I can’t remember the last time I had coffee cake… I do miss all those beautiful calories.

  7. Janet

    14 September

    Gorgeous El. You transport me. What I wouldn’t give for a piece of the cake right now!

  8. atreegrowsinaustin

    14 September

    I miss the Cape living in Texas. We used to go every summer to our grandparents’ place in South Wellfleet. I can’t imagine a more perfect morning than ocean air, coffee or tea, and coffee cake (maybe a newspaper). Thanks for your post 🙂

  9. Lisa

    15 September

    I could spend a lifetime on that beach. 🙂

  10. Rambling Tart

    15 September

    Exquisitely beautiful, El! The wildflowers are wonderful, and the seagrasses and white sand and sunshine sparkling on the water – sigh. It is wonderful. 🙂

  11. vouchers for london

    16 September

    Light meal!

  12. Lizzy (Good Things)

    17 September

    Sigh, El, what a beautiful part of the world! And the cake, how yummy!

  13. Samantha

    17 September

    I feel like I’ve died and gone to heaven. I want to sit on the proch eating the cake and visit Cape Cod. I told my husband we’re going to visit next year. Love, love love!

  14. 2 boys

    19 September

    Truly beautiful.

  15. Angela

    19 September

    Ohh my dear, you just posted my dreams!!!! This is where I want to go for a vacation, I have desired this for the past 3 years but can not convince husband to go. I love the photos of the ocean you have there. I too wish to rent a small house or cabin, perhaps share with brother in law and his wife. Beautiful indeed. Thanks for sharing this lovely post.

  16. Angela

    19 September

    Forgot to also thank you for sharing the recipe for the lovely coffee cake. I adore a piece of coffee cake with a nice cup of coffee.

  17. Jess

    22 September

    Breathtaking photos. I wish I could be at the beach eating coffee cake right now.

  18. Delish Dish

    23 September

    I woke up and it was freezing outside so this is really refreshing to see. I hate saying goodbye to summer. Lovely pics. yummy cake,

  19. Anonymous

    23 September

    I love your blog. It ‘s gorgeous!

  20. I love going to the Cape (and I love coffee cake, too). You said it perfectly: it’s a wonderful place to leave the world behind you.

  21. The coffee cake looks delicious! And the photos are so relaxing and beautiful!

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