Everyone should be totally adjusted to back-to-school days and it's totally time for a slice of sour cream coffee cake with apples. Yes! You all deserve a coffee break and a generous slice of this delightful cake!
Why is a coffee cake called a coffee cake? I've been asked that by some Italian friends and even a relative or two, when it doesn't have to necessarily have coffee in it. A coffee cake is a cake to enjoy with your friends (or family)with a cup of your favorite coffee. I love to make coffee cakes when we are in Italy for my in-laws, especially of my sister-in-laws. She has such a sweet tooth and as soon as we arrive in Italy, she is so excited to see what is new and different that I'll bake for them. And let me tell you, it's not easy getting into my mother-in-law's kitchen to bake something.
It's sort of a challenge at first to convince her we will be baking something without her help. Then once she's convinced, it's the matter of gathering the ingredients. Sometimes she's out of butter or eggs and she sends one of the grandkids down to the local shop to get what I need. Sometimes the flour is out and she sends my father-in-law down to the cantina to get a bag. Sometimes the mixer is being used by her for something she's making and I have to wait my turn. I'm telling you, I have often lost my desire by the time we get every thing lined up to make the dessert. Or we have every thing ready to go, but we have to to the store to get something for later for dinner. It's always an adventure and once in a while, we do get baking!!
Coffee cakes are usually made with baking powder (not typically risen with yeast, unless it's this fantastic apple cake) and they usually have a crumble topping that includes cinnamon. They can be square, rectangular or round and filled with fruit, chocolate chips or even the same crumble used to top the cake. So the most typical characteristic of a coffee cake is the fantastic crumble topping. The cake is usually very moist from the addition of buttermilk or sour cream. And if you are baking one of these cakes while in Italy, it may be difficult to find sour cream. You could use 1/2 fresh cream and 1/2 low-fat natural yogurt mixed together to make your own sour cream. Make your coffee cake featuring seasonal fruit (like now, how about some fabulous end of summer peaches or plums), apples, pears, chocolate, apricots, lemon, and even a little caramel!
Now if you're in Italy and want to make you're own sour cream, this is what you do:
Say you need 250 g sour cream: mix together 125g fresh cream + 125g of plain low-fat yogurt
This coffee cake is adapted slightly from this overnight coffee cake that we make for Christmas morning every year!!