Bake

Maida Heatter's Budapest Coffee Cake

December 11, 2015
Photo by Bobbi Lin
Author Notes

Leave it to The Queen of Cake herself, Maida Heatter, to give us a giant bundt of a coffee cake that doesn't need to hide behind a crumb layer nor a multi-inch shellac of cream cheese.

The cake is dense enough that you can break the slices apart with your fingers (important for: faster eating, fewer utensils, snacking straight from the fridge), and it's tangy and smooth thanks to the 2 cups of sour cream.

Here, the streusel topping typically found on top of coffee cake migrates inwards, in tiger stripes of brown sugar, cinnamon, cocoa, raisins, and nuts that alleviate any batter boredom. It's less messy, it's less precarious, and it offers a reality show-style BIG REVEAL upon first slice.

From Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts (Andrews McMeel Publishing 1999). —Sarah Jampel

  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Makes one giant bundt
Ingredients
  • For the nut filling:
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
  • 3 tablespoons raisins, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped
  • For the cake batter and the icing:
  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract, vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons hot milk, plus more as needed
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. For the nut filling:
  2. In a small bowl, mix together all of the ingredients. Set aside.
  1. For the cake batter and the icing:
  2. Preheat the oven to 350° F and butter a 10-inch Bundt pan.
  3. Into a large bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Using a paddle attachment of a stand mixer, cream the butter. Add 2 teaspoons of the vanilla and the sugar and beat on medium speed for a minute or two.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating each until just incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl, as necessary, to keep mixture smooth. Beat at high speed until mixture is light and creamy, about 1 minute.
  5. Turn mixer to low speed. Add dry ingredients in three additions and sour cream in two additions, beating only until smooth after each addition.
  6. Spread a thin layer of batter in bottom of prepared pan. Sometimes it’s easier to use a small spoon to drop some batter into pan, and then to smooth it together. Top with 1/3 of nut mixture. Repeat until you have 4 layers of batter into pan and smooth it together. Top layer will be batter.
  7. Bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in center of cake comes clean. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes, then turn out and re-invert on a rack.
  8. Combine confectioners' sugar, hot milk, and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a small bowl. Mix well, Mixture should have the consistency of a thick cream sauce. Place a sheet of wax paper underneath a cooling rack. Pour glaze over cake, letting it run down the sides, while still hot. When glaze is set, transfer cake to a serving plate.
  9. Serve cake warm or at room temperature.

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Review
Sarah Jampel

Recipe by: Sarah Jampel

A (former) student of English, a lover of raisins, a user of comma splices. My spirit animal is an eggplant. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream. For that, I'm sorry.