This months Cake Slice cake is an extra special this month, as it marks the start of our next 12 months of baking adventures from our newly selected cake book and welcomes lots of new members into our group. I can now reveal that our new book is Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott! I’m thrilled our members voted this as our next book as it offers a whole variety of different cake styles, shapes and sizes. As much as I loved baking from our Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes book, it was sometimes difficult to find an occasion to bake a triple layer cake each month – this book offers much more scope for impromptu cake baking. It’s crammed full of cakes for every occasion, from layer cakes, tray bakes, bundts, cupcakes and loaves.
This Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake was voted the debut cake from the book. To me, the name is slightly confusing as the cake does not contain coffee. It is so called because in America it is the kind of cake that is often served with a cup of coffee. Similarly, here in the UK our toasted teacakes do not contain tea, but are often served alongside a cup of it in the afternoon. Either way I have decided to rename this cake as Cinnamon Pecan Raisin Crumb Cake. It consists of a moist butter cake with a generous middle layer of cinnamon sugar, pecans and raisins. It is also topped off with more of the same spiced fruit and nut sprinkles – strudel style.
During baking, the cake forms a delicate spiced sugar crust and the surface raisins become pleasantly chewy, like little nuggets of treacle, while the pecans get lightly toasted which gives them a wonderful depth of flavour. The cake itself remains incredibly moist and tender. It’s a lovely buttery yellow colour with a slightly crumbly crumb, reminiscent of a shortcake. The hidden middle layer of fruits, nuts and spices turns soft and gooey, adding sweetness, stickiness, crunch and spiciness to the soft and buttery crumb. The resulting cake is just heavenly, the kind of cake you eat before chasing the crumbs around the plate with your finger to ensure you get every last morsel.
The cake calls for an astonishing amount of cinnamon, and yet I’m pleased to say it wasn’t overpowering as it is only used in the filling and topping rather than the cake batter itself. So, although intense, the sweetness of the raisins and caramel flavour from the brown sugar helps balance the cinnamon with delicious results. The only change I made to the cake was to reduce the amount of sugar called for in both the cake and filling. I have a very sweet tooth, but I know from past experience that American cakes can be extremely sweet and when I noticed that the combined sugar content was 525g I decided to reduce it slightly. Also, the recipe for the cinnamon sugar makes an extremely large amount. I had about a third of mine leftover, despite being generous with it, so I will reduce the amount I make next time.
I loved how quick and easy it was to put together and once baked it required no extra work meaning you could be enjoying a piece in around an hour. This cake sort of reminds me of a sticky bun, only in cake form. Needless to say it didn’t last long in my house. It is one of the most delicious and enjoyable tray bake cakes I have made in a long time. It can be eaten hot as a pudding or cool at room temperature. I preferred it at room temperature and found it actually seemed to develop in flavour and become more tender the following day. If this cake is a sign of things to come from our new book I can’t wait to see what we’re baking next! Click here to see fellow Cake Slice bakers cakes.
Cinnamon Pecan Raisin Crumb Cake
(Recipe from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott)
For the Cake
360g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g butter, softened
225g sugar (I used 150g)
For the Cinnamon Raisin Filling
300g light soft brown sugar (I used 200g)
3 tbsp plain
3 tbsp cinnamon
Method – Cinnamon Pecan Raisin Filling
Combine the light brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in a bowl and stir with a fork to mix everything well. Roughly chop the pecans and mix with the raisins and pecans in another bowl. In a third bowl, melt the butter until liquid and set aside until needed along with the cinnamon mixture and nut raisin mixture for use later.
For the Cake
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and flour a 13x9 inch/32x23cm pan.
In a large bowl combine the butter and sugar and beat with a mixer on high speed until pale yellow and evenly mixed, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl to ensure a good mix. Add the eggs and beat for another 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl now and then, until the mixture is smooth and light.
Combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl. Stir the vanilla into the milk.
Add about a third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir only until the flour disappears. Add a third of the milk and mix in. Repeat twice more until all the flour and milk mixtures have been incorporated. Stir just enough to keep the batter smooth.
Spread half the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Sprinkle half the cinnamon mixture over the batter followed by half the melted butter. Scatter half the raisins and nuts over the top.
Drop spoonfuls of the remaining batter carefully over the filling and use a spatula to smooth the batter all the way to the edges of the pan. Top with the leftover cinnamon, butter and nut mixture, covering the cake evenly.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the cake is golden brown, fragrant and beginning to pull away from the edges of the pan. Place the pan on a wire rack and allow to cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes before serving in squares right from the pan. The cake is delicious hot, warm or at room temperature. (I preferred room temperature).