This recipe is absolutely incredible. It’s an upside-down sour cream coffee cake from Smitten Kitchen. The actual cake part is yeast based so it has that signature yeasted bread flavor, yet, it requires no kneading at all. The cake is not at all fluffy and light – instead it’s dense, as most coffee cakes are. Because it’s not too sweet, the thick and generous layer of brown sugar crumb pairs perfectly with it. These crumbs are not scarce. There is truly almost equal layer of cake to crumb and that is quite simply, a beautiful thing. There is so much crumb in fact that is blends together making this an actual layer of the cake instead of a sprinkling. The only sprinkling here is the powered sugar that goes on for a nice and delicately sweet finish.
It’s an easy recipe to make because while beautiful and intricate looking, it’s actually quite straight forward. The steps are simple to follow and not daunting at all. The cake kind of makes itself. It bakes upside down – meaning, you layer the crumbs down into your cake pan first and then pour the bread-y batter on top. Once baked, you flip the cake over so the crumb topping is just that – a topping. It’s fun, trust me.
The real unique aspect of this cake is that it has the addition of the yeast. The yeast really adds a depth of flavor, more remnant of a morning bun, unlike any coffee cakes I’ve had before. You still get that coffee cake experience though with the crumbs, the hint of sour cream (as most coffee cakes incorporate that into their batter), and the ideal pairing alongside a hot cup of coffee.
Whether you plan to make this over the holidays, for a special brunch with guests, or at your next book club-esque gathering, I guarantee people will give the appropriate “oh’s and ah’s” that this recipe so deserves. You’ll be especially proud of yourself too if working with yeast is not your thing. The yeast works it’s magic here without any effort on your part. It’s a beautiful thing.
Enjoy! And don’t forget that piping cup of black coffee or strong tea.