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As a go-to dessert, this takes the cake

Julie Falsetti

Sometimes there can be too much of a good thing.

That was the case with my sour cream coffee cake. It was fast, easy and delicious, so over the years I made it a lot.

People coming over? No problem. It could be on the table in an hour.

Pot luck and no time? The coffee cake came to the rescue.

I made it so often it came to be known as “the canonical coffee cake.” And then I stopped.

When my daughter started her own family, she took up the reins. A week didn’t pass that she didn’t have one in the oven. She found out quickly that there was no one who didn’t appreciate her coffee cake. Then she too began to fall by the wayside.

The recipe found its way to the bottom of the box in favor of trendier, more complicated desserts.

This all changed recently when my grandson began to request it. Upon hearing this, my husband remarked “Why don’t you make that anymore?” And so the cycle begins again.

Who can resist a rich, moist coffee cake that doesn’t take a lot of work to make?

Since the sour cream coffee cake has few ingredients, please use full-fat sour cream rather than the reduced-fat or non-fat variety.

In addition, fresh baking powder is a must. Check the date on your can before you begin. If you don’t want the cake to taste like a hubcap, choose an aluminum-free brand like Rumford. The only caveat when using aluminum-free baking powder is that it must go into the oven as soon as it’s mixed, as most of its rising action occurs as soon as the wet and dry ingredients are combined.

Before you begin, have all the ingredients at room temperature and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Streusel topping

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons butter

5 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped nuts

Cake

11/2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup sour cream

2 eggs

Using your fingers, blend together all the streusel topping ingredients and set aside.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix the sour cream and eggs together. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until just smooth. Be careful not to overmix, as that will toughen the dough.

Spread the batter in a greased 9-by-9-inch pan. The batter will be thick. Smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle with the streusel topping.

Bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees or until a toothpick comes out clean.

— Julie Falsetti, a York native, comes from a long line of good cooks. Her column, From Scratch, runs twice monthly in The York Dispatch food section.