Coffee cake is any cake flavored with or intended to be eaten with coffee. British coffee cake is typically a sponge cake flavored with coffee, typically baked in a circular shape with two layers separated by coffee butter icing, which also covers the top of the cake. Walnuts are a common addition, to make coffee and walnut cake. In the United States, coffee cake generally refers to a sweet cake intended to be eaten with coffee or tea (like tea cake). The American variety is presented in a single layer, flavoured with either fruit or cinnamon, and leavened with either baking soda (or baking powder), which results in a more cake-like texture, or yeast, which results in a more bread-like texture. They may be loaf-shaped, for easy slicing or baked in a Bundt or tube pan.
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Coffee cake—also referred to as gugelhupf or kaffekuchen—evolved from other sweet dishes from Vienna. In the 17th century, Northern/Central Europeans are thought to have come up with the idea of eating sweet cakes while drinking coffee. As the region's countries were already known for their sweet yeast breads, the introduction of coffee in Europe led to the understanding that cakes were a great complement to the beverage. Immigrants from countries such as Germany and Scandinavia adjusted their recipes to their own liking and brought them to America. Though the cakes varied, they all contained ingredients such as yeast, flour, dried fruit, and sweet spices. However, over time, the coffee cake recipes have changed as cheese, sugared fruit, yogurt, sour cream, have been used, leading to a denser, more cake-like structure. In the 19th century, American cooks also used coffee as an ingredient to thriftily use up leftovers, reducing waste, and flavor the cake. The invention of pasteurization in America following World War I also led to the creation of a new kind of coffee cake, called sour cream coffee cake. Coffee cake is referenced in literary material as early as 1850 with references to gugelhupf going back to 1763.
American coffee cakeEdit
German women brought the concept of the kaffeeklatsch to America. Contemporary coffee cakes in the US rarely contain coffee. Most are simple, singularly flavoured cakes that feature fruit, spices, or nuts. They may also feature a streusel or simple glaze topping, if any. Streusel is German for "sprinkle" or "strew" and refers to the popular crumbly topping of butter, flour, sugar.
A variety of crumb cake (Streuselkuchen) contains flour, sugar, butter, cinnamon granules, and sometimes oats or nuts, which are sprinkled over the coffee cake batter before it is baked. Sour cream is also sometimes used in traditional American coffee cakes to both add a tart flavor and activate baking soda used as a leavening agent.
- Amish friendship bread – has characteristics of both pound cake and coffee cake
- Bundt cake – a ring shaped cake similar to Gugelhupf
- Gooey butter cake – generally served as a type of coffee cake and not as a formal dessert cake
- Gugelhupf – sometimes served with coffee, during coffee breaks
- List of brunch foods
- List of cakes
- Tiramisu – a popular coffee flavored Italian dessert
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