Thursday, September 4, 2008

"Blue Ribbon USA - Prizewinning Recipes from State and County Fairs" - Marjorie Johnson's Sour Cream Streusel Coffee Cake

Date I made this recipe: September 1, 2008 (Labor Day)

Blue Ribbon USA-Prizewinning Recipes from State and County Fairs by Georgia Orcutt and John Margolies
Published by: Chronicle Books
ISBN: 10-0-8118-5484-1
Recipe: Marjorie Johnson’s Sour Cream Streusel Coffee Cake – p. 58-59

Well, the Minnesota State Fair wraps up today, just in time for me to use my newly-purchased Blue Ribbon USA – Prizewinning Recipes from State and County Fairs. Although many recipes from other states besides Minnesota sounded interesting (some even horrifying: I have never, ever heard of adding cream of mushroom soup to my beloved Michigan Pasties –pronounced pass-tees. The horror!), they didn’t strike my fancy.

Instead, I turned to the recipe created by the woman who embodies the Minnesota State Fair, indeed, to be clear, IS the State Fair, and that is Sour Cream Streusel Coffee Cake made by Minnesota’s own Marjorie Johnson.

Now the first time I went to the fair, it was clear to me that this woman was a winner, as evidenced by the multiple blue ribbons in the baking categories. And for a while, she was our little secret. But the next thing you know, she was on Rosie O’Donnell’s talk show, then Jay Leno found her and made her a regular and she is now as famous as some of the Hollywood Celebrities.

The thing is it couldn’t have happened to a nicer woman. Marjorie is a bundle of energy, that just pours off her 4’8” frame that is outfitted in her signature red (as far as I know, Marjorie doesn’t wear other colors) and her stints on Leno have been hilarious. And her baking isn’t too bad, either!

This recipe is really easy and the cake is very moist. I have only two complaints that I am almost afraid to voice in fear of offending the baking goddess: I would have liked more streusel in the middle of the cake and I was hoping for a bit more sour cream taste. Other than that, I enjoyed making this blue-ribbon winner and hope you will, too!

Marjorie Johnson’s Sour Cream Streusel Coffee Cake – makes two cakes

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter, softened
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups sour cream

2 tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup packed all-purpose flour
¼ cup sweetened flake coconut
½ cup (2 ounces) sliced almonds or chopped nuts

½ cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
¼ teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
1 to 3 teaspoons milk

Heat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 8- or 9-inch cake pans.

To make the batter: Combine the butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl and cream with an electric mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and stir with a whisk to blend. On low speed or by hand, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Spoon one-fourth of the batter into teach prepared pan.

To make the streusel: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix with a fork. Sprinkle one-fourth of the mixture over the batter in each pan. Spoon the remaining batter equally into the 2 pans. Sprinkle the top of each with an equal amount of the remaining streusel.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the tops of the cakes feel firm to the touch. Remove the cakes from the oven and let them rest for 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edges and remove from the pans by gently inverting each one onto a flat dinner plate, covering it with a wire rack, and then carefully flipping it right-side up to cool on the rack.

To make the glaze: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and stir with a spoon until smooth. Drizzle over the tops of the cooled cakes.

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