Thursday, August 2, 2012

Baking At The Beach

This is what I've been waking up to every morning for the past week.

It's beautiful.

I cannot believe one week ago I was in non-air conditioned dorms, struggling to wake up at 6:45am and go to breakfast.  Campers had just had their all-night party the night before (it was their last night of camp)- and they literally stayed up all night.  Imagine 8th graders, eating candy and drinking soda to help themselves stay awake all night ... let's just say the night was a long one.  Not to mention, it was the counselors last session of camp (three sessions total) and our days left together were numbered.  Therefore, everyone was trying to stick it out till the wee hours of the morning, spending the last few moments of our summer together.  

So it would make sense that the next morning was just a tiresome morning in general.  I had a hard time waking up to say the least...  

But now that camp is over- which I still cannot get over how fast it flew by - I've been very lucky to have been invited by my boyfriend's family to a week at the beach.  And wow has it been so relaxing :).

It's crazy to think how much you can do in one week.  And how you can be in two completely different places in less than one week.  From Charlottesville to Atlantic Beach, North Carolina in less than 7 days.  Crazy. 

I'm not complaining, though.

This beach is beautiful :)

Isaac's sister, Naomi, wanted to spend her vacation time trying out some new baking recipes - which I am all in favor of.  She wanted to try and make coffee cake, so I found a recipe through and we decided to test it out.

The trick to coffee cake is finding a recipe that will make the cake moist.  i.e. you need something like sour cream, applesauce, yogurt, etc. in the recipe.  The recipe we decided to try called for greek yogurt- a healthy alternative to sour cream!

Coffee cake is definitely a great staple recipe to have.  It's one of those treats that can be served with coffee or tea in the morning, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert.  I have to say that Ice Cream Before Dinner knows her coffee cake- this is a recipe I (and Naomi!) will most certainly be keeping close at hand.


Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake with Crumb Topping

For the Cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup vanilla greek yogurt (we used one packaged chobani yogurt and it was perfect!)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 stick butter, softened
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt

For the Crumb Topping:
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350F.
Grease an 8x8 or 9x9 pan.
In a small bowl, mix together 1/3 cup of the granulated sugar with the brown sugar and cinnamon; set aside for later use (this is the filling of the coffee cake).
In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt together;  set aside.
In a separate medium bowl, combine yogurt and baking soda; set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer (or by hand if you don't have one!), beat the butter until light and fluffy.  
Mix in granulated sugar, eggs (one at a time), and vanilla; continue to beat.
Take the two medium bowls and alternate adding their ingredients to large mixing bowl; beat after each addition until well combined.
Pour half of batter into greased pan.
Take small bowl containing cinnamon sugar mixture and pour about 3/4 of mixture on top of batter, making a layer.
Top off with remaining batter, and pour last 1/4 of cinnamon sugar mixture on the very top, along with the crumb topping (directions below).
Bake for 45-55 minutes (or until toothpick comes out clean).

For the Crumb Topping:
Melt the butter in a microwave-safe container and allow to cool slightly.
Combine sugars and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl.
Add the warmed melted butter and stir to blend using a fork.
Add flour and toss with fork until moist clumps of crumb topping form (you may also use your hand to form clumps - I found that worked better!)
Sprinkle on top of prepared pan and bake!

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