I made this several years ago and was unimpressed. It was dry and kind of boring, as I recall. I must have done something terribly wrong that first time, because damn. This time, this is quite possibly the best coffee cake I’ve ever eaten. Maybe I overbaked it last time, or I made it in advance and didn’t savor it in all of its fresh-from-the-oven glory. I made no such mistake this time, and the recipe (Barefoot Contessa Parties!) was redeemed. I made this a few days before Easter for the family to snack and breakfast on for the weekend. In clergy families, we don’t get a big Easter breakfast with the family, and even holiday dinners can be a bit anti-climactic, as the man of the house gamely tries to stay awake through the second course, struggling mightily to keep his eyes open and keep the drool from dripping down his chin, and Mommy tries not to pull out every last hair from her head after being left alone all week with God’s beautiful miracle child that WE MADE TOGETHER, DAMMIT, all the while cleaning the house and getting dinner together and making sure nobody has visible dog hair on his seersucker pants. It’s not to say that we don’t have a good time, but I’ve found wisdom in spreading out the celebration over several days, and this coffee cake was just the thing to make the whole weekend seem a little bit festive without adding any more layers of formality. Those of us who live with the People of the Cloth, we graze. This one is going into the grazing files, for sure.
I wish I could claim credit for some great plan that brought this to our table, but really it was kind of an accident. I had to make a run to Costco (our beloved warehouse club) in the week before Easter, and the only thing that I needed outside of the Costco errand was a tub of sour cream. I made a quick calculation: take the already-tired toddler to another store to buy sour cream, or spend an extra dollar or two on a tub of sour cream large enough for us to bathe in. If you are a parent, you probably guessed correctly: we are now the proud owners of approximately 5 gallons of sour cream. The coffee cake recipe calling for 1 1/4 cups of sour cream virtually screamed out from the pages of the cookbook, and a new tradition was born.