This is breakfast for people with a big appetite and a bigger sweet tooth. That is to say, people like me. But let's start at the bottom: the base of this coffee cake is delicious—big chunks of peaches are suspended in a fluffy vanilla crumb. It's light and moist and a very sensible little coffee cake with which to start your morning.
The topping is where things gets serious.
For whatever reason (alliteration, a momentary sugar low, my coming trip to New Orleans) I decided I wanted the crumb on my peach coffee cake to mimic the flavors of praline. The result is an extra thick layer of crusty, buttery, brown sugar coated pecans flecked with salt. If you're like me, you'll find yourself eating away the bottom of the coffee cake and saving the topping for last. This praline is just what you want in a cake topping candy hybrid: crunchy and nutty and salty and sweet. I almost asked myself, why bother with the bottom half? But then I cut another slice and remembered, "mmm, peaches."
The cake base recipe is adapted from Dorie Greenspan.
- Active time: 35 minutes
- Total time:1 hour 25 minutes
- For Topping:
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch peices
- 2 cups roughly chopped pecans
- For Cake:
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups chopped peaches in 1/2 inch pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 inch square cake pan and place on a baking sheet.
Make Topping: In a medium bowl, mix together brown sugar, sugar, flour, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, rub butter into sugar mixture until topping has the texture of wet sand. Stir in pecans until evenly distributed. Cover topping with plastic wrap and let chill in refrigerator until needed.
Make Cake: In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and orange zest. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla extract.
Beat in one third of the flour mixture, followed by one half the butter milk. Repeat until all ingredients are incorporated. Gently stir in peaches.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Top batter evenly with pecan crumb topping. Bake until crumbs are dark brown and a cake tester comes out clean, about 50 minutes.