February in Vermont, must be tapping season! And what better way to start a weekend of tapping than coffee cake? This tasty cake is a modification of a recipe from the lovely book of treats Honey & Jam. Here we go:
Preheat oven to 350. Cream 1/2 c of butter (1 stick) with 1 cup of maple sugar, chunks included if this is not a sieved maple sugar!* And if it's a cold winter where you are too, cut the butter up into small pieces to encourage it to soften faster. Once creamed, add two eggs, one at a time, and 1 tsp of vanilla. Mix well. In a separate bowl combine 1 1/2 c of all-purpose flour with 1/2 tsp of salt and 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder. Add the dry ingredients in a couple of rounds, mixing thoroughly in between additions to ensure the creamed mixture coats all of the flour mixture.
Melt another 1/2 c of butter and add 1/3 cup of maple chunks (or just maple sugar if you don't have separated-out chunks), 3/4 c of all-purpose flour, 1/2 c of chopped toasted hazelnuts, a pinch of salt and a pinch of cinnamon and mix together. If you like a less decadent layer of topping, halve this.
We love the decorative look of a bundt cake, but if you like to see your topping then use an 8*8 baking dish. We greased and floured a bundt pan (two actually, cause when is one coffee cake ever enough?), evenly sprinkled topping around the bottom of the pan then added the thick batter over, filling the bundt pan about halfway. The batter is almost a dough, don't be alarmed!
Bake for 25 minutes and if it's not done, keep checking every 5 minutes. Check for firmness when you gently press down with your hand, or look for small cracking in the cake, or insert a knife or toothpick to see if it comes out clean (clean = done). Take out, let cool on top of a rack, and try to keep from eating it until the morning with that first cup of coffee or tea!
*When you make maple sugar, it doesn't granulate perfectly and sometimes there are these hard lovely little chunks of maple sugar mixed throughout. Sometimes I sieve these out to make a finer sugar and a separate set of maple chunks, sometimes I leave them all together and let the chunks fall where they may, if you will.