Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chocolate Walnut Coffee Cake

I know that, in the title of this post, I called this delicious looking dessert Chocolate Walnut Coffee Cake, but I'm going to be honest with you:

In my house, it's actually called Funeral Cake.

Before you jump to any conclusions, let me explain.

My family first had this cake in 1993, when a friend of my mom's brought it to the funerals of both of my grandfathers. It's also reminiscent of coffee cakes, breads and pastries that Jews often pick up from the local bakery when they visit a family mourning a loved one.

In other words, it's delicious and comforting all at once.

While its origins are unknown (we use the original recipe card, which is remarkably still intact), the cake's creator managed to accomplish something that very few people can.

A moist coffee cake.

The top, middle and bottom of the cake are layered with a mixture of cinnamon, sugar, walnuts and chocolate, which bakes into a sour cream batter. Instead of biting into a crumbly dryness, you're met with pockets of chunky topping juxtaposed with spongy, light cake.

It's sort of like Babka, but way better. And without the crust.

This is an incredibly easy cake to make, and I guarantee that everyone who tries it will be impressed.

And no, you don't have to bring it to a funeral. It is a coffee cake after all.

Chocolate Walnut Coffee Cake
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2.5 tsp cinnamon
8 oz chopped walnuts
12 oz chocolate chips

1/4 cup butter
2 eggs
1 c sugar
2 c flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
8 oz sour cream

1. Mix together the ingredients for the topping and set aside.

2. In the bowl of a mixer, cream together butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla, baking soda and baking powder until smooth.

3. Add in sour cream and mix until smooth.

4. Slowly add flour, mixing thoroughly.

5. In the bottom of a well-greased angel food pan, sprinkle 1/3 of the topping.

6. Using a large spoon, glob in half of the batter as evenly around the pan as possible. Then, with a greased spatula, lightly spread it around to cover the topping. If some gets caught in the batter, it is okay.

7. Sprinkle another 1/3 of the topping, and repeat step above with the rest of the batter. Then top with the rest of the topping. The pan will be topping, batter, topping, batter, topping.

8. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour at 350F until it passes the toothpick test.


Lisa {Authentic Suburban Gourmet } said...

WOW - this cake looks amazing. Love the combination of flavors!

bb's mom said...

As BB's mom, i would like to thank my old friend Sharon (from junior high) for this recipe. Like BB's dad would say-it's to die for!

kimmie said...

Down in the South (sticks of Louisiana), our version of funeral cake is *much* classier. Line a pan with Twinkies, top with crushed pineapple and finally with a layer of Cool Whip. Sigh, I so wish I was kidding.

Your version looks much tastier!

Sarah said...

Oh my, this cake is gorgeous!! I love the chocolate chips and walnut bits in the crust!

lemonsandanchovies said...

Who'd be able to resist this cake, no matter what it's called. To me, it's a winner.

Lindsey @ Hot Polka Dot said...

Oh my god, that looks delicious! I could just each the topping on its own!

Lindsey @ Hot Polka Dot said...

I mean eat, lol.

All That's Left Are The Crumbs said...

I love baked goods with a story behind them. This cake had a sad start, but you are right in that it is too delicious and comforting to be kept only for funerals.

Annie's Dish said...

I also love the story behind this one. I think this might be the first time I've seen chocolate in a coffee cake like this. It looks delicious!

Isabelle said...

This looks a lot like a cake that The Boy's bubbie used to make, which he affectionately calls "Moisty Cake". Unfortunately, bubbie's recipe is in Yiddish and there's nobody to translate it for us. :(
I'm going to have to try this out on the weekend. Hopefully it's close to the original... I'd be a shoo-in for Best Girlfriend EVER! :)

Lizzy said...

Definitely a comforting cake...so moist, beautiful and delicious. Perfect for any occasion :)

Marmande in the Kitchen said...

I am a big fan of coffee cake, especially with chocolate. Looks delicious!

Amy @ What Jew Wanna Eat said...

Yum! I love me some babka so will have to give this sucker a shot.

sara @ CaffeIna said...

I got to the point where you say "a moist coffee cake" and I stop reading. I bookmarked this recipe immediately. Now I can go on reading this post. This cake, with or without funeral, looks like real comfort food!

TheChocolatePriestess said...

Now walnuts and chocolate is a combination I can get behind.

Megan said...

That photo rocks! Delicious. I am thinking of skipping dinner to eat this.

Tiffany said...

This looks freaking amazing! I just want to dive right into that topping!

kita said...

Whatever it's called - it looks freakin awesome! Love the clumps of chocolate and nuts in the pictures!

Bestfoodies said...

Have heard the words funeral cake most of my life! In reading the recipe for this cake i am wondering if it might come close to a recipe I have been on a search for, cinnamon loaf cake. This looks fabulous and the additon of choclate would make it a night time treat for me as well - whats nighttime without chocolate and milk!

Tina said...

I love a good coffeecake packed with filling and this one really hit the mark. It's funny how some recipe names come about, but I am like you, I would rather not call it Funeral Cake. Great post.

Three-Cookies said...

This looks simple and excellent, pity about its association with funerals. Also read your fish and chips post - interesting (and expensive) to use mushroom powder. Using rice flour will add bit of crunch as well

A Little Yumminess said...

I am sitting here, not pleased at all. I want this "funeral cake" NOW. But it is late and I cant bake!!! Can you make this in any other pan?

Anonymous said...

This cake looks delicious. It would be nice to incorporate a bit of Kahlua in the batter. :)

Anonymous said...

ahhh can't find my angel food pan. can i bake this in a bundt pan with equally good reesults?? want to make this today for my dads 65th b'day!! e-mail me back asap PLEASE!! andrewcharlotte@hotmail.com

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