Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Chips

Submitted by Lori
From Cooks Illustrated, 2002
Serves 12 – 16

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Note #1: A fixed bottom, 10 inch tube pan (with 10-cup capacity) is recommended, however I used a traditional bundt pan.  The end result of the bundt pan is that the streusel will be on the bottom instead of the top.  Viva la difference!

Note #2:  The Streusel is divided into two parts — one for the inner swirls, one for the topping.

Ingredients for Streusel

3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour ( 3 3/4 ounces)
3/4 cup granulated sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar ( 3 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into 2 pieces
1 cup pecans, chopped

Ingredients for Cake

12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened but still cool, cut into 1/2 -inch cubes
2 additional tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, for greasing the pan
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (11 1/2 ounces)
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar (8 3/4 ounces)
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup chocolate chips (I used 60% dark chocolate)

FOR THE STREUSEL (Filling & Topping):

  1. In a food processor, process flour, granulated sugar, 1/4 cup dark brown sugar  and cinnamon until combined, about 15 seconds. (SAVE the other 1/4 cup brown sugar for the next step)
  2. For Streusel Filling: Transfer 1 1/4 cups of the flour/sugar mixture to a small bowl.  Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar and set aside to use for streusel filling in the cake
  3. For Streusel Topping: Add butter and pecans to the mixture in the food processor; pulse until nuts and butter resemble small pebbly pieces, about ten 1-second pulses. Set aside to use as a streusel topping.

FOR THE CAKE:

  1. Adjust the oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10 inch tube pan (I used a bundt pan) using 2 Tablespoons of the softened butter.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, 1 Cup sour cream (save the other 1/2 cup sour cream for the next step)  and vanilla.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl of standing mixer; mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add butter and remaining 1/2 cup Sour Cream; mix on low speed until dry ingredients are moistened and mixture resembles wet sand, with few large butter pieces remaining, about 1 1/2 minutes.  Increase to medium speed and beat until batter comes together, about 10 seconds; scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula. Lower speed to medium-low and gradually add egg mixture in 3 additions, beating for 20 seconds after each and scraping down sides of bowl.  Increase speed to medium-high and beat until batter is light and fluffy, about 1 minutes.
  3. Using rubber spatula, spread 2 cups batter in bottom of prepared pan, smoothing surface, and sprinkle 1/2 cup chocolate chips on top. Sprinkle evenly with 3/4 cup streusel filling (without butter or nuts). Repeat with another 2 cups batter, 1/2 cup chocolate chips, and remaining 3/4 cup streusel (without butter or nuts.)  Spread remaining batter over, then sprinkle with streusel topping (with butter and nuts.)
  4. Bake until cake feels firm to touch and long toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean (bits of sugar from streusel may cling to tester.)  50 to 60 minutes.  Cool cake in pan on wire rack 30 minutes.  Invert cake into rimmed baking sheet (cake will be streusel-side down); remove tube pan, place wire rack on top of cake, and re-invert cake streusel-side up.  [ Note: Because I made the cake in a bundt pan, the Streusel topping was on the bottom.  Works for me ! ]   Cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.  (Cake can be wrapped in foil and stored at room temperature for up to 5 days.)
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