Warning: long post mostly of me rambling about instagram and coffeecake and what turned into a mini critique of revolver, (not that I’m qualified of giving any out)– please scroll to the bottom if you’re just looking for the recipe & recipe notes!
Let’s face it– eating will never be the same as it was before social media. On one hand I welcome it– it’s allowed us to connect with chefs and bakers, and take a “behind-the-scenes” look at the process of creating. Viewing photos on Instagram, for me, is the closest I can get to being there without actually going. We can menu browse before we even step foot in the restaurant– we may feign surprise or pretend to flip through the menu, but let’s face it– us serious diners have already read through every single line, and have already curated the perfect meal. Hardly anything is a surprise anymore, when we’re free to browse through reviews and photos on yelp or urbanspoon/zomato. On the other hand, it’s easy to fall into the trap of paying more attention to our devices than being fully in the present, using all our senses to appreciate our food.
I remember going to camp a long time ago, and being inspired by one of our camp counselors (total nature lover, once sat in a forest for 24 hours– overall awesome person), who ate breakfast outside everyday– no phones, just him, the food, and the environment.
Even though that image sort of stayed with me, I’d say I’m about the complete opposite of that and I eat breakfast while scrolling through my feed. (#sorrynotsorry?) It’s one of my main sources of inspiration for recipes, styling, etc. as well as new food places to try!
The inspiration behind this post is the raspberry coffee cake from revolvercoffee whom of course, I follow. Their photos are moody and thoughtfully composed, with a lot of emphasis on shadows, light, geometrics, but always highlighting the beauty and the art of coffee.
Like honestly, I’d like to have a whole wall of just framed prints of their shots, please.
They serve a raspberry coffeecake that everyone seems to like, so (for research, of course), I finally went and tried it to see what all the fuss is about…
I’m not an expert on coffee, mostly because all the supposedly “good” coffees I’ve tried taste either medicinally bitter or unpleasantly sour… but in this latte, I could actually detect different notes and flavours! It was a coffee revelation.
The coffeecake, on the other hand… I feel like I’m obligated to say it’s good, but it really quite one dimensional in taste and texture. Sure, there were fresh raspberries, and sure, I liked that it wasn’t overpoweringly sweet… but the primary taste was sort of eggy. Not even of vanilla, or cinnamon, or anything of the like. Just eggy, reminding me of the steamed ma lai gos from dimsum, so I liked it anyway. Good, but slightly underwhelming.
I digress, because revolver isn’t a bakery, but, it’s what spurred the quest for the ultimate coffee cake.
Stop number one: coffee cake, berries, a nutty crumble, a glaze, and a few surprises.
I adapted Bryan Voltaggio’s Blueberry Cake with Peanut Streusel, and it’s quite chef-y in the sense that there are a few surprising elements to it that creates a really well balanced cake. There’s something about the combination of cayenne, lime, and peanut butter together that makes it savoury and exciting. The lime zest in both the cake batter and glaze really highlights the sweetness and tartness of the fresh seasonal berries, and complements the subtle sweetness of the cake. The nut crumb is a combination of hazelnut, almond and peanut butter, and with the addition of salt and cayenne, provides contrast both flavour- and texture-wise.
Lastly, the glaze on top reinforces the flavours of peanut and lime (how Thai). I made my glaze thin and soaked the top so the crumb softened as the cake sat longer, so I recommend a much thicker glaze to drizzle lightly if you want to retain the crispness of the crumb.
The original recipe instructed us to fold our berries in through the cake, but I wanted to have those distinct layers. I also halved the quantity of crumb, and it still was more than enough to cover the surface.
Other adjustments made include halving the sugar, and replacing the sour cream with nonfat Greek yogurt– resulting in a cake on the drier side, with a fine crumb.
It welcomes a dollop of fresh yogurt to serve, and has a subtle sweetness, that together with the brilliant lime flavour, makes it the perfect accompaniment for coffee.
For the moistness that we expect, I’d recommend the full fat sour cream.
Otherwise, I loved the flavour combination, unconventional yet familiar at the same time.
Hazelnut Berry Coffeecake
For the nut streusel
- 3/8 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 3.5 ounces roasted unsalted hazelnuts & almonds (or any combinations of nuts you’d like!)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
- 1.5 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
For the cake
- 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- scant 1 cup nonfat greek yogurt (use full fat sour cream for moister cake), room temperature
- 6 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups berries (I used blueberries + raspberries)
- zest from 2 limes
For the glaze
- 1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt (or sour cream)
- 3 tbsp buttermilk
- 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
- 2 tsp honey
- grated zest + juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar + more as needed
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
For the nut streusel
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pulse the flour, sugar, nuts, coconut flakes, cinnamon, salt, cayenne (if using) in a food processor. Pulse 2-3 times to chop the nuts.
- Add the peanut butter and butter; pulse until moist, coarse crumbs form. Transfer to bowl and refrigerate until needed.
For the cake and glaze
- Butter and line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
- Sift together the flour and baking powder.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and salt on low speed until it’s light and smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, greek yogurt, oil and vanilla.
- With the mixer on medium speed, add the egg mixture to the butter mixture in 2 or 3 additions, until fully incorporated. It may look curdled at first, but just believe. (and whisk it a lot).
- Stop the mixer and add the flour mixture. Mix just until the batter becomes smooth and silky. Fold in the lime zest.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Evenly spread the berries on top, gently pressing it into the batter. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over top of the berries.
- Bake for ~48 minutes, or when a tester inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool completely.
- To make the glaze, whisk all the ingredients, except for the powdered sugar and salt, in a medium bowl. Then add the powdered sugar and salt and whisk until the icing is smooth. Add enough powdered sugar to get your desired consistency.
- Drizzle over top the cooled cake, and dance a little happy dance. Yay, it’s done! Now eat.