One can rationalize from here until next Sunday brunch, but there is no denying that coffee cake is a not-so-sly excuse to have one’s dessert and breakfast, too. And what a wonderful pretense it is. Its homey simplicity—a one-layered presentation, quick to make and barely adorned—only adds to its allure, making it difficult to justify not whipping up a coffee cake or two for breakfast . . . or for the next time a little sweet is in order.
This winter I have been keeping the oven warm for favorite coffee cakes and finally delving into the stack of recipes I have collected or flagged over the years. I tried one of them recently when my Bangkok-based friend, Scott, stopped by for brunch, and I decided to bake according to what I had on hand. My only regret was that I had not made King Arthur Flour’s Apricot Almond-Butter Cake sooner. The cake—a basic butter confection laced with apricot jam—is crowned with caramelly, nut-studded (pistachios, not the prescribed almonds, in my case) sticky toffee. What’s not to love? It is even better the next day, giving the apricot, overshadowed when first served, time to shine.
I am still getting rave reviews on this one. Make it now. Then, once inspired, try this other new favorite of the season:
Cranberry Upside-Down Coffee Cake. This Los Angeles Times recipe is better, in my opinion, with a teaspoon of almond flavoring in the cranberry topping added before it goes into the pan. It is also amazing the second day.