It’s probably obvious. You’ve read the stories.
I am not sure why I am this way and to be fair, I am not always this way. It comes and goes. I am inconsistent.
Sometimes bubbly. Cheeks threatening to burst with laughter. Life of my own party. Happy to be alive. Funny.
Other times, messy mind. Unfocused. Heavy heart. Worry. Thinking about how I am thinking about nothing. Prickly. I’m anxiety, Miss Nerves 2017, stressed out about being stressed out.
There is a dark cloud that shadows my footsteps as I shuffle to and from work with my head hung. A relentless nagging, “I’m not enough, I need to be more. I’m a 28 year old, half-assed blogger, part-time baker, full-time joke.”
Thankfully, when I get to the bakery, there is a great and adamant “shuuuush” in my head. Quiet now, you’ve got baking to do.
It’s the feeling of creaming butter before the sun is up. The scrape of a pastry cutter on stainless steel. That “floooosh” of hot air that hits my face as the oven door opens, finally preheated, for the first time that morning.
It’s the calm smack in the middle of the sub-cranial storm.
I have hardly two nickels to my name, an ever-changing employment status, serious lack of foresight regarding my future and literally no idea what I want out of life. But, it’s all okay for the moment. Why? I’ve got a crazy moist coffee cake bubbling in the oven and the bakery smells like cinnamon and sugar, home and warmth.
How can anything be that bad?
Maybe you’re stressed too. Maybe this one hits close to home… but probably not. Either way, take a moment for yourself. Indulge. Bake something special and share it or don’t! Cut a slice, kick up your feet, silence the negative nonsense in your head and remember all the good in the world. Be thankful – for new days, dessert, a friend’s smile, a hug from mom or dad, a seat on the metro, yourself and your place in this world.
Keep calm and coffee cake (and subscribe to my blog…..)
Measure out all ingredients: butter with sugar, drys with drys, you get it.
Cream together butter and sugar, then add eggs and vanilla. Mix until combined.
Add milk and mix until smooth.
Add dry ingredients and mix until completely incorporated.
The batter will be thick and fluffy. Set the batter aside while you make the crumb topping.
Whisk together, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Add cold cubed butter.
With your hands, two knives, a fork, a pastry cutter or whatever, work the butter into the sugar mixture until it resembles a wet sandy substance.
To assemble, butter a 9×13 pan. Place a piece of parchment at the bottom of the pan then butter and flour the parchment-ed bottom and the sides of the pan.
Spread half of the batter in the bottom of the pan. Top with half of the brown sugar crumb. Top the crumb with the second half of batter, spreading evenly, and finally top the batter with the second half of the crumb.
Place in a 350° F oven and bake for an hour to an hour and 20 minutes until an inserted cake tester comes out clean.
Let cool before slicing, serving, following your dreams, forgetting your doubts and doing your best.
Plot Twist: I left the bakery, well not officially, but I’ve given my notice. It’s 2017 and I am tired of my dreary disposition. I have plans – for me, for this blog, for lunch and I (finally) intend to see them through. Hold me accountable, won’t you?
I should say this though. I will miss the wonderful people. I enjoyed working with them everyday and I wish them best of luck for everything always.
Okay – now the recipe.
Keep Calm Coffee Cake
1 1/2 sticks of butter
1 1/2 cups of sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 1/4 cups of whole milk
2 1/2 cups of cake flour
2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of salt
4 cups of brown sugar
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons of cinnamon
2 sticks of butter, cold and cubed.
1 cup of powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons of milk
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Butter the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Place a piece of parchment in the bottom of the pan. Next, butter and flour the bottom and sides of the pan.
In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand-mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add in eggs and beat to combine.
Add in vanilla.
Add in milk and mix until smooth.
Add in the dry ingredients and mix until completely incorporated.
Set aside and make the topping.
In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon.
Add the cold butter and using a pastry cutter work the butter into the sugar mix until it resembles damp sand.
To assemble the coffee cake, spread half of the batter in the prepared pan. Top with half of the crumb topping. Spread the rest of the batter on top of the brown sugar crumb and spread the second half of the crumb over top.
Place the coffee cake in the preheated oven and bake for an hour to an hour and 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and test doneness with a toothpick. If it comes out clean you are good to go.
Make the glaze by whisking the powdered sugar and milk together until a thick but spreadable glaze forms.
Let the coffee cake cool before slicing and glazing.