Verbose is the opposite of how I feel this evening, so I’m going to cut to the chase and talk cake. In this case, coffee cake filled and topped with a layer of cinnamon and sugar, chocolate chips, and hazelnuts.
The most difficult step of this recipe is the need to blanch the hazelnuts. Because the majority of my hazelnuts were already skinless, and because I suspected this coffee cake would not make it past anyone but me, I did not blanch the hazelnuts.
If you choose to do so, My Baking Addiction provides a decent reference on how to blanch hazelnuts as does Wicked Good Kitchen. Both contain a clip of Julia Child learning how to blanch hazelnuts from none other than Alice Medrich.
It turns out the most difficult of the recipe for me was placing the filling halfway in the coffee cake. Apparently, I mistook halfway for a quarter of the way. My only defense is to say it looked like I had used half the batter. Moving on…
If you do not like hazelnuts, this recipe still has value as a basic coffee cake. The filling and topping combinations are really up to you. My mom makes a delicious coffee cake with bits of Heath Bar, and I see no reason why any combination of nuts and sweet – pecans and butterscotch chips or walnuts and vanilla chips – would not work.
You might also consider adding flavor extracts or spices to the cake batter. I followed the recipe as written, using vanilla extract, but in hindsight the hazelnut extract I have on hand would have been nice. Same thing goes for adding a teaspoon or so of cinnamon to the cake batter.
Once baked, you can enjoy this coffee cake with coffee in the morning or with tea in the afternoon. If there is any leftover, dollop a scoop of ice cream over the top and call it a late night snack. Trust that I am speaking from experience here. Enjoy!
- Cake Batter
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- Filling & Topping
- ½ cup hazelnuts, blanched and chopped
- ¼ cup chocolate chips or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Beat the butter, ¾ cup sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
- Reduce mixer to low speed and add the dry ingredients in 3 additions alternating with the Greek yogurt in 2 additions. (Begin with the flour mixture, add the yogurt, then flour, yogurt, flour).
- In a separate bowl, toss the hazelnuts, chocolate, ¼ cup sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl.
- Pour half of batter into a greased 8x8 baking dish and smooth the top (wetting a wodden spoon and using the back to smooth works well here).
- Top the batter with half of the chocolate hazelnut mixture.
- Spoon the remaining batter over the filling, again smoothing the top, and sprinkle the remaining chocolate hazelnut mixture over top.
- Bake at 350° for 35–45 minutes until the top of the cake is lightly browned and a wooden toothpick or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.