New year, same shit. They say it’s all about the attitude so I guess I’m in a bit of trouble. I hate feeling like I’m floundering all the time. That there is not a single area in my life where I can say “I’m doing great. I’ve totally got this under control.” I feel like I’m just paddling at the surface, trying to keep afloat, but I keep slipping under. A lot of this feeling stems from my work and I get that. I was once told by a senior, well respected member of the bar that the fear, that sense of nervousness and self-doubt, never goes away. He said that if it does, then you should be worried. Without that feeling, you’ll never keep pushing yourself to do better.
I get that.
I think my levels of self-doubt, frustration and stress are unnaturally high. I can’t let go of my mistakes. When I realize that I’ve made one, I plunge into manic depths of guilt and regret.
It could be worse, right? I was a criminal lawyer for five years and heard all kinds of crazy stuff about my clients’ lives. It could be much worse.
Then why do I want to cry into my sour cream cake? I need to get it together.
Instead of bombarding you any further with my tales of woe, let me share with you the most amazing sour cream coffee cake recipe ever. It’s my absolute favourite.
I’m going to be a woman of few words today since my words aren’t that pleasant to read. I’ll let these photos speak for me.
Sour cream coffee cake (adapted from the fabulous Baking Bites)
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, chilled
1 1/2 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temp
2/3 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
1 large egg, room temp
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 10-inch round tube pan.
To prepare the streusel topping, stir together flour, sugar, salt and walnuts in a small bowl. Cut the butter into one inch cubes and rub it into the nut mixture with your fingers. The pieces should be no larger than a pea and the mixture should be crumbly.
To make the cake batter, whisk together the cake flour, all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl or in the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, add in half of the flour mixture, followed by the sour cream. Mix together. Add in the remaining flour and mix only until the batter just comes together, with no dry streaks.
The batter will be very thick. Pour half of it into your tube pan and smooth the top with a rubbery spatula. Sprinkle the top evenly with half of the streusel mixture. Drop the remaining batter into the pan in evenly spaced dollops. Carefully, smooth the batter over the layer of streusel until it’s completely covered. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining streusel.
Bake the cake for 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack before slicing.
It looks like a glorious nut encrusted donut when it’s done.
The cake is so incredibly delicate, moist and fragrant with vanilla and the slightest subtle tang from the sour cream. The streusel is absolutely delicious – slightly crunchy, sweet, caramelized, and jam-packed with walnuts. It tastes just as good and fresh for days afterwards.
Life can’t be all bad when there’s something this delectable to enjoy.