Cousin Beth’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake

One of my earliest memories is of my mother singing, “If I knew you were coming, I’d have baked a cake, baked a cake, baked a cake…” It’s funny how these early melodic messages worm their way into the psyche, for I firmly believe that one should always have something sweet (and preferably homemade) to offer a guest, and I try to plan accordingly. I also believe that unexpected company, while occasionally delightful, is also somehow wrong. It’s a fun, chirpy little song with a slightly passive aggressive message: “Don’t drop in without calling me first, bonehead. If I knew you were coming, I’d have baked a cake. Now instead you’re treated to a sink full of dirty dishes and a stale granola bar. Are you happy?”

Recently my Cousin Beth shared with me her tried and true coffee cake recipe. She wrote, “This is the first cake I ever learned how to make, and to this day it is my family’s all-time favorite.” I’ve been waiting for an occasion to try it out, and I was expecting a friend for coffee this morning, so I baked it last night. This is cake is so moist and delicious, and it’s the perfect compliment to coffee and company, expected or unexpected.

1/2 lb. butter
1-3/4 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
3 eggs
pinch salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
3 cups flour
1 tsp. vanilla
Topping – 1/2 cup sugar mixed with cinnamon and chopped nuts (optional) and  a handful of mini chocolate chips (Note from Dawn and Beth — feel free to be creative with your topping. Brown sugar will work, too. Err on the generous side with the cinnamon!)
Preheat oven to 350.
Cream butter and sugar.
Add eggs and beat lightly.
Add sour cream, vanilla and dry ingredients, beginning and ending with flour.
Layer 1/2 mixture in a buttered angel food pan (I used a Bundt pan), cover with some topping, add rest of batter, and sprinkle with the remainder of the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes.