I’m not a food blogger – some people who live in this house with me would say I’m not even much of a food cooker these days – but the one time I shared a family recipe on the blog resulted in the most popular blog post I ever had. I figured I’d see if lightning strikes twice by sharing a recipe I have made for Christmas morning for the past twenty years, for Sunrise Coffee Cake. It came from my sister Sally; I don’t know where she got it, but I do know that it has made figuring out Christmas breakfast 100% easier.
The beauty of this recipe for what is otherwise your pretty standard albeit toothsome cinnamon-sour cream-nutty coffee cake is that you make it ahead and freeze it. You have to: the one year I tried to make it fresh on Christmas morning it was too dry. It needs some alone time in the freezer to form ice crystals and daydream about French pastry shops. Which means you could make the coffee cake today (or last week, if you have a time travel machine) when the holiday flurry hasn’t quite churned up to Level 5 yet. Then, on the 25th while the coffee is brewing, you take it straight from the freezer and put it in the oven, and one hour later, you are enveloped in a delicate cinnamon-scented fog and tucking into a nice plate of deliciousness, without having so much as dirtied a dish.
Guten appetit! And Happy Holidays!
Sunrise Coffee Cake
- 6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 Tbs. confectioner’s sugar
- 1 Tbs lemon juice
Cinnamon Nut Streusal
- 1/4 c. chopped walnuts
- 2 Tbs. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 c. sifted all purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. butter, at room temp
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 8 oz. sour cream
Grease and flour 10-inch bundt pan.
Make the filling first: beat together cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, and lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth and set aside. Mix up the streusal stuff now too, in a separate bowl, while you’re at it.
Next the cake batter. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat sugar and butter in a separate, large bowl until light and fluffy; beat in eggs one a time. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture, alternating with sour cream and starting and ending with the flour.
Pour half the batter into prepared pan.
Spoon cream cheese filling on top of batter to within a 1/2 inch of the edges. Sprinkle with Cinnamon Nut Streusal.
Spoon remaining batter over cream cheese filling, spreading all the way to the edges so you hide the cream cheese.
Cover it up with foil, stick it in the freezer, and get back to watching Love Actually and Elf.
When you’re ready to eat on Christmas morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Reach into the freezer for the cake, peel the foil off the top, stick the pan into the oven, and bake for 1 hour. Throw in a mimosa and your Christmas brunch is DONE.
Speaking of throwing things together, how about Latin chants, ’80s synthesizers, and some semi-disturbing stop motion monks? It’s Erasure with that 16th century chart topper, Gaudete!