Feast your eyes on what might possibly be one of our prettiest creations yet. On those mornings when a bowl of cereal simply won’t cut it, this is the perfect treat to wake up to and start a day on a sweet note. No yeast, no rolling, no waiting—this delectable and easy cake is served best with a pot of fresh, hot coffee. Plus, any cake that’s acceptable to eat for breakfast is pretty much a winner on all accounts.
Cherry Cheese Coffee Cake
Makes a 10-inch coffee cake; serves 6
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2⁄3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3⁄4 teaspoon baking powder
4 ounces Neufchâtel cheese (reduced-fat cream cheese; do not use fat-free), softened
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 egg yolk
1 cup tart cherries, thawed frozen or well-drained canned
1⁄2 teaspoon almond extract
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Line the bottom with a round of parchment paper or wax paper.
2. Make the cake: In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Add the egg and mix in thoroughly; scrape down the bowl. Add the flour and baking powder and mix only until the flour is incorporated. Pour the batter into the cake pan and spread it out across the bottom in an even layer.
3. Prepare the topping: Using the same bowl without rinsing, combine the cheese, flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, and lemon zest; beat until smooth. Add the egg yolk and blend in completely. Pour this on top of the batter and spread out evenly, leaving a generous 1-inch border all the way around the edge of the pan.
4. Toss the cherries with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, the almond extract, and the cinnamon. Dot the top of the cheese evenly with the cherries and sprinkle on the juices.
5. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the cheese filling is light golden and firm when you shake the pan gently. Let cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before cutting.
Excerpted from Desserts From the Famous Loveless Café by Alisa Huntsman (Artisan Books). Copyright 2011. Photographs by Karen Mordechai