Cinnamon Yogurt Coffee Cake

It’s always a good idea to have 4-5 dessert recipes floating around in your head, and the ingredients available in your pantry, just in case you need to pull something together quickly for last-minute guests. What I love about the following recipe is that it is easy and fairly quick to make, plus it looks and tastes impressive. One of my favorite seasonings is cinnamon. I add it to cookies, sauces, and even the occasional meatball. I immediately think of yummy-ness when I smell cinnamon, and I even admit to having taken whiffs from a jar of the ground stuff when I need a quick pick-me-up!

This recipe originally calls for sour cream, but since I regularly have thick Greek yogurt on hand in the fridge, I always substitute the sour cream with it. Not only is yogurt nutritionally superior to sour cream, I find it provides the finished product with a better taste and moistness, as well. I highly recommend purchasing the FAGE brand of Greek yogurt if it is available to you. Be aware of certain brands, like Trader Joe’s, which claims their product is Greek yogurt. It isn’t. And it certainly does not taste the way it’s supposed to……trust me.

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature (keep the wrapper and use it to butter the pan before baking)
1 c. sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 c. Greek yogurt, preferably full fat
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 c. chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts)
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. cinnamon

1 springform tube pan, greased (if you don’t have a springform pan, you could use a regular tube pan, however the springform pan makes the cake’s removal much easier after it’s finished baking).

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare the topping first, placing the nuts, sugar, and cinnamon into a food processor. Process until the nuts are ground into fairly small pieces and incorporated with the cinnamon and sugar. Set aside.

In a small bowl, add the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda and stir together with a whisk. Set aside. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla. Alternating between the yogurt and dry ingredients, add to the wet mixture until all the ingredients are incorporated together.

Take your buttered pan and sprinkle the bottom with the nut mixture, adding about 1/4″ evenly around the tube pan. Add half the cake batter. (Don’t worry if it’s not completely even. It will even out while baking. I drop spoonfuls around the tube pan, attempting to cover the circle evenly, but it is ok if there are some small spaces.) Add another layer of nut mixture, using the remaining portion. The finished cake looks nice with a substantial line of cinnamon and nuts throughout the middle, so don’t feel like you’re adding “too much.” Add the remaining portion of cake batter around the tube pan.

Place the pan into the oven and bake anywhere from 30-40 minutes. Set your timer for 30 minutes and keep an eye on it. You don’t want it to dry out too much. Test with a cake tester, or a good old-fashioned tooth pick, into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, your cake is ready.  Place on a cooling rack and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before attempting to remove it from the pan. If you are not using a springform pan, do not be tempted to remove the cake from the pan for a good 20-30 minutes, or else the cake could come out in pieces.

I like to place this cake on a nice display cake dome, but if you don’t have one, don’t worry. I do recommend covering it, which allows it to retain more moisture. This cake lends itself to a nice vanilla ice cream pairing, or perhaps even some fresh berries during the summer months. Honestly, I think this cake is better the following day, and it certainly lasts a good four days before it’s too dry. But if your house is anything like mine, I don’t think this cake will last four days…….

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