"Breakfasting on coffee cake scented with cinnamon and ginger, and topped with a nutty, spicy crumb topping, is a sweet way to start the day," says Earthbound Farm co-founder Myra Goodman. "Straight out of the oven, the cake smells so wonderful that you may have trouble waiting an hour for it to cool. Cut it sooner, if you can't resist; the topping may crumble, but it will still be delicious."
From Food to Live By: The Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook by Myra Goodman
whole wheat pastry flour (see note)
firmly packed light brown sugar
coarsely chopped walnuts
butter (for greasing the baking pan)
whole wheat pastry flour
firmly packed brown sugar
pure vanilla extract
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
Make the topping: Place the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, oil and walnuts in a medium-size bowl. Stir to blend and set the topping mixture aside.
Make the cake: Generously butter a 9x13-inch baking pan and set it aside. Place the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl, and whisk to combine well. Place the egg, buttermilk, oil and vanilla in a small bowl and whisk to combine well. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Don't overmix the batter or the coffee cake will be tough. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the topping mixture evenly over the batter. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 1 hour.
The coffee cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. Leave it out on the kitchen counter to thaw overnight.
Quick Measuring Tip:
Since this coffee cake's topping and batter have common ingredients, you can trim a few minutes off the preparation time. Place the bowls for the topping and the batter side by side, and then measure each dry ingredient they have in common at the same time, placing the appropriate amount in each bowl. You'll have to open the flour and sugar containers only once.
Walnuts are unique in the nut world because they're exceptionally high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are a "good" fat; studies indicate that they help the heart and circulatory system, including reducing hypertension and lowering cholesterol levels. One ounce of walnuts (about 1/4 cup or fourteen walnut halves) provides 2 grams of Omega-3s. While walnuts are a nutritious and tasty snack, they're also high in calories, so enjoy them in moderation.
Whole wheat flour is more nutritious and has more fiber than white flour because the bran and the germ aren't removed during milling. However, baking with regular whole wheat flour produces baked goods that are heavier and denser than those made with traditional all-purpose white flour.
The good news is that whole wheat pastry flour is becoming more widely available. While it still isn't as light as traditional all-purpose white flour, it's close in texture and taste, making it appropriate for baking all but the most delicate pastries, quick breads and cakes.