16 November 2013

Single Serving Coffee Cake

I have a pretty big crush on coffee cake.  A warm, tender pastry topped with sweet, cinnamon-y streusel is pretty tough to refuse straight out of bed, particularly when served along side a piping hot mug of coffee (Thanksgiving blend, a-hem!).  Keep your donuts, your fritters and your bavarian cremes...just give me a nice chunk of cake, please and thank you.  But the key word in that sentence is "piece", as in just enough for one, maybe two servings.  Which is why this single serving recipe is so darn perfect.

There are two kinds of people in this world:  those who can leave something delicious on their plate and those who lick it clean.  Guess which kind this lady happens to be.  Left alone with a pan of coffee cake, it's won't last 24 hours before being completely devoured.  My dad called it the "Clean Plate Club"...I call it a complete lack of self-control.

When I came across a single serving coffee cake at Prudent Baby's web page, I was utterly delighted.  She's got smarts, that baby.  For months I've been tweaking, substituting and eating this recipe and have finally come up with our perfect cake.   It's a little less sweet, a little more nutritious and a whole lot of yum.  Whole wheat flour is an obviously easy substitution for a little extra nutrition without too much extra weight.  I've also found that heart-smart butter in the streusel makes for a topping just as delicious as the real stuff.  Save the real butter for the cake and cut a few calories on top...

Sour cream is my favorite binder in this recipe, creating a light and moist cake that is super delicious.  But we've also tried this with plain yogurt, both greek and regular.  The thick consistency of greek leads to a cake that is a bit too heavy for my taste, but regular yogurt works almost as well as sour cream.  We always have fat free varieties of all these in our refrigerator and they work perfectly to make a rich and indulgent cake (after all, you do have a tablespoon of butter to make up for that reduced fat dairy!)  But if you have the full fat varieties on hand, they would work as well.

These single-serving cakes are great out of a mug, but I really prefer making them in our little Le Creuset ramekins.  They don't get as hot in the microwave as a ceramic mug, leading to less burnt fingers and early morning cursing a happier home.  I also like that I don't have to dig as deep for my cake.  Let's make this as easy as possible, folks.

Let them eat cake!  But just one piece.  Hey, you can always make another if needed.....

Individual Mug Coffee Cake (single serving)
Modified from Prudent Baby's Original Recipe
  • 1 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tbs sugar (or 1 1/3 tsp Truvia) 
  • 2 tbs sour cream or plain yogurt (fat free in both work perfectly)
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbs whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tbs butter (I use Smart Balance Light here)
  • 1 tbs whole wheat flour
  • 1-2 tsp brown sugar 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • dash nutmeg
Place the tablespoon butter in a small ramekin or mug.  Microwave for 10 seconds until the butter is just softened but not melty.  Add the sugar and stir together until a smooth paste forms.  Add the sour cream/yogurt and vanilla, stirring together only 3-4 times until barely combined.  Ad the baking powder and flour, then stir 3-4 more times until just combined.  Be careful not to over-mix or else your cake will get tough.

In a second small ramekin, combine all of the crumb topping ingredients and mash together with your fingers or a fork until smooth.  Sprinkle on top of the cake.

Place the cake into the microwave and cook for 1 minute, adding 10 second increments until the cake is done to your liking (1 minute 10 seconds is perfect for my microwave).  Let sit for a minute or so to cool slightly before removing the dish from the microwave with a pot holder (the dish will be hot!)  Serve with a big mug of coffee.  

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