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On Almond Streusel Coffee Cake and Change

Fresh starts.

They can be invigorating, so necessary, but if I am going to be honest? They can be downright scary.

And I should know, the past five years of my life have been all about closing doors and opening new ones. From quitting a rather comfortable job to moving across the country to finding a job that better fits all of my needs, I’d done it all.

And yet, every ending that I experience throws me off balance. In both a good and bad way.

Every ending brings a fresh beginning.

Here I am, wiping the slate clean again and am feeling a little edgy about it. Why can’t things stay the same? Why do people have to change? Why do I always feel like I am faced with a new beginning?

It’s enough to leave a girl in a tailspin. And I’m knee-deep in a few big changes. Nothing life-altering, but definitely ones that have caught me of-guard. After a week of long chats and invaluable friends (I’m looking at you, you, you and you), I’ve come to the realization that beginnings don’t need to be scary.

Let’s face it – old habits were made to be broken, routines were made to be updated, certain relationships were meant to end. People come and go, and that’s just life. You can’t stop it, and, even if you tried, you’d fail.



For now, just accept that things don’t always stay the same and that’s ok. Oh, and when you are feeling a little wonky, you can always turn your go-to comforts. A damn good recipe for almond coffee cake and a rather amazing playlist. Sit with friends, grab coffee and a slice of this cake. You’ll be better for it.

Streusel coffee cake is kind of my favorite thing, next to champagne, peanut butter and homemade chocolate chip cookies. Sugary topping on top of a breakfast cake? Heck yes. This time, I played around with the type of nut used and tried out lowfat yogurt in lieu of sour cream. It made for a much lighter cake, a little spongey but I can handle that. If you’d rather go with a buttermilk or sour cream substitution, I have no doubt it would turn out lovely.




Almond Streusel Coffee Cake

Yield: One 8-inch cake

Soft butter cake with an almond streusel filling and topping, making it a fine breakfast snack cake.


  • Streusel:
  • 2/3 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted , coarsely chopped
  • Cake:
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 11/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup reduced-fat (2%) plain Greek-style yogurt*


  1. For streusel:
  2. Combine brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in medium bowl. Add melted butter; toss with fork to blend. Using fingertips, rub mixture together until small clumps form. Mix in pecans. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
  3. For cake:
  4. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter 9x9x2-inch metal baking pan. Combine flour, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt in medium bowl; whisk to blend. Using electric mixer, beat brown sugar, butter, and vanilla in large bowl until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Add half of flour mixture; beat just until blended. Add yogurt; beat just until blended. Beat in remaining flour mixture just until blended.
  5. Spoon half of batter into prepared baking pan; spread evenly. Sprinkle half of streusel evenly over batter. Spoon remaining batter in dollops over streusel, then spread evenly over with offset spatula. Sprinkle remaining streusel evenly over top.
  6. Bake cake until streusel topping is brown and tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack 30 minutes.
  7. Cut into squares and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
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Originally Adapted from Bon Appetit, April 2009

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