An American creation, cinnamon coffee cake is a type of cake with a streusel topping and a cinnamon taste. Coffee cakes were designed as a sweet breakfast food to compliment coffee. Relatively simple to make, coffee cakes of any flavor are popular for office gatherings and brunches but can be eaten at any time.
There are many variations of cinnamon coffee cake, but all true coffee cakes will have a topping made separately from the batter. This topping is layered on top of the cake before cooking. Cinnamon coffee cake always contains ground cinnamon, and sometimes may contain cinnamon extract as well.
The batter is usually simple cake batter made with flour, sugar, and eggs. Baking powder, salt, and milk are also usually added to the batter. Vanilla extract is commonly included, and cinnamon extract is sometimes added to give an extra zing of cinnamon to the cake.
The topping is usually made with butter, but canola oil can be substituted. Sugar, brown, white, or both, and ground cinnamon are also included in the topping. Sometimes nuts or dried fruits are added as well. Those ingredients are mixed together, then flour is slowly added to make the topping crumbly.
Some coffee cakes will have a filling, though most usually do not. Fillings are usually made from sugar, cinnamon, and nuts, like pecans, which are mixed together. Relatively simple, a filling is just layered between the batter before baking.
Coffee cakes are usually baked in rectangular baking pans. The pans are first greased and floured, then the batter is poured into the pan. If a filling is being used, only half the batter is poured, then the filling is placed evenly on top of the batter. Once complete, the second half of the batter is poured over the filling. The topping creates the final layer.
A cinnamon coffee cake will usually bake for around an hour, but exact times vary depending on the recipe. Once baked, the cake is usually cut into small squares for serving. If properly baked, it will have a light fluffy cake base with a sweet, cinnamon-flavored, crumbling top crust.
In addition to simple cinnamon, other variations of these sweet foods exist. For example, adding sour cream to the batter can create a sour cream cinnamon coffee cake, or including apples makes an apple-cinnamon variety. The topping also varies considerably among recipes; some toppings will create a very obvious and sweet crumbly topping, whereas others may have a topping that is barely noticeable.