Danny celebrates his birthday on July 1st, which is Canada Day. He has always liked having his birthday on that particular National holiday as there is sure to be a party or an event happening, but I feel that as a result of all the festivities, his birthday tends to take a backseat. Usually there's some sort of brunch, then a mad dash downtown to stake a spot on the sidewalk for the parade. This is generally followed by an ice cream outing and an afternoon poolside with friends and family. If we can muster up any energy after that, we'll catch an open air concert in the evening and some fireworks in Montreal's Old Port. Not much time in there to bake a cake, you'll notice, so this year I was happy the birthday boy requested something simple.
A wonderful recipe from bon appétit, this Pecan-Streusel Coffee Cake was just the kind of simple recipe we needed to quickly put together after a long day. It was so easy, Noah did most of the work, relishing in the thought that he was creating his daddy's birthday cake. Fireworks were going off in the distance as we ate the cake warm from the oven and the candles melted into it, but it was so good, no one minded; definitely worth missing fireworks for.
With a cake like this, the person of honour is bound to feel special, as I know Danny did, no matter how many other things are going on. Greek-style yogurt keeps it very moist, and a decadent vein of brown sugar-pecan streusel running through the center makes it hard to eat just one piece.
Pecan-Streusel Coffee Cake
From Bon Appetit magazine
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
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 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 whole-milk or reduced-fat (2%) plain Greek-style yogurt*
*A thick yogurt; sold at some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores and Greek markets. If unavailable, spoon regular yogurt into a cheesecloth-lined strainer set over a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight to drain.
Streusel: 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. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
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.
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.
Bake cake until streusel topping is brown and tester inserted into centre of cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack 30 minutes.
Cut into squares and serve slightly warm or at room temperature