Spirit-Lifting Cherry Coffee Cake

 Cherry Cream Coffee Cake


Cherry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

“Forget your troubles, come on, get happy,  you better chase all your cares away”

The words to that song come to mind when I think about this coffee cake.  It’s guaranteed to be a spirit-lifter for anyone who tastes it.  Just looking at it makes me happy.

This recipe was featured recently on the blog “Rantings of an Amateur Chef”.  The blog author has been using Greek yogurt in a variety of dishes as a substitute for higher fat and calorie laden foods such as sour cream and cream cheese.

That is a technique that I also use on many occasions, so when I saw this recipe for Cherry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake, I knew I had to make it, not so much because of the substitutions, but because it contains almond flavoring.  My all-time favorite flavor in the world!!   But since I, too, would be incorporating the substitutions, I purchased 0%-fat Greek yogurt in Black Cherry flavor as a match-up with the cherry pie filling that is part of the cake’s filling.

Looks luscious.

Looks luscious.

“Shout Alleluia,  come on, get happy,”

The aroma of this cake baking was so enticing I could hardly wait for it to cool sufficiently before sampling it. While still a very rich cake, the yogurt did its job in making a very creamy layer of filling below the cherry pie filling.  The over-all texture is mouth watering and tender with a little crunch provided by the sliced almonds.  And the combination of cherries and almond flavoring is a classic that I love.  This cake could be served as a dessert,  as a fancy coffee cake for a brunch, or just for breakfast.  I would not hesitate to make and take it as a gift for someone whose spirits need lifting.

IMG_5020

“The sun is shining, come on, get happy”.

CHERRY CREAM CHEESE COFFEE CAKE

YIELD:  8 – 10 servings

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

Crust ingredients.

Crust ingredients.

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour ( I substituted in 1 cup white whole wheat flour)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup sour cream ( or 0%fat Greek yogurt)
  • 1 tsp. almond extract

For the Filling:

  • 1 package ( 8-oz. ) cream cheese, softened ( I substituted 8-oz. Black Cherry flavor 0% fat Greek yogurt)

    Filling ingredients.

    Filling ingredients.

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 can ( 21-oz.) cherry pie filling
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Directions:

1.    Preheat oven to 350*F.  Pan needed:  9 – inch springform pan with removable bottom,  ungreased.

2.  In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar.  Cut in butter until crumbly.

Cutting in the butter.

Cutting in the butter.

Reserve 3/4 cup crumb mixture and set aside.

Reserve some crumbs for the topping.

Reserve some crumbs for the topping.

Add the baking powder, baking soda and salt to remaining crumb mixture.

3.  In a small bowl, whisk the egg, then add sour cream and almond extract.  Whisk to blend.  Stir into the crumb mixture to form a thick dough.

Mix together the egg, sour cream and almond extract

Mix together the egg, sour cream and almond extract

4.  Press onto the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of the springform pan.

Press crust into bottom of pan.

Press crust into bottom of pan.

5.  Make filling:  In a large bowl, beat cream cheese (yogurt), and sugar for 1 minute.  Add egg; beat just until combined.  Spread over crust.

Pour on cream filling.

Pour on cream filling.

Carefully spoon pie filling over the top.

Spoon on cherry filling.

Spoon on cherry filling.

Sprinkle with almonds, and the reserved crumbs.

Top with sliced almonds.

Top with sliced almonds.

Sprinkle on reserved crumbs.

Sprinkle on reserved crumbs.

6.  Bake at 350*F for 50 – 60 minutes or until center is set.  Cool on a wire rack.  Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen;  remove sides of pan.  Store in the refrigerator.

Out of the oven.  Isn't that beautiful?

Out of the oven. Isn’t that beautiful?

Looks luscious.

Looks luscious.

Tastes as good as it looks.

Tastes as good as it looks.

SOURCE:  Taste of Home via Rantings of an Amateur Chef

Grab ‘N Go: Granola and Yogurt

Over the course of the last few years I’ve been moving away from buying ready made foods like cereals, soups, sauces, etc. and making more and more of these items myself.  My reasons are  threefold;  environmental:  less packaging to dispose of;  health:  I can eliminate all those unpronounceable ingredients, and have better control over what we are eating; and emotional:  I feel really good knowing I can make it as good or better than what’s in a package.  Granola is one of those packaged items that I have ceased buying and now make at home.

Granola is very versatile.  It can be added to foods, as in a crumbly topping on a fruit cobbler, put on foods to add crunch, like over fruits, or ice-cream, or eaten out-of-hand as a snack.  So with that said, I have been making homemade granola and  spreading it around  rather liberally.  My lunches consist, for the most part, of fruit smoothies, or yogurt with granola on top; and for my husband, I send him off to work with a nutritious salad for lunch, and a bag of granola for a mid-afternoon snack.  Each time I make it I vary the fruits and nuts I put in it, so it does not become boring.

For anyone who needs a quick “grab and go” breakfast, or who brings lunch to work, yogurt and granola is a delicious, good-for-you duo.  I like Greek style yogurt because it’s thicker than regular styles, and because it packs almost twice the protein, so you’re not as likely to get the mid-morning munchies.  You can also stretch your budget by purchasing the large size yogurt and putting it into smaller 8 0z. containers.  Likewise package your granola in baggies, so when you’re ready to leave the house, just grab one of each and  you will be on your way with a breakfast or lunch that is economical, delicious, and good for you.

Trail Mix Granola

Makes about 5 cups

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats


    Have all your ingredients ready before starting to assemble.

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups add-ins, like dried cranberries, cherries, apricots, figs, raisins; coconut, nuts such as almonds, pistachios, walnuts.

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  Whisk together oil, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a glass measuring cup.  Heat briefly in microwave ( 1 minute at 50% power) to blend  and melt any sugar lumps.  Stir well,  then pour over oats in a  large bowl and toss to coat.

3.  Spread mixture on prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every 5 minutes.

4.   Let cool slightly, then transfer back into large bowl and stir in add-ins.  Let cool completely before packaging, or store in air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.

SOURCE:  Quick Vegetarian Pleasures