Everyone loves a timeless classic. A tailored little black dress. A warm apple pie with a shatteringly flaky crust. A right proper Manhattan on the rocks.
That said, anyone who knows me well will tell you that I usually prefer my classics with a twist. I pair my little black dresses with a funky pair of shoes or a coloured tights. I like to add sharp cheddar to the crust for my apple pie. And I’m a total sucker for a maple Manhattan.
And then there’s this cake, which I like to think is a perfect example of an old-school classic with a new-school twist. It all started with a recipe from Second Helpings, Please!, which was the must-have gift for an entire generation of Jewish-Canadian brides.
My well-loved copy of the book originally belonged to my mother-in-law, as did the vintage Nordicware Bundt pan I used to bake this cake. It’s dog-eared and stained and has seen better days, but it’s also my go-to when I want to make some Jewish comfort food for The Mister.
Not surprisingly, there are several coffee cake recipes in the book, including a gorgeous sour cream bundt cake that’s buttery and moist, with a dense crumb and a crunchy exterior. It’s the perfect way to use up that half-full tub sour cream you’ve probably got kicking around in the fridge right now.
But like with any classic, I just couldn’t resist giving it a brand-new twist.
Which is where the rest of the inspiration for this recipe comes in, courtesy of the local Korean supermarket. That’s where I picked up some toasted black sesame seeds to give this cake its delicious nutty flavour, and a jar of marmalade-like quince tea that’s swirled inside the cake and brushed on as a glaze.
Newfangled flavours aside, though, this is still an old-fashioned coffee cake at heart. It’s still just as buttery and tender as the original, but with a irresistible nutty aroma, and a glossy golden-brown exterior that slices open to reveal a beautifully black-speckled interior swirled through with shreds of quince.
It’s not fancy. It’s not vegan or paleo or gluten-free. It’s just a damn good cake.
For best results, do exactly what I think all of those young brides did after they baked this cake… invite your oldest friends over, bust out your finest china, and brew up a pot of your strongest coffee for a good old-fashioned kaffeeklatch. With a new-school spin, natch.
Disclosure: I am part of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with Gay Lea, and received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.
- 1 cup Stirling butter, softened
- 1½ cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup Gay Lea sour cream
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- ¼ cup roasted black sesame seeds
- 2 ¾ cups flour
- 2 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ¾ cup mogwacheong (Korean honey quince tea), divided
- Preheat oven to 350F. Generously grease a 12-cup fluted tube pan, and dust with flour.
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the sour cream, vanilla extract, and sesame oil.
- Using a coffee grinder or a small food processor, grind the sesame seeds into a fine powder. (Don't overprocess - you'll end up with black tahini!) Stir into the wet ingredients, mixing until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to the wet ingredients, and stir until the mixture comes together into a thick, smooth batter.
- Spoon one third of the batter into the prepared pan. Spoon ¼ cup of the honey-quince tea on top of the batter, staying away from the edges of the pan. Top with half of the remaining batter, following by another ¼ cup of honey-quince tea, and then finish with the last portion of batter.
- Bake in preheated oven for 55-60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with a moist crumb. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully invert and unmold. Brush the surface of the cake with the reserved ¼ cup quince tea, then tansfer to a wire rack to cool off completely.
If you're in Toronto, I'd suggest checking out the Galleria Supermarket in North York, H-Mart at Yonge and Bloor, or P.A.T. Central in the Annex.